Instant Opinion: ‘Hong Kong is a flashpoint in the new cold war’

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Tuesday 30 July


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

1. Gideon Rachman in the Financial Times

on how politics has usurped economics around the world

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Hong Kong is a flashpoint in the new cold war

“In the boom years of globalisation, Hong Kong was always said to be the epitome of a commercial city whose citizens cared little for politics, as long as they could buy, sell and shop. But, across the world, the period when economic concerns always seemed to override politics is over. Once again, Hong Kong is at the forefront of a new era.”

2. Phil Burton-Cartledge in The Independent

on the left-right divide

Many would have you believe the working class is reactionary and right wing – but this research disproves that

“Those in a precarious and poor position tend to respond to politics that try addressing their position, hence why working class people tend to vote Labour in greater numbers than other parties. And those with property or well-paying jobs are concerned about keeping hold of their economic advantages, which is why they are likelier to respond to parties that whip up fear and promise to defend them. Which tend to be right and centre right parties. It is these facts, much more than the dichotomy often constructed between liberal, multicultural city dwellers and the socially conservative ‘left behind’, that help us to explain our society’s extreme polarisation.”

3. Melanie Phillips in The Times

on the Duchess of Sussex’s guest editorship

Meghan’s ‘woke’ Vogue is shallow and divisive

“Meghan’s virtue-signalling is all about boasting. It flaunts the signaller’s credentials as a morally virtuous person. It screams ‘Me! Me! Me!’ It’s all too fitting, then, that the 16th image on the cover is a mirror in which readers can see . . . themselves. This is supposedly to ‘encourage them to use their own platforms to effect change’. Thus egotism is clothed as altruism. Not all on the duchess’s list is risible. Some of the causes promoted by her choices are worthy enough. Ultimately, though, this is all about self-promotion and a chronic absence of self-awareness. The duchess risks becoming a figure of derision. One might guess that the Queen is not amused.”

4. Andy Cook in The Daily Telegraph

on drug legalisation

Ignore our London-centric political classes – cannabis legalisation is still a terrible idea

“While wealthy Londoners seek to expand their ever-growing liberties, it is more likely to be the single parent on the housing estate who will have to raise her three children in the fug of a neighbour’s habit, than those pushing for change.”

5. Sophia Money-Coutts in the London Evening Standard

on 21st century etiquette

Sofa or couch, napkin or serviette and a washroom dilemma — good manners are more than language

“Good manners nowadays boil down to this very simple commandment: don’t be a dick. Don’t be mean. Don’t make someone else feel small for how they wield their cutlery or speak. Don’t bolster your own sense of middle-class insecurity by telling someone off for saying ‘toilet’. But don’t tell anyone on Twitter, will you, because I can’t face the row.”

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