In Depth

Instant Opinion: Johnson and Corbyn have ‘created an election mess’

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Friday 8 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. Tom Peck in The Independent

on a new age of electoral chaos

Welcome to the toddlocracy: Johnson, Corbyn and the rest have created an election mess that demands attention

“In hindsight, it is clear to see that the age of liberal democracy, lasted between two historic lectures. The first was given by the French philosopher Benjamin Constant at the Paris Athenaeum in 1816 and titled ‘On The Liberty of the Ancients Compared With That of the Moderns’. The second, which has come to be known as ‘Not Another One’, was delivered in 2017 on a front doorstep in Bristol by a woman called Brenda, whose surname has sadly been lost to history.”

2. Gary Younge in The Guardian

on a messy start to the Tory campaign

When Jacob Rees-Mogg lets slip what he really believes, the choices become clear

“Rees-Mogg folded, issuing an apology in which he claimed he meant to say the exact opposite to what he actually said. Then another Tory MP stepped up to defend him, explaining that what he really meant was that he was cleverer than the fire service chiefs who gave the advice. He too then apologised. These were only gaffes in the sense that both the Labour and Tory MPs were caught saying out loud what they actually believe. ‘The danger when Margaret speaks without thinking,’ the late leader of the House of Commons, Norman St John-Stevas, said of his former boss, Margaret Thatcher, ‘is that she says what she thinks.’ She was not alone. The challenge here is not that you might be caught in a lie. It’s that you might be caught in the truth and then have to explain yourself.”

3. Patrick Maguire in the New Statesman

on the potential swan song of an iconic Brexit figure

Nigel Farage’s last stand

“One cannot help but wonder if Farage has made his disappointment, and that of the voters he claims to represent, inevitable. I ask him to consider one of his heroes: Enoch Powell. Unlike Powell, who implored his followers to vote Labour in an intervention that was widely credited with delivering Harold Wilson victory in February 1974, Farage is endorsing nobody but himself. But might his campaign have the same effect? ‘I hadn’t really thought about that,’ he says.”

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4. in The Washington Examiner

on the double standards within French foreign policy

Emmanuel Macron's ridiculous Economist interview

“This is pretty ridiculous stuff. First off, it's prima-facie hypocritical. While France does support important NATO capabilities, Macron's government spends below the 2%-of-GDP NATO defense spending target. France also remains hesitant to deploy its naval forces in presence operations proximate to Russia. These two failings undermine NATO's deterrent posture. They also gut Macron's criticisms of the U.S., which continues to underwrite NATO's defense capability. Thanks to Trump, U.S. defense spending now stands at around 3.5% of GDP. Without that spending, NATO would have near non-existent airlift, deep strike, and satellite warfare capabilities.”

5. Roisin Lanigan in i-D

on generational warfare

boomers really hate the ‘ok boomer’ meme lmao

“It seems that no-one’s offered the boomers this sage advice though, given the journalists among them have spent the last week churning out a seemingly endless torrent of reaction articles explaining why ‘ok boomer’ is offensive, hurtful and untrue. Without any kind of irony, the generation who popularised the “snowflake” stereotype have complained that ‘Gen Z aren’t as bad off as they think they are’. It’s been called a pro-Russian slur and perhaps even more bizarrely, ‘the n-word of ageism’. Displaying a complete lack of insight into how the internet works and the levels of irony that have come to define Gen Z humour, media companies across the country have spat out a level of overreaction unmatched since your mum saw you in a Neopets chatroom and thought you were being groomed.”

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