Instant Opinion

‘Call it what it was: a coup attempt’

Your digest of analysis and commentary from the British and international press

1

Rebecca Solnit in The Guardian

Call it what it was: a coup attempt

on the Capitol Hill siege

“The Trumps and their loyalists in office will disavow the worst of what happened and pretend to be surprised by it and continue feeding it. Conversation about what’s been happening over the past several months has often bought into the false binary that either we have a successful coup, in which they steal the election, or we have a failed coup, but there is something insidious in-between: the delegitimization of the democratic process and the incoming administration. In this in-between state, Trump supporters continue to regard their leader and themselves as above the law and entitled to enforce it however they see fit, on the basis of whatever facts they most enjoy having.”

2

Paul Mason in the New Statesman

The Covid deniers have been humiliated but they are still dangerous

on the consequences of false claims

“The final circle has to be reserved for prominent lockdown sceptics such as Toby Young, Allison Pearson, Laurence Fox, Julia Hartley-Brewer and Peter Hitchens: celebrity right-wing opinion formers with no scientific credentials and nothing to lose, apart from missing a few right-wing cocktail parties. It is thanks to them, and their media backers, that the Tory handling of the pandemic has lurched from incompetence and hubris to catastrophic mismanagement. The result is that more people will die than necessary because this metropolitan clique of elites put forth falsehoods and misinterpretations.”

3

Allister Heath in The Daily Telegraph

Covid has again exposed the fragility of our precious, decadent West

on the next disaster

“What will happen if the next pandemic is much more lethal, or if it kills children rather than the elderly? What if a cyberattack takes out communications and electricity in a major Western capital city, and food and water supplies run out? Or when the great quantitative easing experiment finally implodes? At some point, a rogue nation will detonate a nuclear weapon, or assassinate a world leader, Franz Ferdinand style, or there will be a far more significant accident than Fukushima. How could our decadent societies handle any of this? Simply seeking to muddle through, as we did with the virus, would guarantee Armageddon.”

4

Max Hastings in The Times

We turn our backs on the UN at our peril

on good old-fashioned diplomacy

“An argument can be made - is made by conservatives on both sides of the Atlantic - that in the age of zoom calls, CNN, leader-to-leader dialogue, old-fashioned diplomacy has become irrelevant, the purlieu of wet liberals. Moreover, the credibility of the UN Security Council is nullified, in the eyes of much of the world, by the fact that its five permanent members - China, France, Russia, the UK and US - remain those of the old 1945 order: no Arab nations, Africans, Japan, India, Germany nor even the EU. Yet for all history’s great failures of diplomacy - think 1914 or, more recently, UN passivity during the 1994 Rwandan genocides - some of us who earn our corn as historians believe passionately in the value of the talking-shops in which diplomats peddle their wares.”

5

Matthew d'Ancona for the London Evening Standard

The education mess puts the burden on parents — schools must adapt too

on the PM flunking another test

“This particular fiasco could certainly have been avoided... It has been obvious since the autumn, as infection rates began to spike once more, that no equitable system of standardised examinations was going to be sensible, useful or fair this summer — and it would have been both statesmanlike and merciful to admit as much well before Christmas, leaving time for candidates, teachers and universities (which use grades for admissions) to prepare for an alternative system in 2021.”

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