In Depth

Instant Opinion: Boris Johnson’s ‘tone-deaf lies fall flat’

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Wednesday 7 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. John Crace in The Guardian

on a downtrodden Britain

Boris Johnson's tone-deaf lies fall flat as UK grows up

“The country has grown up in the time of coronavirus. Tens of thousands have died; hundreds of thousands have become ill; millions are feeling frightened and insecure about their jobs. Yet even though the prime minister has had time to move on, he appears to have learned nothing. Boris may himself have wound up in intensive care, yet he still wants to be Mr Good Time Guy, with gags about losing weight and arm-wrestling. But it’s becoming more and more of a struggle. His eyes that used to sparkle from the acclaim are now mere dead hollows. It’s possible that not even Boris believes in Boris. The scepticism is contagious.”

2. David Byler in The Washington Post

on not being ‘afraid’ of Covid-19

This is Trump’s worst tweet ever. No, really.

“The president is playing with fire. Sure, this specific tweet may get swallowed up in the insanity of the news cycle. But the message that Trump fought off the coronavirus and his followers can, too, has already been amplified by voices ranging from Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), who tweeted an edited video of Trump at a professional wrestling match to make that argument, to Fox News. They’re speaking to a huge base of people who trust and support Trump. The drumbeat of this flawed argument, combined with the signals Trump and his supporters and family send by their failures to wear masks at official functions, adds up, sending mixed messages to both his devotees and the broader public and impeding nationwide efforts to fight the virus.”

3. Gavin Mortimer in The Spectator

on a French conundrum

Macron’s fight with the far-left over extremism

“The majority response in France to Macron's promise to combat Islamic extremism is scepticism. Of the 121,000 people who responded to a poll in the centre-right Le Figaro, 74% believed his attempt will end in failure. Not so much because of an unwillingness on Macron's part but because much of the apparatus for fighting Islamic extremism is still dominated by the left. For example, a Pakistani immigrant who last month attacked two journalists outside the former offices of Charlie Hebdo had arrived in France three years ago claiming to be an unaccompanied minor but social services suspected he was older. They sought permission from a child's court to conduct a medical examination to determine his exact age but were refused.”

4. Pritish Nandy in The New York Times

on Modi tackling the elites

The campaign to silence Bollywood

“India today is like the Mad Hatter’s tea party - partly funny, partly weird - and hidden behind it is an incredibly tragic soliloquy of pain. More than six million confirmed coronavirus cases. About 100,000 deaths. The economy expected to contract by 12%. China trying to take over territory on a disputed border. Yet if you had switched on news television in India in the past two months, you would have found a country obsessed with a singular subject: the taming of Bollywood, supposedly a wild, drug-addled place where horrible things happen to outsiders; India’s Gomorrah, infested with vile liberals and Muslims.”

5. Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett in The Guardian

on male violence in art

The history of art is full of female masters. It's time they were taken seriously

“The surge of emotion I felt standing in front of Susannah and the Elders – painted by a 17-year-old Artemisia Gentileschi in the same year she was raped by the artist who was hired by her father Orazio to teach her – was as powerful as any I have felt in my life. In it, a nude Susannah twists away from the two old letches with horror and disgust; unlike many of the nudes painted by male artists, her body is not an exercise in containment, static and mannered as though it could have been carved from marble: it is living, moving flesh.”


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