Instant Opinion: ‘Chicken shop knife-crime campaign would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic’

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Friday 16th 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. Coco Khan in The Guardian

On the Home Office PR blunder

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The chicken shop knife-crime campaign would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic

“After their 2013 “Go Home” vans, a campaign so ill-conceived and prejudicial it had to be withdrawn after public outcry, you’d think the Home Office would have learned its lesson. But alas! … It is unclear to me if this campaign is a Sajid Javid number, or a Priti Patel stroke of insanity, though if we needed any further evidence that brown skin does not equate to anti-racism, surely this is it. Indeed, if these wealthy Asians have been into a chicken shop in their adult life, it was surely as a dare and they probably asked for cutlery.”

2. Toby Young and Rev G.P. Taylor in The Daily Telegraph

A vicar and an atheist battle it out

Debate: should all faith schools be banned?

“It is divisive to educate children along such fundamental lines, this leads to religious, ethnic and socio-economic segregation. Faith schools are seen by some as educational apartheid. I agree. There is no place for them in a diverse community,” says Rev GP Taylor.

“The freedom of parents to send their children to faith schools is a basic human right… [Banning faith schools] would be tantamount to the state imposing a secular belief system on all but a tiny minority of children and just as illiberal as the state insisting that all schools should be Christian,” says Toby Young.

3. Nicholas Farrell in The Spectator

In praise of Italy’s far-right deputy prime minister

The secret of Matteo Salvini’s success

“Salvini - known as ‘Il Capitano’ - has proved a man of action, able to stop NGO charity ships ferrying illegal immigrants across the Mediterranean from Libya by banning them from docking in Italian ports. This was his do-or-die electoral pledge, and he delivered. He has also turned out to be surprisingly popular with Italian businesspeople, with his pledges of Trumpian tax cuts and infrastructure spending. He wants Italy to borrow more and doesn’t care much about EU deficit rules that would stop him.”

4. Michael D’Antonio for CNN

On how to hurt Trump

The best way to drive Trump nuts

“Linger on Fifth Avenue between 56th and 57th streets and you just might hear the chuckling: some locals want to rename a few long blocks of the avenue after President Barack Obama... Renaming that stretch of Fifth Avenue is just about perfect trolling, because it hits Trump square in the ego. Nothing matters more to him than attention, and it’s a good bet that he has often thought about how he would hold on to the spotlight in the future. Given his reluctance to read, a Trump presidential library would be a bust, but I wouldn’t doubt that he’s measured Mount Rushmore to see if his loose chin and swoop of hair could be accommodated next to Honest Abe.”

5. Richard J. Evans in The Guardian

On the attack on protesters at Manchester’s St Peter’s Fields 200 years ago this week

Peterloo was the massacre that led to a new democratic era

“The crowds at Peterloo were ultimately placing their faith in the power of Parliament to represent the people once its archaic constitution had been amended. That power needs defending more than ever now, at a time when it is threatened by an unelected prime minister who shows every sign of wanting to push through an unpopular and immensely damaging policy without its consent.”

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