In Depth

Instant Opinion: ‘Covid Liberation Day is coming’

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Thursday 3 December

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

1. Allister Heath in The Telegraph

on bouncing back

Covid Liberation Day is coming, and Britain should be the first to declare it

“Britain lost the human battle, suffering more deaths per capita than most Western nations; we also lost the economic battle, with our commercial sector disproportionately trashed; yet now our nimble handling of the vaccine could allow us to emerge from restrictions earlier than any other major Western nation. It would represent a remarkable, unexpectedly triumphant conclusion to an otherwise desperate tale, and it would reboot Johnson’s premiership. For that, we need the Prime Minister to start gambling again, just like the old Boris used to relish. He must bet the state’s resources on an inoculation race, and plan for the earliest possible, Big Bang reopening, once all vulnerable people who want to be have been vaccinated. On that day, all social distancing and restrictive measures would be lifted in one fell swoop, and all emergency rules ended.

2. Eric Posner in the New York Times

on not jumping the gun

Why prosecuting Trump is a very bad idea

“The president is the prosecutor’s boss, and while his authority is not limitless, there is no recognized legal standard for distinguishing ‘obstruction’ of a case by a president that is legitimate (like President Barack Obama’s refusal to allow investigations of George W. Bush-era torturers) from that which is illegal. So if Mr. Trump is prosecuted for obstruction of justice, a judge will be required to decide for the first time ever whether the president’s constitutional authority supersedes a statute that is not even clearly directed at the president (as opposed to private citizens). In such cases, courts would normally duck this question by interpreting the statute narrowly so as not to apply to a president.”

3. Ethan Siegel in Forbes

on experts

Should you explain to an expert why their professional opinion is wrong?

“Sometimes, of course, even the best experts are mistaken. Sometimes, the best evidence points to one conclusion, but then new evidence comes along that throws that conclusion into doubt. And sometimes, a brilliant outsider or newcomer can emerge in a field, showing a new and superior path forward in our understanding of whatever we’re investigating. But most of the time — practically all of the time — there are serious gaps and fundamental misunderstandings at work in the knowledge and mindset of the non-expert, not an oversight or an error on the part of the expert.”

4. Michael Bociurkiw in CNN

on Canada’s delay

Justin Trudeau didn't foresee this potentially catastrophic political crisis

“To put things in perspective, for months Canadians have looked on at the US in horror as the Trump administration fumbled the initial pandemic response to become the world's number one hotspot. Until recently, we'd managed to keep our numbers relatively low. While the US has had over 4,000 cases per 100,000 people, Canada has had just over 1,000. At the same time, we were being assured by a confident Prime Minister that we will soon see the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’. We've been led to believe we were lucky and well-positioned to emerge from the pandemic early. Although Canada expects around 6 million vaccines by the end of the first quarter of 2021, they will quickly be consumed by ‘high priority groups’ such as frontline health workers and the most vulnerable. How did this delay happen?”

5. Nadine Shah in The Guardian

on musicians in the time of Covid

Music streaming makes major labels rich, while musicians like me go broke

“The pandemic obliterated festivals and gigs, meaning we were forced to survive on streaming income alone. As a cocky northern lass, I thought I’d be OK: ‘C’mon Nadine, you’ll be all right, you’ve been nominated for a bloody Mercury prize, you’ve over 100,000 monthly Spotify listeners. You’ll make the rent.’ I was foolish. The situation was such that I temporarily had to move back in with my parents over the summer. Not the worst thing to happen, but still not a great look for a thirtysomething pop star. Like most of my musician friends who rely on gigs, I found myself in dire straits. (If only I actually were in Dire Straits.)”

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