In Depth

Instant Opinion: ‘We are all tactical voters, aren’t we?’

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Tuesday 5 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. Hugo Rifkind in The Times

on immature voting

In the end we’re all tactical voters, aren’t we?

“Probably, though, we all ought to just grow up a bit. Tactical voting is the child born when an archaic voting system gets into bed with an informed electorate. The first British electoral contest in which it probably played an undeniable role was the Greenwich by-election of 1987 when a few thousand Tory voters swung behind the SDP’s Rosie Barnes to beat off Labour. Reading back, much of the political establishment seems to have regarded this as a dangerous and probably immoral development of electoral strategy, not a million miles away from cheating.”

2. Michael Deacon in The Telegraph

on a less-than-glowing sendoff

John Bercow had gone at last... and his wannabe successors utterly trashed him

“Funny, isn’t it. On Thursday last week, MPs spent three solid hours paying lavish tribute to John Bercow. He was, they gushed, ‘a transformative Speaker’, ‘truly impartial’, ‘such a good human being’ who had ‘touched the lives of hundreds of thousands’... Then on Monday – the very next parliamentary sitting day – MPs burst into deafening cheers as his wannabe successors took turns to trash him as a one-sided, interfering, egotistical gasbag. None of them referred to Mr Bercow by name, but it was perfectly clear who they were talking about.”

3. Ted Rall in The Japan Times

on an unspoken controversy in US politics

The killing of al-Baghdadi: Illegal, disgusting and degenerate

“We have come a long way since 1981, when President Ronald Reagan, a conservative Republican, signed Executive Order 12333, which states: ‘No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination.’ E.O. 12333 — which remains in force — was part of the aftermath of the Church Committee hearings of the 1970s, which exposed assassinations and other illegal acts committed by the CIA in Latin America and elsewhere at the height of the Cold War. American spooks conspired to murder political adversaries and heads of state, mainly on the left, all over the world. Back then, the political class had the grace to pretend to be ashamed.”

4. Paul Krugman in The New York Times

on bankers unable to take criticism

Attack of the Wall Street snowflakes

“What, after all, does modern finance actually do for the economy? Unlike the robber barons of yore, today’s Wall Street tycoons don’t build anything tangible. They don’t even direct money to the people who actually are building the industries of the future. The vast expansion of credit in America after around 1980 basically involved a surge in consumer debt rather than new money for business investment. Moreover, there is growing evidence that when the financial sector gets too big it actually acts as a drag on the economy — and America is well past that point.”

5. Eliora Katz in Tablet Magazine

on the growing disillusionment with Tehran

The revolt against Iran

“While the majority of Iraqis share the same Shiite religious faith practiced in Iran, it is precisely in Iraq’s Shiite strongholds where the revolt against Iranian rule has taken root. Motivated more by national self-interest than, religious ideology, Iraq’s protesters hold the Iranian-dominated political establishment accountable for their country’s decay. These feelings have not developed overnight. Protests erupted last year in the oil rich city of Basra, when Iran turned off a power line in the region.  Basra residents repeated ‘Iran out!’ as they burned Iranian flags, the Iranian consulate, and headquarters of Iran-linked militias.”

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