Friday 10 November 2023 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Friday. 10/11/2023

The Monocle Minute

The Opinion

Dean Phillips addresses the crowd outside the New Hampshire State House

Image: Alamy

Politics / Christopher Cermak

Out with the old?

Dean Phillips’s campaign for US president is off to a rocky start. Last week the congressman held his first rally at a town hall in New Hampshire, which developed into a bitter argument with voters over Gaza. The moment was widely seen as a sign of weakness for Phillips, a little-known politician from Minnesota, who is challenging Joe Biden to be the Democratic Party’s candidate for the 2024 presidential election. But there’s a more charitable version of the event: Democrats are eager to talk and to debate.

Biden, the presumptive nominee, has largely shielded himself from such voter interactions. This is despite the fact that Democrats aren’t happy: a majority didn’t want Biden to run again in 2024. More than half are concerned about his age – he would be 82 at the start of a second term – and, more recently, his handling of the war in Gaza. And yet, until Phillips hastily entered the race late last month, there was no viable alternative. Even Phillips sees himself as something of a placeholder. He had long encouraged bigger names in the Democratic Party to challenge Biden before stepping up himself.

On the Republican side, former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley has been gaining traction with a similar argument. Donald Trump might be seen by voters as more vibrant than Biden for his age but he remains stuck in the past, grumbling over 2020 and planning retribution against opponents. Aside from the small matter of defending democratic values, it’s quite simply time to turn the page.

Polls this week showing Trump ahead of Biden in a 2024 rematch have shocked Democrats and emboldened the former president’s supporters. But neither side should be happy: voters in both parties would prefer a generic candidate over their own presumptive nominee. In other words, the first party that dares to plump for a new generation of leaders stands a far better chance of winning the White House.

Christopher Cermak is Monocle’s Washington correspondent. For more opinion, analysis and insight, subscribe to Monocle today.


Urbanism / Global

Best in class

For all those who said that post-Brexit London was dead and buried – think again. The UK capital tops this year’s Global Power City Index compiled by Japan’s Institute for Urban Strategies at The Mori Memorial Foundation. The annual index is an attempt to rank what it calls the “magnetism” of international cities, measuring them on a range of metrics such as economy, liveability and R&D prowess. London’s overall points score rose for the first time in three years, primarily driven by the strength of its cultural attractions and extensive connectivity through its international air network. It was able to shrug off competition from second-placed New York – a clear winner when it came to economy and R&D – and third-placed Tokyo, which improved its cost-of-living score. For the naysayers who bemoan London as a less competitive, less diverse place, the Global Power City Index is a strong rebuff.

Image: Anna Nielsen

Design / Dubai

Park life

Dubai Design Week, which takes place in the streets and buildings of the city’s design district, wraps up this Sunday. The event, whose purpose is to encourage better design discourse, features a mix of more than 500 local and international creatives and architects. Here are three pavilions, exhibitions and showcases to see.

‘Urban Hives’
London and Beirut-based designer Nathalie Harb partnered with BMW to create a striking two-storey pavilion at the heart of Dubai Design District. Intended to comment on the wasted potential of car parks in cities, the ground floor serves as a parking space, while the top level is planted with insect-attracting plants, tables and chairs. The structure shows how places built for cars can be transformed into thriving, urban green spaces.

‘The Big Challenge’
Created by Dubai and London-based architect Niko Kapa in partnership with stoneware manufacturer Iris Ceramica, The Big Challenge (pictured, above) is a deliberately oversized table-tennis installation. It brings life and activity to the city’s streets by allowing multiple participants to play the game at the same time.

Downtown Design
In a pop-up pavilion on the edge of the city’s design district, global brands such as Flexform, Poltrona Frau and Dedar are showcasing their latest works at the trade fair component of Dubai Design Week. There is a section dedicated to bespoke works, with an emphasis on local makers, including Fadi Sarieddine Studio.

Making a good fist of it: Sag-Aftra reach a tentative deal

Image: Shutterstock

Culture / USA

Screen saviours

The actors’ union Sag-Aftra has reached a tentative deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, bringing an end to the months-long shutdown of Hollywood. The specifics of the deal, which are expected to be revealed today, will lay the groundwork for the next three years. Actors are now expected to resume work and return to film sets.

“Viewers can expect to see announcements and scheduling of new series, as well as mooted feature projects almost immediately,” Karen Krizanovich, a film critic and broadcaster, tells The Monocle Minute. The long-term effects of artificial intelligence on the film industry, however, remain to be seen. “No one really knows what AI will become in practice,” says Krizanovich. “This is scarier than the previous unknown of streaming.”

Beyond the Headlines

Image: Roe Ethridge

Photo of the week / Paris Photo

Flower power

‘Decanter with White Roses’, Roe Ethridge. On display at Grand Palais Éphémère by the Gagosian gallery for Paris Photo.

Monocle Films / Business

Helsinki market-hall revival

To celebrate our inaugural Retail Awards, we head to a newly renovated food hall in Helsinki. From cheese and smoked fish to fresh pastries and locally grown vegetables, the Hakaniemi Market Hall is the perfect place to stock up on supplies – and to linger in cosy restaurants. Join us as we tour its splendid aisles.


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