In Depth

Instant Opinion: ‘next year should spell new leader for the Tories’

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Monday 5 October

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

1. Clare Foges in The Times

on a PM running out of steam

Next year should spell new leader for the Tories

“‘In my beginning is my end…’ Ten months on from its victory the government already has the fag-end feel of one that has been going for ten years. The people have stopped listening to its pronouncements, the prime minister looks exhausted, the backbenchers are rebellious, the civil servants leaky, the ideas either flat (‘levelling up’) or far out (building a floating wall in the Channel). It can seem we have reached something approaching the nadir of John Major’s government when, as Norman Lamont put it, they appeared to be ‘in office but not in power’... While Major’s government was doomed by the drumbeat of sleaze, Boris Johnson’s is doomed by something worse: the drumbeat of incompetence.”

2. Allison Pearson in The Daily Telegraph

on being sent to the social media Naughty Step

I got locked out of Twitter for having the ‘wrong’ opinion on Covid

“I woke yesterday morning to find that I had been locked out of Twitter for ‘violating our rules against abuse and harassment’. I was dumbfounded. Which of my recent tweets had been abusive or harassed anyone? I glanced down the email to see something I had posted last week in response to yet another We’re All Doomed! report on the BBC news. ‘How hard is it for people to understand? We WANT students to get the virus. They will speed us towards community immunity. It may not be very far off.’ Whether you agree with my tweet or not, it accurately represents the opinion of a number of distinguished scientists, including Oxford’s Prof Sunetra Gupta… You may get locked out of Twitter for saying it, but I won’t stop. Censorship be damned. The truth will out.”

3. Moira Donegan in The Guardian

on Donald Trump’s October Surprise

America has a super-spreader president. He put us all – and himself – at risk

“Donald the Super-Spreader is an insult to those Americans who have altered their own lives beyond recognition in order to fight the coronavirus. As lockdowns began in March, the Americans who retreated to their homes were told that the extreme measures were temporary ways to slow the speed of the disease and buy time for the government to come up with a viable response… Meanwhile, nothing about national Republicans lives seem to have changed. They go on hugging and gathering in close together, wiping their noses on their hands and then shaking them, yelling wide-mouthed about the ineffectiveness of masks… Trump and the national Republicans have been living in a different world from the rest of America. Now that the virus has reached them, maybe they will have to know what our world feels like.”

4. Carles Puigdemont on Politico

on Catalans’ right to decide their future

Why the fight for Catalan independence isn’t over yet

“Three years after Catalonia held a historic referendum on self-determination, we are still a long way from resolving a conflict that continues to deny Catalonians the right to determine their future. The Spanish state, immersed in an institutional crisis of a depth not seen since the death of dictator Francisco Franco, has been unable to come up with political proposals to solve the dispute… We are determined to achieve the necessary support for carrying out the project that began three years ago - in the same civic, democratic and peaceful way as we did back then. Having seen first-hand the sinister consequences of not being able to freely decide our future, we cannot afford to be complacent.”

5. Bel Trew in The Independent

on Lebanon’s bleak future

As foreign reserves are drained, a bitter and worrying winter lies ahead for Lebanon

“As we hurtle into autumn, families across Lebanon are bracing for an unfathomably bleak winter, where many will starve and struggle to warm themselves. Battered by financial collapse, an uncontrolled outbreak of Covid-19, one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in modern history, and sectarian violence, the tiny Mediterranean nation has barely dragged itself forward this year. More than half the country now lives below the poverty line, a rate which is rising. In Beirut, many are still living in the bombed-out shells of their homes. But there is a new disaster on the horizon that will only tighten the noose: subsidy cuts. When that happens, the cost of food and many medicines, as well as electricity, internet and fuel, will quadruple or quintuple, according to experts.”

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