Instant Opinion: ‘Relax. Joe Biden will be sworn in’

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

1. Edward B. Foley in The Washington Post

on the maths behind the madness

Relax. Biden will be sworn in Jan. 20

“Biden has passed a magic number – not 270, but 50: that is, 50 votes in the Senate to officially declare him the winner when Congress meets in a special joint session on Jan. 6. The number is 50, not 51, because one of the two Georgia Senate seats will be empty on Jan. 6 — the runoff to fill that seat is being held just the day before. The other Georgia Senate seat, although also in a runoff, involves a special election for an unexpired term; as a result, Sen. Kelly Loeffler will still be a sitting senator on Jan. 6. So, Biden needs 50 of 99 Senate votes for any electoral college question that might arise. Voting that day will be 48 Democrats and 51 Republicans. That Republican majority shouldn’t be a problem.”

2. Ian Dunt on Politics.co.uk

on incompetence in the time of Covid

No.10 chaos: Small people for serious times

“It’s very boring, like a Greek tragedy written by donkeys. This type of soap opera usually gets political reporters really rather excited, but in truth there’s no content to it. That’s the remarkable element to all this. There’s not the slightest whiff of principle, or conviction, or genuinely held opinion. It is just pure power games. This is not about Brexit, or covid, or even the strategic decisions which might go into pursuing those issues. Just factional manoeuvring without an underlying purpose, the ego freed from the skull. It is remarkable that Cain is able to resign at all. He has been in charge of communications – arguably the most inept aspect of the government’s performance, although admittedly it is a competitive field. Month after month, the government fails to communicate its message, often on issues of supreme significance.”

3. Tsedale Lemma in The New York Times

on conflict in the cradle of mankind

What’s happening in Ethiopia is a tragedy

“Then in September, the Tigray region went ahead with its elections, in defiance of the government’s orders. Since that act of subversion, tensions between the government and the leaders in Tigray, simmering for two years, have been high. Last week, they spilled out into open conflict. Whether or not it escalates into a civil war, it will leave an indelible mark on Ethiopian politics. What was already a deeply polarized country will become more divided still. But most importantly, it could crush the hopes of a democratic transition. Free speech, civil liberties and due process may fall afoul of the turn to militarism and repression.”

4. Paul Moses on CNN

on reopening dark chapters

The disturbing truths in the new Vatican scandal report

“As a Catholic, I long ago uneasily made my peace with the knowledge that too many church leaders who preached a Christian message I regard as sacred may themselves be deeply flawed, deceitful or corrupt. The release Tuesday of a Vatican report filled with the sordid details of former Archbishop of Washington Theodore McCarrick’s rise and fall doesn’t so much tear at my faith as give hope that the Holy See is finally learning to come clean with the truth. This is so even though the report convincingly details how then-Pope and now St. John Paul II, who died in 2005, promoted McCarrick despite being very much aware of allegations that he was a predator who had sexually manipulated and abused seminarians.”

5. Gwendolyn Smith in The i

on a botched tribute

The naked Mary Wollstonecraft sculpture is powerfully unifying – every woman simply hates it

“Alas, the statue’s aim was not to unite the sisterhood in loathing but to redress the lack of monuments of women and to give Wollstonecraft long overdue recognition. Good there’s time to give that ideas meeting another shot, eh? Oh, wait. The nakedness is, unsurprisingly, the main problem. The monument is supposed to stimulate debate, but I fear that thanks to Hambling’s curiously angular figure, the first question that will leap to minds is: why does her mons pubis jut out so alarmingly? I don’t know for sure, but I have an inkling that is not the dream legacy for feminist pioneers.”



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