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Instant Opinion: Boris Johnson’s honeymoon is over ‘even before we leave the EU’

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Thursday 30 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. Andrew Grice in The Independent

on campaigning in poetry but governing in prose

Boris Johnson’s honeymoon is over – and we haven’t even left the EU yet

“As he contemplates his growing to-do list, Johnson will realise that while a huge Commons majority brings many benefits, it has downsides too. He can no longer put off difficult decisions to another day. And if he gets them wrong, he won’t be able to blame parliament, Labour or Brussels. As one minister admitted ruefully: ‘There is no hiding place now.’”

2. Ellie Mae O’Hagan in The Guardian

on the end of the liberal consensus

The ‘anti-woke’ backlash is no joke – and progressives are going to lose if they don’t wise up

“On the right, it is common to argue that the backlash to wokeness has arisen because identity politics has gone too far and rendered itself impenetrable to the majority. This argument is usually accompanied by outlandish examples of identity politics, such as a paper that suggested Greek yoghurt has been culturally appropriated, or a blogpost decrying ‘white veganism’. There’s no doubt that these examples would indeed be incomprehensible to the majority of people. But the idea that ordinary people are being driven into the arms of authoritarianism because of an excitable article they read on the internet is facile – and any progressives adopting it should ask themselves why they are parroting arguments that are largely advanced by the far right. Indeed, if the political claims of people of colour and women really had gone ‘too far’, the distribution of power and wealth in the world would look very different.”

3. Allister Heath in The Daily Telegraph

on Brexit

The Eurosceptic mission will not be over until the EU withers away

“The real reason Euroscepticism remains incomplete is that the EU will boast 27 member states on 1 February, and it will accelerate ever-closer centralisation. No Brexiteer should be comfortable with abandoning Europe’s liberal, mainstream pro-democracy Eurosceptics to their fate: political movements are internationalist or they are nothing. We mustn’t forget our comrades in our moment of victory. We must hope that, over time, more countries choose – and are allowed – to leave, that there will one day be a Frexit and a Danexit, that the euro will be dissolved in orderly fashion, and that the entire project will wither away, replaced instead by looser, liberal cooperation. Euroscepticism was never a selfish ideology. It was never just about returning self-government to Britain.”

4. Philip Stevens in the Financial Times

on the special relationship

Post-Brexit Britain cannot rely on a special relationship

“At home, the special relationship will have to bear the political and media scrutiny once reserved for Britain’s EU membership. The government will not win any plaudits for trying too hard. Tony Blair never shook off the ‘poodle’ charge after supporting George W Bush in the Iraq war. The line between special and servile is a thin one. And the British can be sensitive about being seen as America’s 51st state. It will not be long before the media is urging the government to “stand up” to Washington.”

5. Stephen Bush in the New Statesman

on the Brexit end game

We don’t know how ardent Remainers will influence Britain’s future, but we know they will

The consequences of the 2016 Brexit vote will continue to define British politics long after we have left the EU: implementing it will be a project of decades not months. But it will endure in the same way that the global trend towards low interest rates has endured after the financial crisis: no one now describes the latest announcements from the Bank of England as ‘measures to fight the financial crisis’, though that is what they are.”

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