Instant Opinion: ‘Collapse of home ownership affects us all’

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Thursday 8 August


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

1. James Marriot in The Times

on Britain’s real dividing line

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Collapse of home ownership affects us all

“It’s hardly surprising that the seminal dividing line in British politics is now age not class. Older voters are more likely to own their own homes and lean towards the Tories. Younger voters have an unpleasant monthly reminder of the sharp side of capitalism every time they pay their rent. Unsurprisingly, they favour Labour. This should worry the Conservatives. Property ownership has long been a useful conveyer belt for the party, transporting a regular tranche of voters from the indigent socialism of youth to the comfortable conservatism of middle age. But now that machine has broken down. How do you sell capitalism to a generation with no capital?”

2. Andrew Grice in The Independent

on electoral pacts

The Tories can’t discredit the allure of a Labour-SNP pact this time – Brexit has made Scottish independence far too attractive

“No doubt Team Boris will soon warn that the billions he would spend on transport projects in the north of England would be diverted to Scotland. It could boost his campaign to target 2016 Leave-voting seats held by Labour. Yet the Tories should not assume they have a magic bullet. A lot has changed since 2015. Warning about a ‘coalition of chaos’ would look pretty rich to some voters after the chaos of Tory rule since 2016, including a ‘regressive alliance’ with the Democratic Unionist Party and a £1bn bung for Northern Ireland to seal the deal.”

3. James O’Shaughnessy and Will Tanner in The Daily Telegraph

on what British voters really want

To win an election, Boris Johnson must forget freedom – people want security instead

“For the last 60 years, the UK has experienced a long bull run of freedom-expanding politics. From Roy Jenkins’s reforms to divorce, abortion and the death penalty in the 60s to Margaret Thatcher's economic reforms of the 1980s and Tony Blair social policies of the 00s, we have been living in an increasingly liberal society. The themes of throwing off the shackles and abandoning tradition have dominated political discourse. But our research at Onward suggests, in Jim Callaghan’s famous words, a sea change is taking place. Liberty is no longer the guiding principle for voters; by a ratio of 2-to-1, the 5,000 people we polled are looking for a society that focuses on giving people more security rather than more freedom. Our research suggests a widespread feeling that perhaps choice and autonomy have gone too far, and that voters are looking for stronger community and a sense of belonging instead.”

4. Jenny McCartney in UnHerd

on the UK’s legal system

The Kafkaesque nightmare of British justice

“Our legal system is the ultimate guarantor of individual liberty. It should be the last line of protection against the arbitrary persecution of the state, individual malice, and the passing mores or prejudices of wider society. The law should be broadly immune to contagious emotions or fashionable ideology. Today, legal independence seems more necessary than ever, as the shifting traps of judgement and taste that are laid by social media – the complex blurring of private and public life – can have life-altering consequences for the unwary.”

5. Zachary B. Wolf in CNN

on the US domestic terrorism

Democrats and the FBI say white extremism is a huge problem. Trump disagrees.

“The issue of gun violence has divided Americans along political lines for decades and will continue to do so, but white extremism is jumping to the forefront of the political conversation in a new way: Democrats say it's a crisis that needs to be addressed immediately while President Donald Trump and some pundits appear to believe there is no problem at all.”

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