In Depth

Instant Opinion: the most important election of a lifetime

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Monday 2 November

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

1. Stephen Collinson on CNN

on a crucial moment in US history

This could be the most important election of a lifetime

“Trump has made clear that becoming the first impeached president to win re-election would cause him to unleash a far purer form of his hardline nationalist ideology, and he may be all but unstoppable in his effort to fully weaponize the institutions of the US government to his own goals and whims. Vindicated by victory, the President would likely double down on crusades against ‘elites’ and warnings that White America is in danger of being overwhelmed by changing demographics.”

2. Nick Timothy in The Daily Telegraph

on the need to change the game

The difficult truth is the Government has no strategy for ending this damaging cycle of lockdowns

“The same problems will remain. A government uncertain of its objective will unavoidably find itself uncertain in its policies. But without a successful test-and-trace scheme, and without mass daily testing, as soon as we started to live normally again, an increase in the reproduction rate became inevitable and so, too, did this lockdown. Now we face restrictions that will surely run beyond December 2 and in all likelihood well into next year. If we want to break the cycle, we need to change the game.”

3. Sean O’Grady in The Independent

on the late foreign correspondent

Fearless and inquisitive, Robert Fisk was the best of The Independent and independent journalism

“He was sometimes a little stubborn and eccentric, and he had his detractors, naturally enough. Yet he deserved his reputation both as a reporter who knew a story when he sniffed it, and as a ‘writer’, if that’s not too pretentious a term. Fisk was one of the few hacks I ever knew who referred to himself in the third person - as in ‘well, what would Old Fisk say about that?’ In his case it was indulged gladly because we - his commissioning editors and his vast audience of readers, from presidents and emirs down - really did want to know what Old Fisk had to say. Plus, he could be pretty charming if he wanted.”

4. Ian Birrell in The Times

on the problem with aid

BBC must follow its own rules and axe Comic Relief

“Yet any notion that the poverty industry is populated by saints has been torn asunder by revelations of sex abuse and fat-cat profiteering. Meanwhile, the BBC ignores rising concerns over naive western aid policies damaging democracy, fostering corruption and fuelling conflict. Far from displaying impartiality, the corporation is a key player on one side of a politically charged debate as well as an active participant in a contentious government policy. This was wrong before Davie issued his new guidelines. Now he simply looks hypocritical if he does not follow his own rules by canning Comic Relief and ending all promotion of the aid sector.”

5. Devi Sridhar in The Guardian 

on the example of east Asian and African nations

The evidence is clear: if countries act together, they can suppress Covid

“Rather than acting alone, the UK needs to partner with its neighbours in Europe to agree a common regional approach. African countries have worked well regionally, as have those in east Asia and the Pacific. A cooperative strategy seems like a distant possibility now, but with a truly hard winter ahead for Europe, it may become more feasible in the spring. Countries may realise that the only way forward is together, and an elimination strategy (to stop community transmission within national borders) is the least-worst path through this crisis for their economies and societies. Integrity, competence, kindness, compassion, empathy, vision and hard work: these seem to be the core traits of the leaders who have won the trust of their populations and led their countries effectively through this crisis.”

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