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Instant Opinion: Keir Starmer must offer more than ‘not being Jeremy Corbyn’
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The Week UK
London · 3 weeks ago

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Monday 13 July

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The Week Staff

Monday, July 13, 2020 - 2:20pm

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

1. Tom Harris in The Daily Telegraph

on the first 100 days of the Labour leader

After 100 days, Keir Starmer needs to offer voters more than ‘not being Jeremy Corbyn’

“The improvements he has made to his party’s – and his own – standing are real and important. That he has made mistakes along the way should hardly surprise anyone, although he needs to make fewer of them if he is to establish himself as a natural repository of anti-government support. Electorates have a nasty habit of making judgments about politicians in the very first few weeks of their tenure, and then refusing to reverse that judgment. The Covid lockdown may have given Starmer a longer period to bed in and might even allow him to have an effective relaunch on the other side of this crisis. From the perspective of a former member, Starmer represents a breath of fresh air for most Labour supporters after five fraught years. But a sense of relief won’t be enough for all those red wall voters, because – and I speak from experience – once you get out of the habit of voting Labour, it’s harder than you might expect to get back into it.”

2. Nesrine Malik in The Guardian

in defence of those decried as ‘online mobs’

The ‘cancel culture’ war is really about old elites losing power in the social media age

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What is cancel culture? “Whenever I talk to people who are suddenly concerned about ‘cancel culture’ or ‘online mobs’, my first thought is always: ‘Where have you been for the last decade?’ I’ve been online long enough and, like many others, been receiving criticism and abuse online for long enough, to know that what some see as a new pattern of virtual censure by moral purists is mostly a story about the internet, not ideology or identity. If critics of ‘cancel culture’ are worried about opinions, posts and writings being constantly patrolled by a growing group of haters, then I am afraid they are extremely late to the party. I cannot remember a time where I have written or posted anything without thinking: ‘How many ways can this possibly be misconstrued, and can I defend it if it were?’ It’s not even a conscious thought process now, it’s instinct.”

3. Sean O’Grady in The Independent

on the recovery of the British economy

Forget global Britain - thanks to Brexit, coronavirus and a trade war with China, we’re losing our grip

“There’s something heroic about Britain trying to chuck its weight around this way, and of course no one wants to do business with bullies and tyrants. But still, if the British economy is going to recover from the coronavirus-induced recession and go on to grow in the 2020s it will need its friends and its markets, and the British now seem to intent on blanking virtually everyone. The opportunities seem to be contracting rather than expanding. As everyone agrees, the UK is a great trading nation, and since before the industrial revolution has made its living from selling abroad, but the we don’t seem to be living up to the original hopes of ‘unleashing Britain’s potential’.”

4. John Prideaux, US editor of The Economist, in The Times

on an abolitionist deserving of a pedestal

A slavery statue we can all agree on: Frederick Douglass

“On both sides of the Atlantic a great debate about statues is under way. So far the focus has mostly been on which lumps of bronze and marble should be removed by crane, or pushed into the harbour. There has been less discussion of what to do with all the empty plinths this creates. Yet putting up statues is fun. It is an opportunity to honour someone who should be universally admired and, therefore, to make a statement about what the society doing the putting up values. For those reasons Britain ought to have a statue of America’s greatest campaigner for the abolition of slavery, Frederick Douglass. Douglass had such an extraordinary life that the three autobiographies he wrote hardly seem sufficient.”

5. Nick Akerman, an assistant special prosecutor on the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, in The New York Times

on the unfair fight set up for the special prosecutor

Did Mueller Ever Stand a Chance Against Trump and Roger Stone?

“From the start, Mr. Mueller was restrained by Justice Department regulations. He was barred, for example, from looking into the broader relationship between Mr. Trump and Russia through a review of Mr. Trump’s financial records and tax returns. Furthermore, according to the Mueller report, Mr. Trump made multiple attempts to fire the special counsel, and it is difficult, if not almost impossible, to conduct an investigation under those circumstances... Looking ahead, there needs to be a better mechanism in extraordinary circumstances - like Watergate and Russian interference in the 2016 election - that allows for the appointment of a truly independent special prosecutor. We were lucky to get the Mueller report, but Mr. Mueller was acting under restraints. Unfortunately history tells us that we will need special counsels in the years ahead, under extraordinary circumstances, and like we did with Watergate, that office should have true independence to protect our country and Constitution.”

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https://www.theweek.co.uk/instant-opinion/107510/keir-starmer-100-days-offer-more-than-not-being-jeremy-corbyn #world_news
The Week UK
London · 3 weeks ago
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