The commentators 04-12-14
...on the Autumn Statement
The overwhelming priority the fiscal position has been given by this chancellor in explaining the crisis is a mistake driven by politics. What matters still more is the inability of the economy to generate rapid productivity growth and avoid a return to the debt-driven demand of pre-crisis years. On this, the “economic plan” has little to say. The chancellor can respond that the opposition also has next to nothing to say on these risks. That is true. The debate on policy in the run-up to the general election is utterly dispiriting.
- Martin Wolf, Financial Times
Thank goodness. George Osborne failed to cut the deficit and is borrowing far more than he ever expected. His silliest economic measure was always to try to slash spending in 2010-12 as Britain headed for recession. It did not work. Spending rose, and is rising still. The result has been to give Britain the highest growth rate in the developed world.
- Simon Jenkins, The Guardian
Osborne has probably maximised his chance of re-election by abandoning Plan A for shock-therapy deficit reduction. It was never announced but he’s been following a softer, gentler Plan B for some time. The only people more horrified than fiscal hawks such as me are Labour’s two Eds. They’re being beaten by Mr Osborne’s reworking of their own, more gradual deficit strategy. The high-spending party may be out of office but many of its predilections are still in power.
- Tim Montgomerie, The Times
We have witnessed a significant moment in parliamentary history. Ed Balls and George Osborne have faced off across the dispatch box for the final time in a major set piece debate. Like Holmes and Moriarty at the Reichenbach falls, the two deadly rivals circled warily, before hurling themselves at one another, and plunging towards their icy destiny – a destiny that will be determined in May 2015.
- Dan Hodges, Daily Telegraph
George Osborne is a better and more truthful man than his Labour foes, as he showed us again yesterday. His party is the only one fit to govern after next May. But it is nowhere near honest enough, if our children and grandchildren are to inhabit a solvent Britain.
- Max Hastings, Daily Mail
The most telling verdict on Osborne's nightmare vision for the future wasn't Ed Balls's Labour response in the House of Commons, though his broken promises punches hit home. It was Nick Clegg's vanishing act, disappearing to Cornwall to avoid being seen on TV as a nodding dog behind Osborne. When the leader of the Liberal Democrats, yellow Tories who voted for the bedroom tax and every other Tory outrage, flees 300 miles to get away from his erstwhile allies you know it's a poisonous package
- Kevin Maguire, Daily Mirror
The interplay between politics and economics is demanding. Ultimately a political message must be the equivalent of a musical composition. The elements must come together to form a coherent whole. Currently Osborne has composed two entirely different themes and I do not see how they form a single melodious electoral tune
- Steve Richards, The Independent
Osborne has stuck broadly to the abiding political principle of tax reform; whatever you do, there will be winners and losers, so you better make sure the winners have a lot more votes than the losers. Will any of this help Mr Osborne’s party achieve a majority at the next election? It’s impossible to know, but at least the choice is now an abundantly clear one.
- Jeremy Warner, Daily Telegraph
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.
- Paddington, immigration, mental health and the worst of Britain
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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