The commentators 06-11-14
...on US and UK politics
Obama will not become a complete lame duck president if Republicans win control of both chambers of Congress in November. Instead, his focus on foreign policy would probably intensify further in 2015 and 2016 where he could still secure significant achievements on the defence, security and trade fronts to bolster his presidential legacy.
- Andrew Hammond, The Independent
There’s real hunger on the Republican side to take back the White House. In contrast there’s fatigue and disillusionment on the Democrat side. Serious divisions are opening up on the American left.
- Tim Montgomerie, The Times
They don’t make countryside any more, and every year concrete consumes more of it. It needs constant guardianship. At the next election none of the big parties seems likely to endorse this sentiment. The Conservatives’ planning reform explicitly gives rural development priority over conservation, even authorising “off-plan” building where local people might object. Labour likewise wants to discontinue local planning where councils oppose development.
- Simon Jenkins, The Guardian
Ukip’s advantage is this: we already know that the main parties are non-performers on protecting the countryside from development. We know that UKIP might not be able to form a government, but we now know from the immigration debate that supporting Ukip has the power to drag the main parties, kicking and screaming, towards acknowledging the obvious things that everybody knows, and adopting the obvious policies that everybody wants.
Nigel Burke, Daily Express
There is one standout message from the tax expenditure pie chart. The single biggest bloc of spending on it is a monolithic slab called welfare. It takes up 25 per cent of the national budget. It is a visual and political shock. No wonder the Chancellor is determined to carry on slashing the soaring welfare bill. The chart makes a silent, powerful case for the Tories’ key argument: that much government expenditure is indefensible and the money would be better spent in other ways or returned to the taxpayers who generated it.
- Jenni Russell, The Times
Oh how editors must love UCL. It has come up with a batch of statistics on the hottest topic on the news agenda - and it can be interpreted in countless different ways. It's not so much a case of comparing apples and oranges as comparing apples with oranges, bananas, papaya, strawberries, grapes and pomegranates. Every paper swirls its spoon around this fruit salad to scoop up the bits it likes and avoid those that aren't to its taste.
SubScribe This week's papers
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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