In Depth

Instant Opinion: Hitachi ‘failed its nuclear test’

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Friday 18 September

The Week’s daily round-up highlights the five best opinion pieces from across the British and international media, with excerpts from each.

1. Simon Jenkins in The Guardian

on misplaced priorities

Hitachi failed its nuclear test. If only it had the vanity of HS2

“What has been intriguing about HS2, like Hinkley Point, is its political invulnerability. From now on it will be charging British taxpayers over £100m a week for the scheduled 20 years of the project. The sums are so stupefying as to have an inverse effect. They are taken as a sign of political machismo, of ‘build, build, build’. Opponents have included even Johnson and his svengali, Dominic Cummings. Other ministers are only too aware that £100m a week cannot avoid impacting on their projects.”

2. Paul Waldman in the Washington Post

on a muddled message

Trump can’t decide whom he should tell people to hate

“It’s almost as though the idea that Joe Biden is responsible for violence that occurs while Donald Trump is president makes about as much sense as the idea that Biden should have implemented a national mask mandate. The public, whose ability to rationally weigh evidence and logic is sometimes limited, seems nonetheless to have grasped that Trump’s claim to be the guarantor of order made little sense.During his convention speech, Trump said ‘No one will be safe in Biden’s America.’ But the fear of chaos and societal dissolution should Biden be elected doesn’t seem to have taken hold.”

3. Fionola Meredith in The Belfast Telegraph

on backstabbing your fellow citizens

Snooping, squealing and snitching is the wrong remedy

“Snitching. It sounds so innocent doesn't it? Harmless schoolyard stuff. Running to tell teacher that Micky was the one who drew a rude picture on the blackboard, that kind of thing. But if your memory stretches back as far as your schooldays you'll recall that the kids who routinely "told on" others for minor instances of wrongdoing were never popular. That's because trying to get other people into trouble while burnishing your own standing as a virtuous upholder of official authority is deeply unattractive behaviour. Most children know this instinctively. But there's always a few who don't.”

4. Julia Hurst in Politico

on Rio Tinto’s rampant destruction

Why Australia fails to protect its heritage

“Rio Tinto knew the site was of international significance and held evidence of 46,000 years of continuous human occupation across a changing climate, including the last Ice Age. Archaeologists had salvaged more than 7,000 artifacts - some more than 40,000 years old - from the area. One of the artifacts was a 4,000-year-old plait of human hair, which represented a precious genetic link to present-day Traditional Owners. In regular meetings with Rio Tinto, they had tried to stop the destruction of the caves from proceeding, reminding the company that the site was ‘one of the most sacred sites in the Pilbara region’. And yet, on Australia’s National Sorry Day - which remembers the mistreatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people who were forcibly removed from their families and communities - Rio Tinto went ahead with its plans.”

5. Bryan Knight in Al Jazeera

on a nuanced history

The pitfalls of glamorising Black Power activism

“‘Black Power!’ was an utterance popularised by radical Black activists in the 1960s and 1970s. Although often ignored ideologically, the iconography of Black Power continues to be circulated in popular culture - without a thorough engagement with the politics that led to its creation. The glamorisation of Black Power imagery is a phenomenon that stretches as far back as the 1960s. However, with the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, it is time that we move beyond our obsession with revolutionary aesthetics and engage with its politics.”

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