US Press: pick of the papers

The ten must-read opinion pieces from today's US papers.

1. 7 billion thirsts, and not enough drinkable water (Detroit Free Press)

On this threshold day, our greatest global challenge is figuring out how to get more people greater access to the planet's most precious resource, writes this editorial.

2. The battle of military suicides (Boston Globe)

The Veterans Administration estimates that a veteran dies by suicide every 80 minutes, Juliette Kayyem reporst -- and the problem is growing.

3. Obama's spooky economy (Washington Times)

GDP may be up 2.5 per cent but consumer uncertainty casts a shadow over news of temporary growth, argues this WT editorial.

4. Flat Taxes and Angry Voters (New York Times)

This editorial reports that more Americans are questioning the Republicans' flat tax plans, which keep rewarding the rich.

5. 10 reasons why Russia still matters (Politico)

According to Graham Allison and Robert D. Blackwill, Russia is a player whose choices affect our vital interests in nuclear security and energy.

6. Uganda intervention a U.S. worthy cause (San Fransisco Chronicle)

Removing the Lord's Resistance Army seems an obtainable goal and has diplomatic dividends, argues this editorial.

7. Beyond Occupy (New York Times)

Bill Keller writes that in India, Anna Hazare and his team show what protest can accomplish.

8. GOP Not Giving Obama Enough Credit on Libya (Roll Call)

By any objective standard, the Obama approach to Libya has been a huge success, notes Norman Ornstein: not a single American life was lost, the United States worked in concert with the Arab League and in partnership with its NATO allies, and a hated and oppressive regime was toppled.

9. Wedding days are losing their way (USA Today)

Ceremonies should be about commitment and marriage, not mere romance, says Henry G. Brinton.

10. The zombies with six legs (Los Angeles Times)

The human undead have nothing on the creepiness of some insects, writes biologist Marlene Zuk. They routinely do things too grotesque even for horror movies.

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Commons Confidential: When Corbyn met Obama

The Labour leader chatted socialism with the leader of the free world.

Child labour isn’t often a subject for small talk, and yet it proved an ice-breaker when Jeremy Corbyn met Barack Obama. The Labour leader presented the US president with a copy of What Would Keir Hardie Say? edited by Pauline Bryan and including a chapter penned by Comrade Corbyn himself.

The pair, I’m informed by a reliable snout, began their encounter by discussing exploitation and how Hardie started work at the tender age of seven, only to be toiling in a coal mine three years later.

The book explores Hardie’s relevance today. Boris Johnson will no doubt sniff a socialist conspiracy when he learns that the president knew, or at least appeared to know, far more about Hardie and the British left than many MPs, Labour as well as Tory.

***

Make what you will of the following comment by a very senior Tory. During a private conversation with a Labour MP on the same select committee, this prominent Conservative, upon spotting Chuka Umunna, observed: “We were very relieved when he pulled out of your leadership race. Very capable. We feared him.” He then, in
a reference to Sajid Javid, went on: “We’ve got one of them.” What could he mean? I hope it’s that both are young, bald and ambitious . . .

***

To Wales, where talk is emerging of who will succeed Carwyn Jones as First Minister and Welsh Labour leader. Jones hasn’t announced plans to quit the posts he has occupied since 2009, but that isn’t dampening speculation. The expectation is that he won’t serve a full term, should Labour remain in power after 5 May, either as a minority administration or in coalition in the Senedd.

Names being kicked about include two potential newcomers: the former MEP Eluned Morgan, now a baroness in the House of Cronies, and the Kevin Whately lookalike Huw Irranca-Davies, swapping his Westminster seat, Ogmore, for a place in the Welsh Assembly. Neither, muttered my informant, is standing to make up the numbers.

***

No 10’s spinner-in-chief Craig “Crazy Olive” Oliver’s decision to place Barack Obama’s call for Britain to remain in Europe in the Daily Telegraph reflected, whispered my source, Downing Street’s hope that the Torygraph’s big-business advertisers and readers will keep away from the rest of the Tory press.

The PM has given up on the Europhobic Sun and Daily Mail. Both papers enjoy chucking their weight about, yet fear the implications for their editorial clout should they wind up on the losing side if the country votes to remain on 23 June.

***

Asked if that Eurofan, Tony Blair, will play a prominent role in the referendum campaign, a senior Remainer replied: “No, he’s toxic. But with all that money, he could easily afford to bankroll it.”

Kevin Maguire is Associate Editor (Politics) on the Daily Mirror and author of our Commons Confidential column on the high politics and low life in Westminster. An award-winning journalist, he is in frequent demand on television and radio and co-authored a book on great parliamentary scandals. He was formerly Chief Reporter on the Guardian and Labour Correspondent on the Daily Telegraph.

This article first appeared in the 28 April 2016 issue of the New Statesman, The new fascism