Instant Opinion: ‘London must thrive if we all want to prosper’

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Monday 27 January


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 London bashing

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London must thrive if we all want to prosper

“Gradually, London-loathing has become an acceptable prejudice. Yet what plays to the gallery isn’t always what is best for the country. London is the goose that lays the golden eggs: 13 per cent of the national population generating a quarter of GDP. Its full contribution is not easily captured in numbers, though. It is about energy and atmosphere, and the kind of people that attracts. For high-growth industries to succeed we need entrepreneurs and tech geniuses to flock here. In luring them we are vying against New York, Shanghai, Tokyo. These people want the panoply of experiences that only a megacity can provide: the numerous arty districts, the restaurants specialising in Mongolian cuisine, the pop-ups offering a shoe-shine while you sip an espresso martini, the dozens of different villages stitched together by a world-class Tube network. We need these people — and to attract them we need London to dazzle and its transport system to purr.”

2. John Harris in The Guardian

on keeping up with the times

Labour is stuck in the last century. Its adversaries have seized the future

“There is a modern version of this problem, bound up with a combination of old-fashioned statism, Labour’s increasingly middle-class makeup, and the way the left’s focus on the politics of attitudes and behaviour sometimes teeters into shrill intolerance, not least online. By comparison, Conservatism’s eternal promise is that its supporters will be left alone. Millions of people will always vote for that – not just because it represents a quieter life, but because it chimes with the internet age: the fact that people now have a voice, and don’t like being told what to do, or who to be.”

3. Tom Welsh in The Daily Telegraph

on paying more

We voted for a tax-cutting Tory party, not for raising the burden by stealth

“Ever since the election, the wet, one-time Mayite wing of the party has pushed the narrative that the Conservatives only won because they ‘moderated’ their economic message. It is a narrative that has been amplified by the liberal-Left media, who never miss an opportunity to proclaim the moral superiority of high taxes and a larger state. It is also deeply flawed. Fine, austerity has been abandoned, replaced by a willingness to spend big on infrastructure projects and some public services. But where is the overwhelming evidence – even among ‘Red Wall’ voters – of this newfound enthusiasm for tax increases?”

4. Ivan Krastev in the Financial Times

on democracy and demography

Depopulation is eastern Europe’s biggest problem

“Might there be a connection between the twin crises of democracy and demography? Rather than viewing rising illiberalism in central and eastern Europe as the inevitable return of atavistic nationalism and authoritarianism, it might instead be understood as something new: an attempt to preserve the power of shrinking ethnocultural majorities in the face of population decline and increased migration.”

5. Ralph Jones in The Independent

on updating religion

The sex-obsessed Church of England is digging its own grave

“Why have young people been stampeding away from the church in recent years? It isn’t just that God doesn’t exist, though that is a pretty big blow. It’s also that the church, cosseted in a bubble of ritual and song, is so astonishingly blind to the way that people actually live. People don’t change, but society does.”

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