In Depth

Instant Opinion: The Germans don’t worship their health service – that’s why it’s better than ours

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Wednesday 12 August

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

1. Charles Moore in The Daily Telegraph

on ideology and health policy

The Germans don’t worship their health service – that’s why it’s better than ours

“Why is Germany free of what Mr Hunt calls ‘the political poison’ of our system? It is because they have never bought the doctrine that a particular health care system is sacred... Employer and employee both contribute. An unemployed person has his health care paid for in his unemployment insurance. Almost no German citizen falls through the net. The providers are also various. Government-run hospitals are outnumbered by privately run ones and others run by charities (many, for instance by the Order of St John). Because the money follows the patient, the providers have good incentives to provide. Indeed, the problem in Germany is too many hospital beds.”

2. Marina Hyde in The Guardian

on the return of Brexit’s favourite son

Nigel Farage’s ‘crisis’ in the Channel is a second wave of nonsense

“One can only imagine the quickening in the Farage journalistic loins when, after several hours of fruitless sea perving, he finally spots a small craft full of desperate people coming into his sights. Yes! I’ve got a bite! The dog has seen the rabbit! Perhaps Nigel imagines himself to be a sort of lone special forces operative – special farces would be more accurate – a Mittyish pose that allows him to deploy expressions like ‘oh-five-hundred hours46 and ‘I’ve got eyes on a target’. And doubtless various other quasi-military phrases he would have been able to use for real during the second world war that he so pantingly fetishises. Or rather, he would have, had he not been born nearly two decades after it ended, chosen to pursue an extremely indifferent City career in commodities trading instead of military service, and not been given to appearing at far-right German rallies. I don’t want to go out on a limb here, but I suspect the latter in particular would have been a bit of a dealbreaker for British military recruiting sergeants in 1939.”

3. Civil War historian Manisha Sinha in CNN

on adding insult to history

Are you ready for Trump's Gettysburg Address?

Trump's potential choice of Gettysburg for his acceptance speech is even more offensive given his fondness for Confederate leaders and generals like Robert E. Lee. He has defended the Confederate battle flag and "beautiful" Confederate statues and has included neo-Confederates and White supremacists among "very fine people." So much so that a few political commentators have called him the last Confederate president. Gettysburg, site of one of the biggest Confederate debacles of the war, is a standing monument to the defeat of a despicable cause. If Lincoln consecrated Gettysburg with one of the most famous speeches in American history, Trump would just as surely desecrate it by his proposed Republican convention address.

4. Martha Gill in The Times

on British hipocrisy

Museums’ grip on stolen goods is loosening

“Voma, the world’s first ‘fully interactive virtual museum’ opens on Friday. It will cherry-pick the best exhibits from the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, Moma in New York and the Art Institute of Chicago. All without the bore of having to dust them. With that in mind, let’s turn for a minute to the restitution debate, which in recent months has grown to become the biggest issue facing the world’s museums. That’s the argument over whether artefacts taken through violence or colonial rule should be returned to their original countries. Last month the boss of an arts charity pointed out that it was rather hypocritical of the British Museum to make statements about being ‘aligned with the spirit and soul of Black Lives Matter everywhere’ whilst displaying the Benin Bronzes, looted by British soldiers in 1897 and repeatedly requested back by Nigeria.”

5. Alex Lee in Wired

on a scorching summer

Why is this heatwave lasting so long? Blame climate change

“Intense thunderstorms, one of which is expected to strike the UK after the current heatwave subsides, are also likely amplified by the climate crisis. Warmer atmospheres absorb more moisture, which creates the perfect condition for severe storms to form, allowing potentially dangerous quantities of rain to fall in just a few days or even hours. Linking extreme weather events to the climate crisis is important. Not only does it help us more easily see trends and patterns in the climate, but also to make better plans for a hotter future.”

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