In Depth

Instant Opinion: ‘Trump 2024? It could happen’

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Friday 27 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. Michael D’Antonio on CNN

on the Return of the Thing

Trump 2024? It could happen

“Smart money would bet that Trump will at least gesture toward 2024 sometime soon. The reasons for this, beyond the poll numbers, must include the frame of mind reflected in his refusal to concede his 2020 defeat and his devotion to the wild notion that he was somehow cheated out of a second term. Beyond mere pig-headedness, Trump’s go-down-with-the-ship pose aligns with his political brand, which emphasizes the notion that he is unconventional, combative and relentless. It also allows him to shift from one powerful mythic native, that of the ‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington’ outsider who would ‘drain the swamp’ of politics, to a new one that would make him a noble victim who, like the movie character Rocky, bravely returns to the ring.”

2. Pamela Paul in The New York Times

on modern problems

How to cry with a mask on and other 2020 dilemmas

“Recently, at a funeral, I got to thinking about the lesser challenges of the mask. Not the should-you-or-shouldn’t-you, which is settled science at this point, but the specific problem of how to cry with a mask on. This was especially pressing for me because, as an incorrigible weeper — it doesn’t matter if I’m a third friend twice removed — I was streaming tears before the service had begun. But the mask posed a new challenge: How to blow my nose discreetly and with enough frequency that I didn’t wind up with a big wet splotch in the middle, surely a repellent look during a raging pandemic? How to lift my mask to do the requisite wiping without someone looking askance?”

3. Gaby Hinsliff in The Guardian

on Great British naffness

Don’t snark – this ‘Brexit festival’ may turn out to be just the tonic we need

“I’d rather chew my arm off than celebrate Brexit itself, but something more interesting is going on beneath the surface of a project that this week unlocked another £29m of government money and has quietly made a point of hiring freelancers during a horrendously bleak year for the arts. And if it works, there’s a useful lesson here for the left about telling a modern, upbeat, inclusive national story – something any aspirant prime minister must learn to do – without being either painfully jingoistic or embarrassingly naff.”

4. Joyce McMillan in The Scotsman

on national work ethic

The answer to Matt Hancock’s question about why British people work when sick is simple

“‘Why in Britain do we think it's acceptable to go into work if you have flu symptoms or a runny nose, thus making your colleagues ill?’ All of which would amount to a reasonable enough question, were it not that the answer to it should be staring Matt Hancock, and any other UK politician, in the face. People in Britain go to work when they are unwell mainly because they cannot afford not to; and the reasons they cannot afford it are directly related to changes in the UK labour market consciously made and encouraged by Matt Hancock’s party and its ideological allies over a period of 40 years.

5. Stephen Bush in the New Statesman

on the PM’s problem

The Conservative discontent over tiers is a problem of Boris Johnson’s own making

“The difficult truth for the government is that the need to continue very tough restrictions across the whole of England is partly due to the planned loosening of restrictions for the Christmas period, when large numbers of people will be cramped together in confined spaces with poor ventilation and lots of booze – and that’s just the train journey there and back. Johnson’s big problem is that he struggles to deliver bad news and is unwilling to talk the language of shared sacrifice. But that makes it impossible for him to adequately explain, let alone sell, to his MPs a policy that, at its heart, is based upon shared sacrifice and can only be understood through the sharing of bad news.”

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