The Week’s daily round-up highlights the five best opinion pieces from across the British and international media, with excerpts from each.
1. Mark Johnson in City A.M.
on Covid coersion
“A difficult period looms. The new measures criminalise family meetings, deny individuals the freedom of assembly, prevent religious ceremonies from taking place, and give the police the power to impose hefty fines upon members of the public who are deemed to be in breach of the rules. In an attempt to galvanise national unity, politicians throughout the crisis have lauded the ‘sacrifices made by the British people’. But where a sacrifice would imply the undertaking of a voluntary act of selflessness, the reality is that the government’s whole approach to compliance with its coronavirus restrictions has been based around coercion.”
2. Saira Rao in HuffPost
on US voter demographics
“You donned pink pussy hats, you wrote postcards, you made signs, you feverishly Facebooked and Instagrammed, you marched here, there, everywhere. We could barely look left or right without seeing you fists pumped into the sky, megaphones on high. You protested for science. You decried misogyny. You absolutely adored Black Lives Matter, blanketing your yard with signs, your wardrobe with T-shirts, your nightstands with so many anti-racism books, even Amazon had trouble satiating your voracious appetite. You went so far as to use a black square as your social media profile pic for a day. And then on election day, this past Tuesday, you hopped off your Peloton, dusted off all those unread books, pulled on a well-worn social justice T-shirt and marched to the polling station. And you checked that box for Trump. Again.”
3. Marwan Bishara in Al Jazeera
on a prime minister without allies
“[Joe] Biden could deny the embattled Israeli premier any of the customary support and courtesy afforded to Israeli leaders. And he may not tolerate any of the prime minister’s humiliating outbursts or hostile criticisms, which became his habit during the Obama era. Likewise, Biden could reject Netanyahu’s unilateral moves in Palestine, or in the region, if they are illegal and are made without prior coordination with Washington. So, in short, Biden could make the coming months debilitating, inhibiting, and outright humiliating for the Israeli prime minister. He may even turn his back on Netanyahu and make him persona non grata at the White House.”
4. Eliza Filby in Unherd
on a germophobic generation
“I’ve definitely noticed little changes in my son’s behaviour over the past month. Largely harmless, they reveal the imprint of this pandemic on his still-emerging character. He puts on his mask when he plays shops and now scrubs his hands with a nail brush, talking about germs. I once assumed it was impossible to impose hygiene standards and social distancing rules on toddlers, but as Natasha Rawdon-Rego, founder of Wimbledon’s Oak Nursery, attests, her children have adapted — perhaps too well. ‘It is almost like they police each other,’ she says. The physical freedom of being a toddler is being restrained and they are becoming enthusiastic enforcers. One friend’s toddler will protest when she sees crowds on TV, or people hugging; another arranges her dolls into small groups so they are appropriately spaced. When organisations like the Beavers issue Covid Codes of Conduct for children aged six to sign, it’s surely time to question the value and legitimacy of all this.”
5. Edward Lucas in The Times
on thwarting China
“Twenty tonnes of live lobsters facing death at Shanghai airport are the first casualties. But far more is at stake. The Chinese Communist Party wants to punish resistance and quell criticism everywhere in the world. Australia is the first target. If the attack succeeds, others will be next. The immediate cause of the row is Australia’s call in April for an international inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. The thin-skinned Chinese leadership treats awkward questions and nosy outsiders as a national security threat. It demanded that Australia back down, driving home the ultimatum with escalating difficulties for Australian exporters, such as the metal-content tests that have doomed the hapless lobsters this week.”