In Depth

Instant Opinion: the ‘battle for the Union starts now’

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Friday 13 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. Alan Cochrane in The Telegraph

on Scotland’s future

Boris vs Sturgeon: the battle for the Union starts now

“But putting the legalities aside for the moment, the main thing the Scottish Tories need to ponder, as well as possibly all the Unionist parties, is how to combat this new and seemingly massive separatist tide. One option, favoured by many leading lights in the Conservative ranks north of the border, is for the Scottish Tory party to break away from its UK parent. There is a perfectly valid and obvious reason for this: the English and Scottish Conservatives are, to a large extent, singing from different hymn sheets. Put at its most basic: Boris may have won England but his policies and personality are largely responsible for what looks this morning like the loss of Scotland.”

2. Matthew Goodwin in Unherd

on the reconciliation of Labour Leavers

Time for Boris Johnson to show his true colours

“How will Johnson, an instinctive social and economic liberal, appease and retain voters who instinctively lean a little Left on the economy and a little Right on culture? Reflected in our changing political geography is a new Conservative electorate that will be looking not only for a meaningful break from the European Union, a tougher stance on crime, reform of immigration and a general slowing of the pace of change but also a more interventionist or even protectionist economic regime. Boris Johnson might be about to inherit a Conservative electorate of whom 86% want to see immigration reduced and 40% rail renationalised.”

3. Zoe Williams in The Guardian

on a Labour party in ruins

Labour has been catapulted into conflict. That's not necessarily a bad thing

“You cannot rebuild while pretending everything’s still standing. Jess Phillips as good as announced her leadership challenge in a Channel 4 interview just after 2am, with a Gestalt picture that was descriptive rather than analytical: ‘Trust in politics is so low that we have let a man who nobody trusts run the country.’ Other voices – the curiously unenlightening Gareth Snell, blaming both Corbyn and the Brexit policy (too remain-y); oh, the brass-neck of Ken Livingstone (Corbyn didn’t deal with antisemitism fast enough); John McDonnell, blaming Brexit more as a poison in the culture than a policy issue; Ian Lavery, blaming his party for having even offered a second referendum – sketched out the battle ground, the result of which will anoint the next leader.”

4. Philip Collins in The Times

on Jo Swinson’s catastrophic campaign

The Lib Dems had their chance and blew it

“No doubt the Lib Dems could have done better with a different leader — I am imagining a young Mr Ashdown. Maybe they could have retained a few percentage points on their vote if they had not adopted the needless policy of cancelling Brexit with no further say. It is hard to imagine, though, that any of this would have made the difference between 13% and 30%, the point at which a serious breakthrough happens in Britain’s defunct electoral system. If there is to be a realignment of British politics — and another lesson of this election campaign is how badly we need it — then the Lib Dems will have to fold into it, rather than lead it.”

5. Jennifer Neal in The Huffington Post

on UK politics on the global stage

Today's general election result will have a knock-on effect around the world

“We want to believe that our country’s political systems and values are unique—that our governments operate within distinct cultural paradigms that appeared out of thin air to suit our individual national identities alone, and therefore, can’t possibly apply anywhere else. This logic underpins the very fabric of political campaigns that can, and sadly often do, border on nationalist rhetoric. But the truth is that all political shifts are subject to contagion effects, because we live in a world where the decisions made in one part deeply impact the way that people live in another.”

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