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 Schuman in Politico
on the elephant in the room
Why China’s Xi Jinping is the world’s most dangerous man
“It’s all too easy to blame Donald Trump for the upheaval in current affairs. The U.S. president’s trade wars and hostility toward multilateral institutions are highly visible challenges to the international order that has prevailed since the end of World War II. Perhaps of greater consequence, but less obvious, are the fundamental changes taking place in China, where President Xi Jinping has similarly veered dramatically from the core principles that governed the country’s political, economic and foreign policies for decades, taking it in a startling new direction.”
2. Michael Deacon in The Telegraph
on a former Labour leader
From seven-stone weakling to strutting muscleman… it’s the incredible return of Ed Miliband
“With Sir Keir Starmer forced into self-isolation at the last minute, after a family member was required to take a Covid test, Mr Miliband took the Labour leader’s place at the dispatch box this evening. Boris Johnson, no doubt, was thanking his lucky stars. He was facing a tough enough night as it was, with Tory MPs threatening to rebel against his controversial new plan for Brexit. So the last thing he needed was a stringent cross-examination from Sir Keir. Weedy Mr Miliband, by contrast, would be a doddle. So Mr Johnson must have assumed, at any rate. That is not, however, the way it turned out. Quite the contrary. Instead, the Commons goggled, befuddled, as the most improbable metamorphosis began to take place. It was like watching a live-action version of a Charles Atlas ad. Before MPs’ very eyes, Mr Miliband appeared to be transforming from seven-stone weakling to strutting muscleman.”
3. Former prime minister Gordon Brown in The Guardian
on the government’s lack of foresight
To lead Britain through a crisis, you have to be able to see beyond it
“I fear that those responsible – having misspent millions on contracts for serially ineffective initiatives – have given too little thought to what also matters in the days ahead: engineering the long-term recovery. Investing now – to save good companies and prevent the destruction of capacity and the loss of key jobs and skills for good – means following Germany and France by maintaining furlough payments in key sectors, preferably with a wage subsidy for part-time work, and with the backstop offer of retraining during absence from the workplace. And, where workers have to stay at home to avoid the spread of infections during the inevitable increase of pandemic-related local lockdowns, the support available to them has to feed their families, which today’s miserly £90 a week does not.”
4. Ian Hamilton in The Independent
on healthcare priorities
Instead of picking a fight with GPs, NHS bosses should focus on ways to reform primary care
“The worst way to try and persuade a group or individual to change is by threatening them, but this doesn’t seem to have put off senior NHS England officials when they sent a letter to all GP practices in England reminding them of their duty to offer face to face appointments – or else. Whatever senior NHS official came up with this idea had clearly not attended the training on how to motivate your staff. Senior NHS staff should have learned by now that in any skirmish with doctors there is always one winner, doctors. Successive governments and health ministers have taken on medics at their peril. The founding father of the NHS, Aneurin Bevan, famously said that he only achieved his goal of establishing the NHS by ‘stuffing the doctors’ mouths with gold’.”
5. Nazia Kazi in Al Jazeera
on more of the same
Islamophobia in the US presidential election
“Islamophobia is often mistakenly defined as anti-Muslim bigotry. But a better definition of Islamophobia would be systemic racism, ie, not a matter of individual attitudes. Thus, harassment or negative media portrayals of Muslims are symptoms of Islamophobia which is, at its core, rooted in practices of the state. When defined this way, it does not matter whether Obama hosts a Ramadan dinner or if Hillary Clinton gives a Muslim man a prime speaking spot at the Democratic National Convention. It does not matter if George W Bush urges Americans to love their Muslims neighbours. In shoring up the most egregious aspects of US empire-building, the American political elite remains undeniably Islamophobic. When defined this way, it is evident: both sides of the 2020 presidential ballot promise an undeniable extension of American Islamophobia.”
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