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Instant Opinion: ‘I can’t vote for any of them’

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Friday 1 November

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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. Philip Collins in The Times

on an electorate left disillusioned by scandal and Brexit fatigue

I can’t in all conscience vote for any of them

“This is shaping up to be a ludicrous general election. Quite why Boris Johnson decided to solve his European problem by having an election about the NHS rather than, say, taking his withdrawal agreement through parliament, is anyone’s guess. The general election of 2019 will be the tenth for which I have had more than a child’s understanding. I have beheld elections before this one with excitement, sometimes with pride, occasionally with trepidation but always with interest and never before with such an absence of enthusiasm. The choice is a wretched one and, if I watch the dreary campaign stunts with more attention than usual, it will be simply because I have not the first idea of what to do.”

2. Stephen Bush in the New Statesman

on an unwelcome interloper

Donald Trump’s intervention leaves Boris Johnson with a double headache

“It leaves Downing Street in an awkward position: of at once trying to defend their deal and at the same time trying to minimise the ability of Labour to equate Johnson and Trump. Their big consolation is that because their opposition parties have different incentives, the negative messages are drowned out. Corbyn, Jo Swinson and Nicola Sturgeon want voters to think that Johnson’s deal is one that opens the UK up to becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary of Trump, Inc, while Farage wants voters to think that there is no prospect of a trade deal with anyone under the terms of Johnson’s withdrawal agreement.”

3. Eugene B. Rumer in Foreign Affairs

on the potential for Cold War 2.0 in Syria

Russia, the indispensable nation in the Middle East

“The re-emergence of Russia as a major power broker in the Middle East is striking not only in contrast with the United States’ erratic posture in the region but because for a quarter century after the Cold War, Russia had been absent from the region. But Russia’s absence, and not its return, is the anomaly.”

4. Jessica Zucker and Sara Gaynes Levy in The Guardian

on coming to terms with the loss of a baby

Miscarriages change our bodies as much as childbirth. Can we talk about that?

“The strident trifecta of silence, stigma and shame that shroud the topic of pregnancy loss prevent open dialogue and emotional support about these physical changes. This can complicate often already fraught relationships with our bodies, as women burrow their reactions, which can mutate into guilt, embarrassment and self-blame.”

5. Daniel Hernandez in the Los Angeles Times

on the joys of Mexico’s answer to Halloween

Why everyone needs a Day of the Dead

“I’ve found, over the years since I adopted the practice, that building an ofrenda for a dead soul is a soothing experience. The ritual embodies the essential duality of Mesoamerican cosmology: There is no living without the dead, and no death without the living. In almost any interpretation, Día de los Muertos posits a universal truth: The dead need us as much as we need them.”

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