In Depth

Instant Opinion: Mitt Romney made ‘the wrong call on Supreme Court’

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Friday 25 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. Michael McGough in the Los Angeles Times
Et tu, Mitt? Romney makes the wrong call on Supreme Court confirmation

“Romney’s disappointing decision chips off a good chunk of the pedestal on which he was installed after his impeachment vote. You can argue that there’s no contradiction between voting to remove Trump from office and deciding - after your colleagues have acquitted the president - to consider and potentially confirm the president’s appointees, including a Supreme Court nominee. But there is a larger context to which Romney seems oblivious. As the Los Angeles Times pointed out in an editorial: ‘The country is more sharply divided than in 2016, thanks in large part to the demagoguery of the incumbent president, who has fanned the flames of bigotry at a time of a reckoning over America’s legacy of racism.’ That reality, along with the damage a rammed-through nomination would cause to the court’s image, argues for caution. Romney’s failure to recognize that reality is inexcusable.”

2. Dolin Bhagawati in The Independent
Our government’s obsession with outsourcing is harming the UK and costing lives

“With a limited public purse, the refusal to acknowledge the potential failings of outsourcing is increasingly harmful. Money is not being directed towards the areas that need it most, resulting in the NHS, bearing the brunt. This will hamper the response of the UK to the threats of Covid-19. The NHS budget in England was approximately £115 billion in 2018/19. The cost of the failing of the Test and Trace programme has so far been £10 billion, nearly 9 per cent of the total budget for all of the NHS services. The NHS budget pays for all hospitals in England (including all their lab testing), GP services, medicines, mental health, ambulances, community nursing, planned surgeries, public health campaigns, and sexual health services. This testing failure has resulted in further lockdown measures, and another blow to the economy.”

3. Tom Harris in The Daily Telegraph
What if Jeremy Corbyn had become PM? Don't expect him to lose sleep wondering

“Books have been written on the subject, films and TV dramas have examined the What Ifs of history and politics. Alternative history is a big deal. I myself have contributed to one such collection of political speculation. The phenomenon might even help us to understand the behaviour of certain politicians in this reality by inviting us to examine their words and actions and to consider whether the same behaviour would have been exhibited if recent history had played out differently. Take Jeremy Corbyn. Watching his occasional public statements since he stepped down as Labour leader has been instructive. He has a spring in his step again. He smiles instead of grimaces. Instead of scowling at journalists and glancing suspiciously at parliamentary colleagues, he now gambols and frolics amid the hedgerows. Probably.”

4. Mark Galeotti in The Moscow Times
Putin’s UN speech masks decline in confident rhetoric

“After all, it is a mistake to believe, as some do, that Putin is an enemy of the structures of the international order. To be sure, he will happily ignore them when there is a peninsula to annex or a critic to poison. However, for the rump of a former superpower with grandiose expectations, they continue to provide status and leverage. He was certainly very clear that he saw no grounds for any real reform of the Security Council. While he accepted that it ‘should more fully take into account the interests of all countries, of the full diversity of their positions’, nonetheless it could not work ‘without preserving the veto right of permanent members of the Security Council.’ In other words, Russia and the rest of the P5 would promise to listen to everyone else more — but not actually give up their power.”

5. Hilary Rose in The Times
Here’s a tip for M&S: sell clothes we want to wear

“M&S wants its customers to be confident ‘that we will have what they want and that it will be easy to find’ and therein lies the rub. Back when I bothered browsing the clothes, I could guarantee that anything nice was a lucky discovery, hidden away in the corner behind terrible jumpers and nylon nighties. If the baffling pink suiting currently on display in the King’s Road branch is anything to go by, they’re still at it. Can M&S ever get its mojo back? I hope so but I’m not holding my breath.”

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