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Instant Opinion: Australia is ‘committing climate suicide’

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Friday 3 January

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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. Richard Flanagan in the New York Times

on a country in flames

Australia is committing climate suicide

“Incredibly, the response of Australia’s leaders to this unprecedented national crisis has been not to defend their country but to defend the coal industry, a big donor to both major parties — as if they were willing the country to its doom. While the fires were exploding in mid-December, the leader of the opposition Labor Party went on a tour of coal mines expressing his unequivocal support for coal exports. The prime minister, the conservative Scott Morrison, went on vacation to Hawaii.”

2. Jonathan Portes in The Guardian

on a rebranding on Downing Street

Will Dominic Cummings and his “weirdos and misfits” really fix the civil service?

“Whitehall needs greater continuity and institutional memory, with more professional and technical expertise, embodied in officials who are better trained and more scientifically literate – in the broadest sense. But most of all it needs politicians who combine a determination to deliver on their promises with honesty, competence and a willingness to listen.”

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3. Eugene Robinson in The Washington Post 

on the Democrats race problem

 
Democrats are starting to look like a ‘Whites only’ party

“The Democratic Party should nominate the best possible candidate, regardless of race, and electing any of the above would be far, far better for the nation and the world than enduring four more years of President Trump’s incompetence and corruption. But with polls showing that many Democrats are still shopping, the debate rules threaten not to aid the decision-making process but to distort it. You will recall that the race began with well over 20 candidates, forcing the party to hold two-night debates. The rules were designed to winnow the field, and they did the job — perhaps all too well. Diversity is among the collateral damage.”

4. Richard Harris in the South China Morning Post

on warning signs

With markets primed for a reversal, here are five events that could trigger a 2020-21 financial crisis

“Central bankers have spent their ammunition but national governments, including China, Germany and Britain, are increasing deficit spending on low interest rates like there is no tomorrow. The traditional new year sport in the US is for Congress or the president to refuse to sign off on a record budget – no such games this year. More vodka in the punch bowl.”

5. Judith Woods in The Telegraph

on popping the question

Sorry, Kirstie Allsopp, but any woman who says she’s “happily unmarried” is lying

“Kirstie has two sons and two step-sons with her property developer partner Ben Andersen. They have been together 16 years with nary a ring in sight, and that suits her fine. Seriously? Of all the unmarried women with children I know, only two aren’t secretly simmering with resentment because their other half has never proposed. That’s only because one has taken her pique public and feels under no compulsion to pretend she’s content with the status quo.”

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