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America is heading to the polls on Tuesday for what many think are the most crucial midterm elections in recent memory. Will the Democrats succeed in turning their anger against President Donald Trump into a “blue wave” by taking control of the House of Representatives? Or will the president’s caustic rhetoric on security, borders and migration galvanise his voting base?

Rana Foroohar argues in her latest column that whatever the outcome, the post-election challenges for the Democrats will mirror those facing big corporations. The party will be under pressure to define its purpose and posture when capitalism and liberal democracy remain in crisis. Even as the US economy continues to do well, the cultural issues that divide the country and define its politics will continue to grow.

Nick Butler pays tribute to Jeremy Heywood, the former British cabinet secretary who was a public servant of the highest quality. Former Labour minister Andrew Adonis has written our obituary.

Wolfgang Münchau thinks that Friedrich Merz is the conservative disrupter in the race to replace Angela Merkel.

Steven Mnuchin, the US Treasury secretary, writes that renewed sanctions will push Iran towards a better nuclear deal.

Devesh Kapur argues that the battle between India’s central bank and the government has deep roots. Attacks on the RBI are one example of its politicians undermining institutions.

Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan writes that business must do more in more places to help people— particularly to improve access to training for good jobs.

What you’ve been saying

Alternatives to plastic are available — but food manufacturers must take responsibility— letter from Miguel Campos:

Unlike some reports suggest, a shift from plastic packaging does not require masses of innovation — viable alternatives are already available. Materials such as glass and aluminium are indefinitely recyclable, yet are widely under-used. There is a common misconception that alternative materials cannot provide the same protection as plastic, but that is untrue. Smoothwall foil trays, for instance, can be gas flushed or vacuum packed, extending the shelf-life of products as effectively as plastic.

Comment from eomurchu on Britain and Ireland still misunderstand each other on Brexit:

One obvious step for Ireland would be to redefine its own relationship with the EU. There is minimal support presently for this, but Associate membership could perhaps allow Ireland access to the EU market and access to a trade deal with Britain. Such a step, however, is not encouraged by the blatant contempt for Ireland shown by Rees-Mogg, Johnson and others. The other obvious step is for the British Government to face down the DUP. Demographics show that there will be a non-Unionist majority in Northern Ireland within perhaps 20 years, so why rule out a border in the Irish Sea now when it could solve so many of Britain’s problems? Instead, it looks as if Britain will pay a high price for indulging the sectarian ascendancy illusions of the DUP.

Costs are behind the move to plastic packaging— letter from Gregg A Spindler:

This shift occurred because of costs; plastic has become cheap. In the US, the fracking boom has produced an enormous glut of natural gas liquids, which provide the feedstocks for making plastics. Shell, for instance, is building a $6bn plant that will produce 1.6m metric tons of the plastic polyethylene every year, provided with $1.65bn in tax credits from the state of Pennsylvania. There are many other such plants newly operating or under construction. The resulting plastics will be use somewhere and for something, most likely finding their way into consumer packaging and products that eventually are disposed of in some way.

Today’s opinion

The battle between India’s central bank and the government has deep roots
Attacks on the RBI are one example of politicians undermining institutions

These midterms mark a culture shift for business and politics
The post-election challenge for Democrats is not unlike that for many corporations

Business must do more, in more places to help people
JPMorgan’s investment promises to improve access to training needed for good jobs

Friedrich Merz: conservative disrupter in the race to replace Merkel
Departing from the path set by the chancellor could put the CDU back on track

Jeremy Heywood was a British public servant of the highest quality
The former cabinet secretary grasped the importance of science and research

Renewed sanctions will push Iran towards a better nuclear deal
The US Treasury secretary argues tough pressure is necessary to curb the regime

Annoying self-promoters are not welcome in my inbox
Wanton puffery on social media has normalised bragging at work

FT View

The FT View: The precarious autonomy of India’s central bank
Modi is rash to politicise the RBI ahead of next year’s polls

The FT View: A rancorous America goes to the polls
Do not count on the midterm elections to tame President Donald Trump

The Big Read

The Big Read: How to power India: Modi tweaks the energy mix
Amid a surge in oil demand and an investment boom, New Delhi needs to weigh consumer aspirations with fears about pollution

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