Instant Opinion: ‘Let’s welcome the death of the political tribe’

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Monday 11 November


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

1. Clare Foges in The Times

on switching your vote

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Let’s welcome the death of the political tribe

“Together, two things that may be undesirable in the short term — national divisions over Brexit and Jeremy Corbyn’s disastrous leadership — are achieving something highly desirable in the long term. They are eroding the idea that your background, income, profession or age should mean you belong to a party for life. Thanks to Brexit’s furies and Labour’s fantasy economics, the bonds of political tribe are finally wearing away. How refreshing this is, and how long overdue, for when political parties feel they ‘own’ blocs of voters, unhealthy things happen.”

2. Nick Timothy in The Daily Telegraph

on the Brexit Party’s electoral strategy

Nigel Farage has tragically turned into the Frodo Baggins of Brexit

“Some who know [Farage] believe – after years of being despised, ignored or patronised by senior Tories – he has a pathological determination to destroy the Conservative Party. But others insist he is motivated much more by ego. Drunk on his own publicity, and surrounded by sycophants, he is incapable of taking yes for an answer. And so he keeps campaigning for a ‘real Brexit’, even though in so doing he risks destroying the real Brexit that Boris is trying to deliver.”

3. Nesrine Malik in The Guardian

on party prejudice

When it comes to Islamophobia, Tory eyes are still wide shut

“The leaders of the Conservative party have decided that the perception that the Conservatives have a problem with Muslims – whether real or imagined – is one they can live with. The decision to pull the Islamophobia inquiry in favour of a vague look into “all types” of prejudice isn’t a sign that the party thinks this problem doesn’t exist; it’s an indication that they think it’s a problem they can afford to have. This realisation is far more alarming than the fact that the country’s ruling party is tolerant or dismissive of prejudice. For it is possible to conclude definitively that the British people do not care about Muslims enough for Tory apathy on the issue to cause any further damage to the Conservative brand.”

4. John Rentoul in The Independent

on polling

Opinion polls are important, but letting them dictate election coverage is a dangerous game

“It is possible that some of what happened last time will happen this time – that Labour support will firm up as the moment of decision approaches. And the wide range of outcomes shows how sensitive seat projections are to changes in shares of the vote. On the other hand, it is possible that people are, once again, fighting the last war, and over-correcting for the mistakes they made last time. I am all for treating the election as if it is wide open, and think it is democratic and right to hold Corbyn to account as if he were a serious contender to be prime minister. But it has to be acknowledged that, at this stage, the evidence suggests that Johnson is likely to win.”

5. The Financial Times Editorial Board

on public service broadcasting

The BBC needs to adapt to the new media world

“The BBC’s role as an ambassador — both through the World Service and more intangibly as a beacon for UK creative industries — should also not be underestimated. The BBC will fight to remain a large monolithic organisation, big enough to take on commercial rivals. But the digital world is moving too fast to assume structures that worked in the past are right for the future. Reform is needed in order to preserve.”

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