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Instant Opinion: Farage pact ‘mixed blessing’ for Tories

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Tuesday 12 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. Rachel Sylvester in The Times

on the Brexit Party chucking a spanner in the works

Nigel Farage’s move is a mixed blessing for Tories

“The prime minister’s electoral strategy is not based on surfing a ‘blue wave’ to victory - it depends on breaking through the ‘red wall’, winning over a swathe of Leave-voting seats in the north and the Midlands to make up for the losses he expects to suffer in Remain-supporting areas in the south. These are precisely the constituencies that the Brexit Party is now going to throw all its energy into targeting, meaning the Leave vote will be divided in the very places Mr Johnson needs to capture from Labour.”

2. John Rentoul in The Independent

on the reliability of opinion polling

Opinion polls are important, but letting them dictate election coverage is a dangerous game

“In the 1992 election... Labour policies were scrutinised closely not just for themselves but for their acceptability to the Liberal Democrats; there were endless discussions of the mechanics and possible horse-trading of a hung parliament, and in the final week, a huge fuss about electoral reform. Similar things happened in the 2015 election, the 2016 referendum and the 2017 election. In no case were the opinion polls very wrong, but in each case the assumptions built on them coloured the reporting of the campaign, and the result came as a surprise.”

3. Frida Ghitis on CNN

on politicians sleepwalking their way towards removal

Bolivia’s blunt message to leaders drunk on power

“In a perfect situation, Bolivia would have a fuller investigation and a new election with credible results. Instead, Morales has been forced from power by the actions of the military. He and his backers are emphatic that this was a coup. His critics claim his removal saves Bolivian democracy. The coming days will show whether the country can return to peace and a democratic path, or if darker days lie ahead.”

4. Michael Tomasky in The New York Times

on billionaires burying their heads in the sand

Bill Gates, I implore you to connect some dots

“The 400 richest Americans - the top .00025 percent of the population - now own more of the country’s riches than the 150 million adults in the bottom 60 percent of wealth distribution. The 400’s share has tripled since the 1980s. This is carnage, plain and simple. No democratic society can let that keep happening and expect to stay a democracy. It will produce middle and working classes with no sense of security, and when people have no sense that the system is providing them with basic security, they’ll make some odd and desperate choices.”

5. Borisa Falatar in The Guardian

on Europe’s troubling Balkan bluster

Bosnia’s politics are in crisis. But that is reason for the EU to help, not shut us out

“Business as usual will lead to Bosnia’s leadership pivoting to the Gulf states, China and Russia, which will further jeopardise the country’s cohesiveness and its EU future, especially now, when the only national consensus that existed – the hope of EU integration – appears to be indefinitely postponed. It will become ever harder for Bosnia to avoid becoming a testing ground in a new cold war. The European council and the new commission should be braver and more ambitious. Our common values and stability are at stake. Otherwise, all we may be left with is a failed state on the EU’s doorstep and EU flags on humanitarian relief items – sad reminders of a never-realised dream.”

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