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Instant Opinion: Boris Johnson’s need to be loved is his weakness

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Tuesday 23 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. Rachel Sylvester in The Times

on the prime minister-in-waiting’s fatal flaw

Boris Johnson’s need to be loved is his weakness

“Election campaigns are like the x-rays of a politician’s character and many of Boris Johnson’s flaws have been exposed in the Tory leadership contest. His temper, disloyalty and loose relationship with the truth have been on display as well as his undeniable charisma and natural ability as a campaigner. None of his frailties appears to have put off the majority of Tory party members who, barring an astonishing upset, will today make Mr Johnson their leader and our next prime minister. That is when the real test begins. If the leadership contest was an x-ray, then running the country is the political equivalent of open-heart surgery. In Downing Street there is nowhere to hide and Mr Johnson will have to win over tens of millions of voters rather than tens of thousands of Tory activists if he is to survive.”

2. Peter Franklin in UnHerd

on the outgoing PM

What Theresa did next...

“One would like to think that our ex-leaders would become wise elders, drawing upon their experience at the pinnacle of power to think deep thoughts about the system of the world. It says something about the shallowness of our politics (or perhaps the omertà of the establishment) that they have so little to share. Even Barack Obama, that most cerebral of ex-Presidents, hasn’t had much to say so far. Therefore, let’s not demand too much of Theresa May. She’s only had three years in office, but it must have felt like thirty. She’s earned a long, happy and peaceful retirement.”

3. The Guardian Editorial

on Jo Swinson

The Guardian view of the new Lib Dem leader: the vision thing

“Whatever the pretensions to be the next prime minister, the new Lib Dem leader will lead just 11 MPs in parliament – making it the fourth force in Westminster party politics. While they lack the parliamentary machinery of the big two parties, the Lib Dems must strive to play a part in moulding the future. This will mean they will have to work out how to be more than just a protest vote against Labour and the Conservatives, at a time when populism is in the ascendancy. Ms Swinson could do worse than follow in the social liberal tradition of Beveridge and Keynes. There is room in UK politics for a party that combines social democratic economics and an uncompromising anti-Brexit message with a strong commitment to constitutional reform, environmentalism and civil liberties.”

4. Richard Littlejohn in the Daily Mail

on the Westminster paedophile scandal

Labour's Deputy Tom Watson championed the cause of fantasist ‘Nick’ - the malignant mud-slinger behind a vicious vendetta. Now put HIM in the dock as well

“All of this madness, all this tyranny, all this outrageous abuse of police power, all this waste of taxpayers’ money, all this misery inflicted on blameless men and their families, can be laid at the door of Watson. Yet the man himself has never been called to account, and even after yesterday’s verdict on Nick, remains shamelessly unrepentant. Incredibly, he is now being touted in the political world as the saviour of the Labour Party, a voice of moderation prepared to take on Jeremy Corbyn and his cohort of anti-Semites.”

5. Lucy Denyer in The Daily Telegraph

on financial autonomy

If you can’t share your money in a marriage, it’s not a marriage worth being in

“If you’re committing your life to someone else – in marriage, or a long-term partnership, perhaps involving children – then why not your money too? ‘For richer, for poorer’ in the old-fashioned marriage vows is not there for no reason. When you become a partnership, you become a new unit – one in which both halves support each other, whether that’s emotionally or financially. That doesn’t mean you have to have a joint bank account, but I’d argue that it means you should be able to have one without feeling as if you’re signing away your independence.”

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