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Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Wednesday 18 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. Stephen Bush in the New Statesman

on the next potential leader of the opposition

Keir Starmer’s Labour leadership rivals have reason to fear him

“As I wrote at the time, Labour’s 2015 intake was pretty left wing, with not just its big names like Rebecca Long-Bailey, Angela Rayner and Clive Lewis, but the likes of Louise Haigh, Rachael Maskell, and Justin Madders. Just because pitching to the left is in Starmer’s interests doesn’t mean he’s putting on an act. And north London contains multitudes: Islington was the home of Jeremy Corbyn and Tony Blair and Boris Johnson for that matter. Hackney is the home of Diane Abbott and the home of Yvette Cooper. Hampstead is the home of Tulip Siddiq and the home of Ed Milib-ok, that one’s less of a contrast, but you get the point. The Chapman-Philipson argument has more than a grain of truth.”

2. Michelle Goldberg in the New York Times

on making your outrage known

Anti-Trump America, we’re counting on you

“Ultimately, there’s no way to know how small polling fluctuations on impeachment now will affect an election that’s almost a year away. But Trump’s skill at intimidating the political class into believing that he is anything but historically reviled still matters. It keeps his supporters in line and demoralizes his opponents. That’s why, with an impeachment vote in the House expected on Wednesday, it’s important for anti-Trump America to make itself visible. For months now, many people, myself included, have looked at mass protest movements around the world and wondered why Americans horrified by the depravity of this administration aren’t taking to the streets. Well, on Tuesday evening, in every part of the country, many will be.”

3. Poppy Noor in The Guardian

on the waning relevence of a once-great icon

OK boomer: how Barack Obama became the ultimate centrist dad

“At a Rice University gala in 2018, Obama took credit for the oil and gas boom in America. ‘It went up every year I was president. Suddenly America’s the biggest oil producer and the biggest gas. That was me, people, say thank you,’ he said. Oil production grew 88% under Obama’s two terms. The US is also one of the biggest consumers of fossil fuels, and the planet is literally burning – so this is not exactly something to be proud of, but credit where credit is due, I guess.”

4. Shamil Shams in Deutsche Welle

on the separation of army and state

A clear message to the Pakistani military

“The military will never want its ex-chief to be hanged. It would significantly dent its image and curtail its political power in the country. The court verdict has already done a lot of damage to the army. The symbolic value of the ruling should not be underestimated. It sends out a clear message to the military generals that they are not above the law; that they could also be tried and punished for suspending and violating the constitution. It is a message that the military must not interfere in politics and abide by their constitutional role.”

5. Christopher Gunness in Al Jazeera

on standing up for Palestine

Repurposing the UNRWA in a post-truth world

“Seventy years on, the UNRWA and its donors must recommit to their historic mission until the injustices of 1948 which endure to this day are addressed and the dispossession of the Palestinians is resolved. Most of all, the UNRWA must empower Palestinian refugees to present themselves to the world as the owners and agents of their own dignity and destiny. To do this, services must be fully-funded; there must be thorough and ongoing management reforms and robust, rights-based advocacy. These are the three pillars on which the UNRWA's recovery will surely be built.”

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