In Depth

Instant Opinion: Boris Johnson should ‘hug Keir Starmer close’

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Wednesday 14 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. Daniel Finkelstein in The Times

on winning cross-party support

Why Johnson should hug Starmer close

“As with the Second World War, when Labour leader Clement Attlee served as deputy prime minister to Churchill but a Labour spokesman continued to challenge the government, the opposition could continue to ask questions about Covid policy but Sir Keir would be bringing his party behind the national effort. It is perhaps a startling suggestion, one Sir Keir may reject and Conservatives will resist. I make it not because I agree with the Labour leader but precisely because I don’t. These are not normal circumstances and we all need to work together.”

2. Brian Stelter on CNN

on the president’s fading star

Trump thrived in the ‘attention economy,’ but now he is hitting its limits

“‘Trump is pretending it’s 2016 again,’ Ryan Lizza wrote Tuesday night, and he’s ‘lost the populist message that won him an unlikely victory.’ This doesn’t mean Trump support is boring or irrelevant. I think voters’ choices should constantly be getting more attention. It’s ‘the Trump show’ that seems to be fading. Reporters are picking up on a whiff of desperation at the rallies... As sensed in Trump’s comment in Johnstown on Tuesday night: ‘Suburban women, will you please like me?’ The headline on Kathryn Watson’s ensuing story for CBS: ‘Trump makes plea to suburban women in Pennsylvania.’ A plea...”

3. George Monbiot in The Guardian

on handing power to an ‘economic elite’

The Conservatives are shrinking the state – to make room for money and privilege

“[Boris Johnson’s] promises to restore sovereignty are lies. While using the language of liberation, he denies power to both people and parliament. He promised to curtail the state, but under his government, the state is bursting back into our lives, breaking down our doors, expanding its powers while reducing ours. Instead, he gives power away to a thing he calls ‘the market’, which is a euphemism for the power of private money. This power is concentrated in a small number of hands. When Johnson talks of standing back and letting the private sector get on with it, he means that democratic power is being surrendered to oligarchs.”

4. Anna Sauerbrey in The New York Times

on tensions between Berlin and Moscow

Is Germany Turning Against Russia?

“Germany is seeking the support of its European partners. On Monday, the European Union’s foreign ministers approved the proposal, put forth by Germany and France, to impose sanctions on Russian officials suspected of poisoning Mr. Navalny. Turning the conflict into a European issue is a smart move. It is Mr. Putin’s aim to split the European Union; this is a chance for Europe to respond with one voice... The confrontation may have progressed too far already: Mr. Putin is unlikely to forget, or forgive, the actions of the past weeks. And as Russia confronts the coronavirus at home and conflicts among its neighbors, there’s no guessing what might come next. Germany ought to be prepared — and know how it will respond.”

5.  Allison Pearson in The Daily Telegraph

on faith in the prime minister

Yes, Boris, this is the tipping point – for our trust in you

“If Boris doesn’t trust the British people with the truth – according to the most recent peer-reviewed paper on Covid-19, 99.8 per cent of all people who get the virus survive, including 99.96 per cent of those under 70 – then why on earth should we trust him? Treat us like children and we’ll act like them. They call this a tipping point and they well could be right, but not in the way they think.”

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