In Depth

Instant Opinion: ‘Social-care funding is a scandal that stains our nation’

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Friday 5 July

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

1. Ian Birrell in The Times

on Britain’s social care crisis

Social-care funding is a scandal that stains our nation

“Listen to the debate and you might think this is simply about middle-class folks cashing in homes to fund elderly care. But this crisis goes far deeper. It is shrouded in hypocrisy as our health service is sanctified and stuffed with cash while social-care funding shrinks in real terms and support for despairing citizens dries up. This is the impact of local authority budgets being cut deeper than those in Whitehall during austerity by a coalition government to deflect criticism. Now desperate calls for help from cash-strapped councils are surging, led by working-age adults. The means test has become meaner. Worst hit are those reliant on inadequate state support as the care market gravitates towards self-funders paying higher fees.”

2. Jack Bernhardt in The Guardian

on Tory members

Why stop at foxhunting, Jeremy? What about hanging, drawing and quartering?

“Forget bringing back the death penalty – the real Tory member will only accept you if you bring back criminals being hung, drawn and quartered. You’ll have to bring back section 28 too, and go further – make it illegal for anyone to mention Freddie Mercury or Megan Rapinoe within three miles of a school. And for a real vote winner, you’ve got to at least explore the idea of getting back the empire. Bring back national service, get the children to build galley ships (made out of the finest British oak), and then make them row to the subcontinent, dammit, ready to invade again.”

3. Labour deputy leader Tom Watson in The Independent

on how the digital dream turned into a nightmare

As ​Amazon turns 25, let's call time on the tech oligarchy and their dystopian ‘disruptions’ to our lives

“A decade ago I was a digital utopian. I believed in a digital future where the internet would allow us to access all the world’s knowledge in a few clicks and would lead to a level of human flourishing never seen before. The reality is not so much disappointing as dystopian. We now have terrorists live-streaming massacres on digital platforms. Algorithms are sending child users into a rabbit warren of content about suicide and self-harm. Elections are being influenced and even infiltrated by dark online political adverts paid for overseas. Conversations had in the privacy of our own homes are being recorded by Alexa and listened to by anonymous Amazon employees far away across the globe.”

4. David Brooks in The New York Times

on the revolt against baby-boomer morality

Will Gen-Z Save the World?

“Many [young people] seem to have rediscovered the sense, buried for a few decades, that one calling in life is to become a better person. Your current self is not good enough. You have to be transformed through right action. It’s often uncomfortable and over the top, but we’re lucky to have a rebellion against boomer quietism and moral miniaturization. The young zealots may burn us all in the flames of their auto-da-fe, but it’s better than living in a society marked by loneliness and quiet despair.”

5. Ben Lawrence in The Daily Telegraph

on diversity in the arts

Fleabag ‘just for posh girls’? That kind of inverse snobbery threatens creativity

“Of course we need a diversity of voices, but those with the power to commission need to think in terms of meritocracy and balance. For hundreds of years, we have been able to enjoy masterpieces without having to think about their provenance.”

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