In Depth

Instant Opinion: ‘Piers Morgan now the voice of the nation’

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Tuesday 21 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. John Crace in The Guardian

on the Good Morning Britain host

How things change – Piers Morgan now the voice of the nation

“What [Piers Morgan] does is not so much interview junior ministers – the government has wisely and determinedly kept all its big guns away from Morgan; ITV could clean up with Morgan v Priti Patel on pay-per-view – as harangue and shout at them with all the pent-up fury of someone who doesn’t understand why those in power aren’t more bothered that 1,000 additional people have died in the previous 24 hours. The best that any minister can hope for is to survive the barrage without post-traumatic stress disorder.”

2. Tom Welsh in The Telegraph

on sticking to the rules

Lockdown is a recipe for mass global unrest

“Lockdown is a social pressure cooker, exposing and enhancing serious inequalities which will only swell as the heat of the summer approaches. And in countries where governments are unable or unwilling to shield their people from poverty and hunger, the consequences could be catastrophic... Doubtless a case could be made for an extended multi-year lockdown, a great national effort to crush coronavirus for good. But I’m beginning to wonder whether even rule-abiding Britain would be able or willing to pay the cost.”

3. Tom Peck in The Independent

on the government’s 2,000-word rebuttal to The Sunday Times

The government can’t fight coronavirus, so it’s fighting journalists instead

“Politicians have always lied and will always lie. But what is a relatively new phenomenon is that it is becoming impossible to take their lies in good faith – to accept that politicians tell strategic lies, and defend the indefensible when needs must. More than this, it has become impossible to even spot the truth lurking beneath the lies. For what does Michael Gove even believe? Does he think Boris Johnson is not up to the job, or that it is ‘grotesque’ to suggest such a thing? If you made me bet, I wouldn’t fancy my chances.”

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4. Max Brooks in Foreign Policy

on the US being fatally unprepared for real biological warfare

The Next Pandemic Might Not Be Natural

“Germs have killed more people than all the wars in history, and people have been trying to make use of them throughout all those wars. Even before humans knew about the existence of microbes, they fumbled about with infected arrowheads, catapulted plague corpses, and, most infamously, dispatched smallpox-soaked blankets. While the scientific revolution helped humans battle these horrible diseases, it also helped them inflict those diseases on each other, from the World War I German experiments with infecting allied livestock to the massive, and largely forgotten in the West, Japanese germ attacks on China (which may have caused upwards of 200,000 deaths) in World War II to the colossal bioweapon stockpiles of the Cold War, which, at least in one case, caused a Soviet anthrax version of Chernobyl.”

5. Sarah Manavis in the New Statesman

on the Sussexes cutting off four newspapers

Harry and Meghan’s decision to boycott the tabloids isn’t tone deaf – it’s long overdue

“‘Why wasn’t there all this fuss with Kate and Wills?’ is the loaded question that dogs the comments section of tabloid articles about Meghan Markle. And what a good question it is – why wasn’t there? We experienced foaming-at-the-mouth glorification of Kate Middleton in the UK tabloids during the early 2010s that, while overly voyeuristic, was almost entirely positive. But just years later, whether it was what she was eating or wearing or doing, the things Kate did in 2015 suddenly became horrifying when Meghan did them in 2019. You have to wonder what it was that caused this shift and what it is that makes the Duchess of Sussex different.”

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