In Depth

Instant Opinion: ‘Want people to get the Covid vaccine? Pay them’

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Wednesday 25 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. Paul Ormerod in City A.M.

on pushing the coronavirus jab

Want people to get the Covid vaccine? Pay them

“Incentives need to be put in place. There are externalities involved: if I refuse to have a vaccination, I can infect others. That means vaccination cannot simply be left to individual self-interest. Some negative incentives seem obvious. For example, anyone who refuses the vaccine could be excluded from treatment if he or she caught the disease. Fines or even prison could be applied in vaccine refusers who are shown to have spread Covid. But such measures would create the wrong sort of climate. The best incentives in the current circumstances are positive ones. The idea being floated of a “vaccine passport” that would enable immunised people to experience more freedom in their day-to-day lives might work, though it would immediately create a market in forgeries. But there is a much simpler way: people should be paid when they get vaccinated.”

2. Allison Pearson in The Daily Telegraph

on the embattled home secretary

Most Britons back Priti’s hard line against Leftist snobs

“Increasingly, the Leftists who dominate our institutions get to define what constitutes offensive behaviour, then they come up with a new ‘ism’ to describe that behaviour (racism, sexism, Conservatism), the better to use as a cosh on anyone who dares challenge them. You can see where this is going, can’t you? In the days since, a report by Sir Alex Allan found Priti Patel guilty of breaking the ministerial code after she shouted and swore at civil servants. I haven’t spoken to a single person who believes the Home Secretary’s conduct was ‘bullying’. Outside bien pensant circles and TV studios, people seem to think it’s far more likely she came up against a bunch of white male snobs who seemed averse to actual work and accountability.”

3. Bernie Sanders in The Guardian

on the left’s route to victory

How do we avoid future authoritarians? Winning back the working class is key

“For a president who lies all the time, perhaps Donald Trump’s most outlandish lie is that he and his administration are friends of the working class in our country. The truth is that Trump put more billionaires into his administration than any president in history; he appointed vehemently anti-labor members to the National Relations Labor Board (NLRB) and he gave huge tax breaks to the very rich and large corporations while proposing massive cuts to education, housing and nutrition programs. Trump has tried to throw up to 32 million people off the healthcare they have and has produced budgets that called for tens of billions in cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and social security.”

4. Andrew Mitrovica on Al Jazeera

on war crimes

Australia is guilty of state-sponsored terrorism

“These home-grown terrorists in battle fatigues were recruited by Australia. They were trained by Australia. They were paid by Australia. They were sent to Afghanistan by Australia. They murdered civilians, including children, in Australia’s name. The barbarity committed by Australia’s terrorists in battle fatigues – mostly, I suspect, white, Christian men – had one aim: to terrorise non-white, non-Christian Afghans. Aussie ‘soldiers’ murdered people not to achieve a ‘strategic objective’, but for a diseased, intoxicating sense of pleasure and, given the defining, competitive nature of Australians, they murdered people for sport. They accomplished their detestable mission.”

5. Holly Baxter in The Independent

on the departing president

The Thanksgiving turkey pardon was the final humiliation of Donald Trump

“There is nothing sadder than seeing a man who promised just a few short weeks ago that he was going to ‘make liberals cry again’ be reduced to a dejected comedian at an event about dinner. I almost offered him a little vial of my own tears, which naturally I carry on my person at all times, to perk him up. Slouching in with dead eyes, the president elicited a smatter of applause when he mentioned the highs of the Dow Jones this morning. He half-heartedly thanked Melania, as he usually does, for redoing the Rose Garden. He talked about the ‘doctors, nurses and scientists who have waged the battle against the China virus’. He said that members of the US military ‘keep America safe, keep America great and, as I say, America first’. No, that’s not a fully coherent sentence, despite the fact that he kept his eyes down on a printed piece of paper on the lectern in front of him the entire time, but at least it wasn’t a conspiracy theory about commie voting machines from Venezuela.”

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