In Depth

Instant Opinion: ‘National morale low in plucky Britain’

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Tuesday 7 April

The Week’s daily round-up highlights the five best opinion pieces from across the British and international media, with excerpts from each.

1. Nick Houghton in The Telegraph

on national spirit

Britain is plucky, but national morale is low

“When coronavirus is defeated – as it will be – the Government needs to consider how best to rebuild the nation’s morale. It could start with restoring the integrity of political leadership; investing in our national institutions; improving key infrastructure and emergency services; and establishing greater social fairness and cohesion. But, most of all, we need a wider national vision that restores a sense of collective purpose. I say all this not out of some nostalgic desire to reinvent Britain’s former glories. I say it rather for the highly practical purpose of providing society with the resilience it will need to confront future challenges. The world has become a more insidious place. We don’t have that many friends. Our enemies will target the resilience of our society and our way of life in ever more mendacious ways.”

2. Layla Moran, Liberal Democrat MP, on HuffPost

on helping foreign workers

All key workers from overseas should be granted indefinite leave to remain - it’s the least we can do

“Perhaps more than any other group, our brave NHS workers will be remembered for their efforts during this time. They, and other key frontline workers, deserve to be recognised for their actions, and this should include: medals; pay rises; better investment into the public services they keep running; and a greater appreciation for the work they do. I have also called for a Coronavirus Compensation Scheme to ensure that should the worst happen, their families are taken care of.”

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3. Bethan Jones and Fabio Montale in The New York Times

on desperation in the Mediterranean

Italy is sending another warning

“While the coronavirus has been concentrated in the country’s north, especially the regions of Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna, the economic effects are most severe in the poorer, less industrialized south. In Campania, the region of which Naples is the capital, 41% of people are at risk of poverty. Work is a problem: Last year, unemployment was around 20 percent and about that proportion of the region’s work force was underemployed. And for those who do have work, it is often informal, insecure - and particularly vulnerable to the crisis.”

4. Radhya Almutawakel on Al Jazeera

on a disaster waiting to happen

Yemen: First bombs, soon a coronavirus epidemic

“In Yemen, our worst fears will likely become a reality: another epidemic. While novel to the entire world, the disease may be particularly deadly to countries in conflict like Yemen. A friend of mine who lives in Sanaa told me: ‘If Coronavirus arrives in Yemen, we should just dig our graves and wait quietly for death.’ The spread of coronavirus anywhere is a threat to everyone. While countries shore up their own health systems to battle coronavirus, they must not ignore the plight of Yemenis who are already under attack.”

5. Rachel Sylvester in The Times

on the role of the opposition

Starmer needs to colour in his blank canvas

“The country urgently needs a credible opposition. When the government is giving itself unprecedented powers to deal with the coronavirus pandemic and the economy teeters on the brink, it is more important than ever for ministers to be properly held to account. Sir Keir has the advantage that it is at least possible to imagine him standing on the steps of No 10. As a former director of public prosecutions, he already looks like a serious contender for power in a way that neither Jeremy Corbyn nor Ed Miliband ever did.”

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