Instant Opinion: Brexit Britain can be built on the ‘Microsoft model’

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

1. Robert Shrimsley in the Financial Times

on defining the UK’s global role

Brexit Britain adopts the Microsoft model

“Leaving the EU is a hit to its clout. But Brexit is now a fact. As a Nato and UN Security Council member, G7 economy and nuclear power, the UK still matters. The new role, to be set out in the imminent security and foreign policy review, draws on Brexiters’ twin belief in UK exceptionalism but also that leaving the EU was the shock therapy needed to make a sluggish economy more competitive. In Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s words, the UK is ‘a nation that is now on its mettle’. There is a model for a once-mighty empire, eclipsed by newer powers, finding a way to rise again. It is not a country, but a company: Microsoft. Crunched between Apple and Google, Microsoft switched from a failing strategy of desktop domination to services built around customers. For Brexit Britain, the Microsoft model is instructive.”

2. Chris Cillizza on CNN

on the Trump-Biden head-to-head

3 reasons why the final presidential debate (still) might not happen

“In Trump we have the least predictable president ever. He is a showman and a provocateur first and foremost. He does things to elicit a reaction. And that’s especially true right now as Trump faces the likelihood that he is going to lose in 15 days. There is literally nothing that I can’t fathom Trump trying between now and November 3 in order to win — or to make people believe that everything was rigged against him. And Trump’s campaign has already attacked the Commission, which is chaired by former Republican National Committee Chairman Frank Fahrenkopf, as ‘swamp monsters and partisan, anti-Trump[ers].’ Do you really think, given all we know about Trump and all he and his campaign have said about the debates and the organization that runs them, that him walking away from the debate at the last minute is an impossibility?”

3. Tom Kibasi in The Guardian

on dealing with pandemic debt

Austerity is a zombie ideology. It’s time to bury it once and for all

“Now more than ever, it is vital that government spending is used to prevent normally viable firms from going bust, to avoid the scourge of mass unemployment and its lasting scars, and to support the public sector at a time when its importance has been thrown into sharp relief. The public and the capital markets all recognise that it is the right thing to do. Cutting back on expenditure now will not only impose misery on millions but will also mean a longer and slower recovery. Britain has made that costly mistake once in the past decade: the recovery after the financial crisis was the slowest return to pre-recession output since the second world war. We know that austerity is an economic mistake as well as a social disaster. It is vital that government keeps spending.”

4. Yanna Krupnikov and John Barry Ryan in The New York Times

on who is watching the election

The Real Divide in America Is Between Political Junkies and Everyone Else

“Hard partisans are also more likely to speak out about these political likes and dislikes. Almost 45 percent of people who are deeply involved say they frequently share their views on social media — in some cases, daily. It’s only 11 percent for those without a politics habit. To put this in perspective, a Pew study finds that 10 percent of Twitter users are responsible for 97 percent of all tweets about politics. This gap between the politically indifferent and hard, loud partisans exacerbates the perception of a hopeless division in American politics because it is the partisans who define what it means to engage in politics. When a Democrat imagines a Republican, she is not imagining a co-worker who mostly posts cat pictures and happens to vote differently; she is more likely imagining a co-worker she had to mute on Facebook because the Trump posts became too hard to bear.”

5. William Hague in The Daily Telegraph

on another cost of lockdown

Depriving young people of the great outdoors is an utter tragedy

“Do we actually need to stop young people who are at little risk of serious illness from being out together in the mountains and on the sea? And even if we accept there is some risk to the adults who supervise them, can’t we trust them to minimise that risk while maintaining their remarkable work? Of course, with the current resurgence of Covid, and the intense debates about local lockdowns and circuit-breakers, opening up this vital sector will not be on the minds of political leaders. But the day will come soon when there is sufficient confidence in new, quicker tests to allow for people to be told about things they can do rather than always hearing of what they can’t. In the coming weeks, outdoor education and training should be ranked as a necessary part of keeping schooling going, and be allowed to open up as much as the change of season permits.”



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