In Depth

Instant Opinion: coronavirus restrictions are ‘hurting the young’

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Thursday 24 September

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

1. Allison Pearson in The Daily Telegraph

on scapegoating in the Covid response

Ridiculous Covid rules are hurting the young – nobody wants them to be punished in our name

“Do Bill and Ben the Pol Pot Men care about the effect their exorbitant graphs and terrorising models are having on actual people, both young and old? I’d like to see Professor Whitty, a monkish bachelor, try and reassure a tearful eighteen-year-old for whom Freshers’ Week, never the easiest experience, has turned into a socially-distanced ordeal. ‘I am feeling so upset and cross about the whole thing and am not alone amongst my friends,’ says Diana, who describes herself angrily as an ex-Tory voter. ‘We are on the verge of marching or chaining ourselves to some railings!’ Believe me, Diana, I feel like chaining myself to some railings with you. How dare our PM say that ‘nothing is more important than the education of our young people’ when our offspring are having their studies wrecked by wholly disproportionate measures. Covid cannot harm students but adult paranoia about Covid certainly can.”

2. Barbara Wesel in Deutsche Welle

on tussles in Brussels

EU migration pact is victory for the nationalists

“There will be EU task force units - made up of border police, lawyers, translators and other helpers — to support member states when large numbers of displaced people arrive in short periods. A group like that should really have been at work in Moria, too - what went wrong there? And then the proposal announces fast-track decisions at the borders for applicants from countries whose citizens are frequently deemed ineligible. That has been a goal in Brussels for years, but the idea might not be able to stand up to the judicial challenges to it. What legal system is to be used as a basis for decisions? Is there a chance to appeal? Who provides the judge?”

3. Editorial board of The Japan Times

on pre-recorded pageantry

UN fails to shine at its diamond jubilee

“A diamond jubilee deserves more than prerecorded speeches, but somehow a parade of three-minute videos broadcast to a mostly empty General Assembly chamber succinctly captures the moment for the United Nations. The world is facing a set of crises that is unprecedented in modern history — the COVID-19 pandemic, a global economy that has gone off the rails and a climate catastrophe — and the world body is distracted by geopolitical rivalries and a growing tendency of national governments to go it alone while complaining about the institution’s ineffectiveness. As U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres explained in comments at the world body’s 75th anniversary, “we have a surplus of multilateral challenges and a deficit of multilateral solutions.”

4. Laura Coates on CNN

on the long wait for justice

Indictment doesn't even begin to bring justice for Breonna Taylor

“After 195 days, no officer has been arrested or charged for killing Breonna Taylor. Wednesday’s grand jury indictment of former Louisville Det. Brett Hankison hasn’t brought justice for the death of Breonna Taylor. Hankison was charged with first-degree wanton endangerment charges because, prosecutors say, bullets from his firearm entered a neighboring apartment where three residents were home. In truth, this has changed nothing. Justice feels like the elusive carrot that is dangled but never caught. Consider the fact that Hankison was charged for shooting in the manner that could have killed someone. No officer has been charged for the fact that someone actually did die.”

5. Girish Shahane on Mint

on putting up with a big ego

Why Elon Musk is both obnoxious and indispensable

“The economist Mariana Mazzucato has argued persuasively that governments undersell their contribution to innovation, and to companies like Tesla and Apple, leading society to overvalue entrepreneurs like Musk and the late Steve Jobs. While Mazzucato illuminatingly highlights the state’s crucial role in basic research and early stage funding, she has shown little evidence of governments creating and marketing finished products as enticing as those produced by Apple and Tesla. Questioning Musk’s absurd wealth and the adulation he receives is legitimate but he has been, and remains, a vital link in the fight for a cleaner environment. This was reinforced by his announcements during Tesla’s Battery Day event this week, which included a plan to eliminate the use of cobalt, a controversial mineral associated with rights violations in the Democratic Republic of Congo where most of it is mined.”

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