In Depth

Instant Opinion: ‘there are more vaccine sceptics than we think’

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Monday 12 October

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

1. Clare Foges in The Times

on the rise of quiet vax-sceptics

There are more vaccine sceptics than we think

“We are well acquainted with the anti-vaxxer movement. We have seen their protests in Trafalgar Square, the crackpots chanting ‘Freedom from tyranny!’ and wearing T-shirts bearing 5G conspiracy theories. My concern is that the focus on this noisy but relatively small group has led us to a kind of complacency, because if this rabble of online warriors constituted the total resistance to a vaccine, well, so what?... And so, dismissing the lunatic fringe, we can lazily believe that vaccine refusal is a niche, extreme thing that won’t affect take-up in any meaningful way. But my growing impression is that scepticism about this vaccine is rather widespread.”

2. Benjamin Zephaniah in The Guardian

on the importance of Black History Month

Black people will not be respected until our history is respected

“I wish we didn’t need a Black History Month. But we really do... We need Black History Month now more than ever before. If we really want to understand what’s happening in the world, and change it for the better, we must confront the past and learn from the past. Good or bad. We owe it to ourselves, and future generations. Now, go and listen to some reggae. Go on. Turn up the bass.”

3. Luke Pollard in The Independent

on banning trophy hunting

Trophy hunting is a colonial hangover that should be consigned to the history books

“As we celebrated the many magnificent creatures that walk our earth on World Animal Day on 4 October, an extinction crisis is in our midst. The truth is, in a few years’ time there might not be as many animals to celebrate. A wild lion hunting a gazelle or an African elephant enjoying a mud bath might be something we only see in wildlife documentaries past. Animal exploitation, loss of habitat and the climate emergency have all played their part. Yet even now it is still legal for trophy hunters to travel around the world and kill some of our most iconic species.”

4. Christopher Orr in The Atlantic

on the UK’s new golden age of police dramas

Why British Police Shows Are Better

“The British detective story is enjoying a golden age unparalleled since the days of Agatha Christie or perhaps even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle… While American viewers shake off the hangover from our long bender of forensic TV franchises (did I only imagine Law & Order: Special Veterinary Unit and CSI: Wichita?), Britain has been doing a booming export business in tidy, ruminative detective series: Broadchurch, Happy Valley, Shetland, Unforgotten, River, Vera, The Loch, Hinterland, and more. Reliable viewership numbers are hard to come by, but if you begin questioning friends and family, before long you’re likely to discover a semi-fanatical devotee of the genre among them.”

5. Yanzhong Huang in the New York Times

on souring Sino-US relations

When the U.S. and China Fight, It Is the Environment That Suffers

“President Trump likes to cast U.S.-China relations as a zero-sum game: During the 2015 presidential campaign he said, ‘I beat the people from China. I win against China. You can win against China if you’re smart.’ But when it comes to environmental protection, decoupling is a lose-lose proposition for both countries.”

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