The commentators 16-12-14
...on UK politics
With five months until the general election, the two parties remain within the margin of error of parity. Yet the Autumn Statement and its aftermath have changed politics. All of a sudden parties are arguing about economics again. An election that seemed to be curdling into a row about immigration and Europe — a British version of America’s culture wars, minus the bit about God — is turning out to be reassuringly conventional.
- Janan Ganesh, Financial Times
The policy positioning of David Cameron and George Osborne this autumn and early winter is part of a firmly established pattern from which they cannot escape, one that was formed when they were in opposition. First they make statements that they assume are on the centre ground and will unnerve their opponents. When the statements place them transparently to the right of where they sense they need to be, and give their opponents hope, the duo are surprised and seek to recast their case in a slightly different light.
- Steve Richards, The Independent
There can rarely have been a better fit for Ebenezer Scrooge than Iain Duncan Smith. He told Andrew Neil on the BBC’s Sunday Politics that he wants child benefit limited to a family’s first two children. It would save money and prompt “behavioural change”. For a country already failing to replace its population, with just 1.9 babies per woman, dissuading child-bearing is a mistaken and nasty ambition.
- Polly Toynbee, The Guardian
As society becomes ever more atomised, the political big tent is being replaced with a series of canvas micro-pods. This may be inevitable but there are consequences. It’s disillusionment with the Westminster establishment that has led to the fracturing of politics — and yet the result in parliament is likely only to increase the reasons for cynicism. Individual MPs, including some of the more extremist ones, will become disproportionately influential.
- Rachel Sylvester, The Times
Why is it that the campaign for Scottish independence was widely lauded for its positive tone, even among those who voted against while those who argue for Britain to leave the UK are so often condemned for negativity?
- Ross Clark, Daily Express
A small country with ten national newspapers (a dozen, if you count the FT and Morning Star) might be expected to see its society accurately reflected on the newsstands. So what do we see today? Diversity? Multiculturalism? Do we see that warmth that Paddington was promised?
No, we see rejection, selfishness, triviality. Five papers splash on our terror of immigration; eight carry stories and/or photographs of people fighting to buy a cut-price coffee maker that will sit unused in a cupboard. The only paper to feature neither on the front - The Times - addresses a different kind of consumerism with an oversized cake and the word Eat! in huge letters.
- Editor's blog
Tuesday 25 November The Editorial Intelligence Comment Awards were announced at a breakfast ceremony this morning. David Aaronovitch was named Commentariat of the Year and his newspaper, The Times, won the award for the best comment pages. Stevie Spring, who led the judges, made it a hat-trick for the Times by choosing Melanie Reid for the chairman's award.
The FT, Guardian, Mail and Sunday Times each picked up two awards. SubScribe was also among the winners. You can see the full list of awards here. A video of the presentations will be posted online later.
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