In Depth

Instant Opinion: ‘how to save the United Kingdom’

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Thursday 19 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. Gordon Brown in the New Statesman
How to save the United Kingdom

“On one level, this is a story about governmental failure. To control a pandemic you need public buy-in. A company chief executive may be able, at least for a time, to send down diktats that have to be obeyed. But when implementing lockdown and quarantines, ‘command and control’ only takes you so far. Citizens have to be persuaded to follow the rules. A prime minister has to consult, communicate and coordinate, and build consent, for if trust breaks down and if, as the antics of Dominic Cummings demonstrated, there are doubts about the credibility, legitimacy and even-handedness of the rules, then any hope of unity disappears.”

2. Alexandra Petri in The Washington Post
Been injured in an election? Call Rudy Giuliani now!

“Have other law firms withdrawn from your litigation on the grounds that an attempt to undermine the legitimacy of the election is not something they want to be a part of? I won’t! Call me! My cellphone number is readily available! Maybe TOO available, and I DO text back, even if I don’t know who you ARE! I have almost THREE DECADES OF EXPERIENCE since the last time I was in a courtroom! But my skills remain just as sharp as my understanding of the law! Please pay me $2,000 an hour, unless you want to pay me a different amount; I’m going to leave it up to you With me in your corner, judges will be wowed. Most judges who have had to deal with me so far have been rendered TEMPORARILY SPEECHLESS and also MADE FACES!”

3. Belen Fernandez on Al Jazeera
The Biden plan for Central America: Militarised neoliberal hell

“During a 2012 excursion to the region to reiterate US satisfaction with the panorama of right-wing, corporate-friendly brutality, Biden affirmed that there was no possibility for drug legalisation in the eyes of him and his boss, despite the horrific levels of violence generated by the drug war itself. The perils of existence in Honduras have only been compounded by the post-coup privatisation binge, mega ‘development’ projects entailing land grabs and environmental despoliation, and other US-backed neoliberal experiments in mass impoverishment and communal displacement. Given this reality, it is only logical that a whole lot of Hondurans – as well as other Latin Americans in a similar boat – would attempt to migrate in the direction of potential physical and economic safety.”

4. R. Daniel Kelemen on Politico
Time to call Hungary and Poland’s bluff

“If European leaders want to escape this autocracy trap, they must begin by standing up forcefully to regimes that try to hold the EU hostage. They must call Orbán and Morawiecki’s bluff and press ahead with the rule-of-law conditionality regulation. After forcing these rogue regimes to climb down, the EPP must show that there is a political price to pay for such blatant defiance of EU norms by finally expelling the Orban regime from their party - and by denouncing the autocratic practices of the Hungarian and Polish regimes. Only once the EU demonstrates the resolve to defend democracy and the rule of law can it begin to escape the trap that its years of appeasement have created.”

5. Thomas Riley in The Daily Telegraph
A lack of public loos is leaving Britain caught short

“Millions rely on free and accessible toilets daily. From outdoor workers, travelling nurses, drivers, women, people with medical conditions, young families, or those who are older – it is not a minority. And local authorities just do not seem to get it. Many now operate toilets on a ‘pay-to-pee’ basis and generally treat them like businesses – seeing what return on investment they can have. Lavatories are not something to be haggled, they are a human right. And when there are none available, it can have a huge societal impact.”

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