Instant Opinion: Brexiteers ‘vanish’ as the deal deadline looms
Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Monday 16 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. Clare Foges in The Times
on Cummings leaving No. 10
Brexiteers vanish as Brexit dawn looms
“I am afraid I do not share the hopes that Dominic Cummings’s departure from No 10 will lead to a successful ‘reset’ of government, because the old problem will remain: a prime minister who does not really know what he thinks, who has fleeting enthusiasms but not big ideas, whose ambition to occupy the office was not driven by what he would do once he got there but a feeling that it would be a grand thing to do. Indeed, I think Cummings’s exit is quite possibly a bad thing, as in the absence of any similarly driven characters it will inevitably lead to a slide in the government’s ambitions. Yes, much is maddening about Cummings: the hypocrisy of an establishment insider who attacks establishment insiders; the chutzpah of claiming that a 250-mile drive was akin to a Specsavers check-up; the arrogance which assumes that the 99.9 per cent of us who aren’t well versed in Descartes or quantum physics are mediocrities. But at least he had ambition.”
2. Frank Bruni in The New York Times
on selling your soul
Was it worth it, Jared and Ivanka?
“Just five short years ago Jared and Ivanka were dinner-party royalty here in Manhattan. It’s that kind of place. They had money, they had youth, they had celebrity. They were thin. I’m told that their manners were impeccable, so you’d never know that his father was an actual felon and her father a de facto one. Besides, you can’t hold family against someone, can you? We don’t choose how we’re born. But from then on, we do make choices, and we’re accountable for those. They chose to tether their fortunes to her father’s, chose to go along for the ride, chose to see how far it could take them, because what if it took them all the way? What if Ivanka became the first female president, something that Manhattan acquaintances of hers assured me that she fantasized about, a giddy possibility that her father floated out loud.”
3. Helen Lewis in The Atlantic
on feminist aristocrats
When discrimination targets the privileged
“The reasons behind male primogeniture were, for centuries, obvious to everyone. Most titles came with a grand estate: a castle, tenant farms, perhaps a summer house or two. These stately homes cost a fortune to run, so keeping the title and all the assets bundled together made sense. The eldest son inherited the lot. The danger of passing on titles and wealth to an eldest daughter was that she might marry into another noble house, uniting both sets of titles and land. From the monarch’s point of view, that was dangerous, potentially allowing aristocratic families to become an alternative power base to the throne. This all made perfect sense in 1620, or even 1720. But it’s harder to understand in 2020, when Britain has had two female prime ministers, 50 years of equal pay under the law, and its female monarchs are generally agreed to have a better batting average than their male counterparts.”
4. John King in The Independent
on the end of terrace loyalists.
Do clubs even need spectators now? Coronavirus and the death of football as we know it
“It is sometime in the future and the biggest football clubs in London have merged to create London United. The story is the same in Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow. Wasteful rivalries have been overcome, replaced by a more lucrative unity. The Premier League has morphed into a Europe-wide super-league and London are due to play Madrid City. Matches may take place in empty stadiums, but the digital experience is a huge improvement on the old, highly dangerous way of consuming the product. A range of atmospheres is included in every TV package, while a little extra buys the full immersive option. The London-Madrid clash is already a bestseller. Football has never felt more alive.”
5. Gerhard Sonnleitner on Deutsche Welle
on the greatest of all time
Lewis Hamilton or Michael Schumacher? There's no contest
“Sometimes it seems as though Hamilton, like someone out for a leisurely Sunday drive, is completely relaxed and without a challenge. The record winner’s superiority has taken the tension out of Formula 1 following title after title. And even after the seventh World Championship, everything points to more to come. Hamilton may be the best racing driver of his time. But his racing victories are not reminiscent of the passionate battles of Schumacher, who became a legend because, in competition with other outstanding drivers, truly made the impossible possible as a relentless competitor, team player and human being.”