The commentators 04-11-14
...on British politics
Since he promised the British people an in-out referendum on EU membership, it has been widely assumed that Prime Minister David Cameron would campaign to keep the UK in. But will he? Faced with a surge of euroscepticism in his Conservative party, and convinced he must satisfy demands to curb immigration, he is on the brink of making radical demands that his EU partners will reject. When the referendum comes, he may have little choice but to campaign for withdrawal.
- Charles Grant, Financial Times
At some point in his negotiation Cameron knows he will almost certainly have to state explicitly that he would recommend pulling out if he does not get the outcome he wants. Merkel makes a pre-emptive strike by pointing out how she would respond. Instead of conceding ground in an attempt to keep the UK in, we now know what she and others would say in such circumstances: Thank you and goodbye.
- Steve Richards, The Independent
If Cameron has a failing as a politician it is his inability to “read” foreigners. He does not travel well, and that even includes to the United States. In this respect, he has been fortunate in his coalition partner. Nick Clegg is the consummate cosmopolitan, and he has been able to pick up much of the slack. But Clegg cannot replace the prime minister in Europe, nor can he help Cameron in the run-up to an election in which a rightwing Eurosceptic party is snapping at the Tories’ heels and the outcome is one of the least predictable on record.
- Mary Dejevsky, The Guardian
Political commentators write as though politicians decide their message to the electorate. We read “strategy” into everything. In reality, politicians end up doing what they are compelled to by their instincts. They experiment with ideas in moments of trouble but, over a parliamentary term, a party’s pitch to voters is ultimately a distillation of its leader’s sincere beliefs. And nobody chooses what to believe any more than they choose who to find attractive.
- Janan Ganesh, Financial Times
No 10 looks increasingly desperate as it tries to deal with the Ukip threat by making undeliverable pledges on immigration, while floating policies that will be impossible to implement, such as seizing the passports of returning jihadists.
- Rachel Sylvester, The Times
As our new tax summaries pop through the letterbox over the next few weeks, we are entitled to say: thanks for the information, but is the money spent wisely, or are huge sums still being wasted? The Chancellor’s exercise in transparency is commendable, but it is only the first step towards getting a grip on public spending. And are his motives political? You bet they are.
- Philip Johnston, Daily Telegraph
The shame in all this is that - apart from the Mauritius machinists - it is the Fawcett Society, rather than its collaborators, that has come out worst.
It should have followed its instincts. ELLE and Whistles were the wrong partners, and a £45 t-shirt that its supporters couldn't afford was the wrong product. It was naive and has suffered disproportionate opprobrium as a result.
But there may yet be a happy ending. People don't like to see charities bullied, and even if the publicity hasn't been quite what Fawcett hoped, it may find increased levels of public support.
SubScribe This is what a flawed feminist stunt looks like
Thursday 25 September Judges for the Editorial Intelligence comment awards announced their shortlists today, with ten nominations for the FT, nine for the Times, five for the Guardian, four for the Independent - and two for SubScribe.
The Times and Sunday Times scored a clean sweep in nominations for the main award of commentariat of the year, which will be decided between David Aaronovitch, Camilla Cavendish, Daniel Finkelstein and last year's winner Caitlin Moran.
Guardian's Jay Rayner was shortlisted in the food writer category, but said that he did not wish to be considered as that award is sponsored by Tesco.
The awards will be presented on November 25.
See the full shortlists here
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