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Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Friday 26 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. Peter Franklin in UnHerd

on tackling climate change

A ray of hope for a burning world

“Ever since our distant ancestors learned how to make fire, human civilisation has been organised around the combustion of biomass and fossil fuels. As a species we haven’t moved beyond that elemental fact – we’ve just become more sophisticated in our control of the things we set light to. Our heating systems, our power stations, our modes of transport – it’s all one long burn, one long struggle to contain and direct the destructive force of fire. But now we have a chance to break free, to generate and consume energy only when and where it’s useful, to become a post-combustion civilisation. So let’s put out the fires we started – and stop burning the world before it burns us.”

2. Ed Conway in The Times

on the economic challenges and opportunities facing Britain

Clever spending will energise the economy

“Should he find a way of cutting the Gordian knot of Brexit, Mr Johnson has a genuine opportunity to energise the economy and boost productivity. But looking on the bright side alone isn’t enough. Leaving the EU, appointing a new Bank of England governor, changing the fiscal rules, reforming the export tariff schedule, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and maybe even overhauling monetary policy. Britain has confronted many economic shifts in recent decades, but rarely has it faced so many of them at the same time.”

3. Suzanne Moore in The Guardian

on the art of opposition

We’ve yet to work out how to oppose Boris Johnson. It won’t be easy

“Having retweeted rude songs about Johnson and watched the demos, I now wonder how best to oppose all this. The opposition will be both within parliament and outside it. But you cannot oppose by meme, or talking about Johnson’s infidelities – or even cod psychoanalysis. When he talked of “unfounded self-doubt” I thought here is the big connection. The pledge that doubt can be banished is an utter fantasy. It manifests personally in all kinds of disorders and it manifests politically in a populism that bares little relation to reality. But to oppose it will be extremely difficult. The left, or anyone who is horrified by all this, needs to get real. They need a better promise, a vision that goes way beyond Brexit or undoing austerity. To take back control we have to understand not only how much we lost but why we lost. This is not the time to retrench into old positions but to live in the moment. And the moment has changed. Deal with it.”

4. Kate Maltby for CNN

on transatlantic cultural differences

Why 'Love Island' soared in the UK and sank in the US

“The failure of ‘Love Island’ to land stateside does remind us that Britain and America are still two very different nations, especially when it comes to our big obsessions: class and competition. In both Britain and America, "Love Island" pretends to be a show about finding love. Perhaps, at a cursory view, in both places it's a show about sex. But in Britain -- like everything else – it’s really a show about class. Watch an hour-long episode of the British edition, and you’ll be surprised by how little of the airtime is taken up with conversations about flirting and sexual betrayal. Instead, the show’s top viral moments are when the show's contestants drop educational bloopers.”

5. Joanna Rossiter in The Daily Telegraph

on being a First Partner

Why Carrie Symonds will give the shallow British public exactly what they want

“There is no way to win at being a Prime Minister’s partner. Much like a royal, you are judged on your appearance more than your words. And if you don’t pass the modern litmus test of good looks and charm, then you can expect at best indifference and at worst hostility. Just ask any female news anchor who has been retired on the grounds that they are too old: beauty bias is the unspoken prejudice of our times and nowhere is this more evident than in our treatment of the political spouse. Carrie’s glamour may enable her to escape hostility, but it will certainly mark the end of her privacy.”

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