The commentators 19-11-14
...on British politics
The age of deference is over, and Jeremy Paxman has been a major force in breaking down some traditional conventions. So a former pop singer doesn't feel any constraints about challenging the leader of Her Majesty's opposition on a policy question, in this instance the mansion tax. "No one thinks this is going to work," Myleene Klass told Mr Miliband. "You can't just point at things and tax them. You need to have a better strategy and say why the NHS is in this mess in the first place."
- Simon Kelner, The Independent
As far as Miliband is personally concerned, Klass’s diatribe is just one more unfortunate incident in a long line of unfortunate incidents, each of them eroding an already scant supply of potential-prime-minister gravitas. Miliband, along with many of his supporters, tends to believe that many of his troubles are due to the malicious machinations of a hostile media. You could certainly argue that Klass’s ammunition came courtesy of a media that is extremely hostile to the mansion tax. Nevertheless, Miliband’s inability to rebut criticisms that are longstanding and widespread is very much something that he has to take responsibility for himself.
- Deborah Orr, The Guardian
Labour are due to come a lame third in Rochester ad Strood tomorrow and, if Ukip win, the Tories hope to deflect some of the humiliation due for David Cameron on to Ed Miliband. The numbers, as spun by the prime minister’s defenders, will show the resilience of the Conservative vote share and Labour’s collapse. Desperate though that will be as a cover story for Cameron’s defeat, it will contain a painful truth for Miliband
- Rafael Behr, The Guardian
A myriad factors will play some part in deciding the coming general election, and none of them will be David Cameron’s uncle. Not a single pencil hovering uncertainly over a ballot paper next May will have its journey towards or away from a Conservative candidate dictated by Bill Dugdale (second baronet), who has just died aged 92. Yet while dwelling pleasurably over the old boy’s obituaries, it was hard to shrug off the feeling that, in a deeply nebulous way, Sir William’s life hints at the PM’s enduring failure to connect on a gut level with the electorate.
- Matthew Norman, The Independent
Sending manpower and expertise to countries in genuine need is a far better way of showing support. Most of us want to help those in need but find it hard to support large sums of taxpayers’ money being used overseas when there are critical issues that need addressing here. It would be good to hear the Prime Minister acknowledge this once in a while.
- Duncan Barkes, Daily Express
We're in the mood for looking back, so let's recall those primary school arithmetic problems and apply them to this situation:
If it takes 8,000 volunteers three months to assemble and plant 888,246 poppies, how long will it take a similar number of volunteers to pick them and pack them away ready for cleaning and despatch?
There is no set answer, but you can bet it's not 24 hours. The poppies won't disappear by tomorrow night. The Telegraph suggested last month that it would take a couple of weeks. In other words, politicians and the Press have delivered to a sentimental public a bonus that it was going to get anyway.
Editor's blog A last post for the poppies SubScribe Poppymania
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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