Instant Opinion: Have the Tories reached the ‘end of the road’?
Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Wednesday 11 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. Poppy Trowbridge in The Guardian
on a badly wounded Tory party
Is it the end of the road for the Conservative party?
“Tories have a powerful sense of belonging to their party and its traditions. They are also practical, clubbable, and, on the whole, feel uncomfortable about going against the tide for too long. That’s why this rebel behaviour is an exception unlikely to generate a permanent parliamentary group of independent Conservatives. There’s no doubting their anger and sadness at the Conservative party’s embrace of a hard Brexit at any cost. But even so, I suspect those who have left would leap at a chance to return to the bosom of the Conservative brood once Brexit is done.”
2. Sam Smethers in the Huffington Post
on the departure of a controversial House speaker
The country, and the Commons, need a woman in the speaker’s chair
“Our parliamentary democracy is in crisis and that will only be compounded by the General Election when government presents voters with a ‘parliament vs the people’ choice. The Speaker has to enable parliament to connect with the people it serves and fundamental to that is a representative democracy that can relate to the voting public. One that represents Britain in all its diversity and is welcoming to women, not hostile to them. Parliamentary culture now has to change and change fast. Nothing less will do. A woman Speaker would represent a modern, outward facing institution. But the electorate for this position are MPs themselves so the question is, will a chamber that is two thirds men get it?”
3. Omer Aziz in the New York Times
on Muslims navigating a post-9/11 world
The world 9/11 took from us
“In college, I quickly learned that this skin and Muslim name of mine required me to tread carefully. Any time the subjects of religion, terrorism, the war in Afghanistan, and yes, Israel, came up, my peers’ questions felt like private interrogations. I had to learn how to navigate this, and how to survive a world darkened by Sept. 11. Every time I am detained at an airport now — it still happens — I silently curse the jihadists who brought down those towers, for the lives they took and for what they unleashed. Any moment that shakes history is experienced first by the living, in deeply personal terms. The phone calls to relatives and breathless prayers; the panic, the chaos, the desperate hope that the worst is over. In the seconds and hours after impact — themselves entire lifetimes of anguish — there is only uncertainty and horror, in that order. Later, the pain will give way to anger, and public decisions will be made that will set the course of history.”
4. Tafi Mhaka & Suraya Dadoo in Al Jazeera
on racism in South Africa
South Africa is becoming a pariah in Africa
“Many South Africans and their politicians who fuel xenophobic sentiments refuse to acknowledge that many of these migrants have fled desperate, life-threatening, conflict-ridden environments and are simply seeking a safe and dignified life in South Africa. There seems to be a concerted effort to avoid discussion about the pervasive economic, climatic, social and political problems driving migration within sub-Saharan Africa and the need to show solidarity towards those seeking safety and sustenance for themselves and their families. Many choose to ignore the obvious fact that whatever it does, the South African government will not be able to alleviate the widespread poverty, social injustice and inequality apartheid created by ostracising African migrants. It is not because of migration that the South African economy is collapsing today.”
5. Harriet Hall in The Independent
on the sustainability of high fashion
This year could be the end of London Fashion Week as we know it
“Fashion week is also under fire by climate change groups for promoting a culture of consumption. Presenting two seasons a year for womenswear and menswear puts undeniable pressure on the high street to keep up (although the latter releases far greater and more frequent stock drops and new styles than the ready-to-wear desingers showing at fashion week do). Extinction Rebellion has called upon the BFC to cancel fashion week. Of course, fashion week isn’t the root cause of the industry’s climate impact – and arguably, it is a useful platform from which to promote more sustainable options. Last season, for example, Vivienne Westwood staged a climate change rebellion on her catwalk and Stella McCartney cast members of Extinction Rebellion in her new season campaign. The BFC has this week announced its commitment to sustainability via a new initiative: The Institute of Positive Fashion, which it hopes will set industry standards that encourage companies to champion greener business models and enable positive change.”