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Instant Opinion: Uncertainty is the only certainty in this election

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Thursday 12 December

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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. Andrew Hawkins in The Daily Telegraph

on the general election

Uncertainty is the only certainty in this rancorous election

“This Jingle Hells election has become utterly unpredictable. The current analysis points to an exceptionally large number of marginal seats whoever wins. Not only have traditional party loyalties fractured, but the presence of disruptive smaller parties makes once binary contests a series of multi-party scraps. Even with some polls using huge national sample sizes, the range of perfectly justifiable outcomes stretches from a hung parliament to a Tory majority of 100.”

2. Gerard Baker in The Times

On implications for 2020 presidential election

Defeat for Jeremy Corbyn could be a win for Michael Bloomberg

“The Trump-Brexit years have reminded us that the two countries’ politics can move in parallel and the rare confluence of the 2019-2020 electoral cycles is therefore assuming special significance. One veteran of the Obama administration was telling friends in Washington this week to watch what closely happens in Britain tonight for indications about the American election next year. Much of the focus will be on the Tories’ success or failure to win over more working-class voters in the way Republicans need to do in 2020 to retain the White House. Among Democrats there’s considerable interest in the fate of Jeremy Corbyn’s experiment in radicalism.”

3. The Guardian Editorial

on Donald Trump’s impeachment

The integrity of US democracy is at stake

“The impeachment process serves a function that goes beyond next year’s electoral tests. It asserts the supremacy of law in a political system imperilled by a leader who believes with despotic certainty in his own immunity from criticism or sanction. It is not a partisan move against the president but a defence of the foundational principles of the American republic. To declare Trump unfit for office is to anchor US democracy in a self-evident truth when it is dangerously adrift on a sea of lies.”

4. Rivkah Brown in The Independent

on the cult of personality

Greta Thunberg being named Time person of the year won't stop the climate crisis

“This transformation of Thunberg by publications like Time from activist to influencer has gone a long way in voiding her politics, instead putting focus on her personality – I imagine, for example, that more people know she is autistic than know she spent last week at a UN climate conference. Even more dangerously, it has turned a bad news story – rising seas drown millions, wildfires incinerate ecosystems, “untold suffering” ensues – into a feel-good one about a bad-ass teen with a plan to save the planet. Rather than grief for a dying planet moving us to act, cheer at a young climate warrior acts as an opiate.

5. Alice Thomson in The Times

on looking back

This decade gives us reasons to be cheerful

“This weird second decade of the 21st century is drawing to a close. It doesn’t even have a name, sandwiched between the noughties and the twenties. In many ways it seems like a lost decade, one we would rather forget and pass over: a teenage time of angst, lies and broken relationships. It has sometimes felt as if we are going backwards and at other times that technology has outpaced us and we are tumbling forwards, out of control.”

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