The commentators 03-10-14
...on the party conferences
In 2001, the NHS absorbed just a quarter of government departmental spending. Under Cameron’s plans, this will rise to more than a third – and not because health is getting bigger, but because everything else is being cut so quickly. The Institute for Fiscal Studies estimates that protecting the NHS behemoth means that the unprotected departments will see their budgets cut by a third. This explains why the Prime Minister is being so coy about promising to keep to the Nato minimum on defence spending – he may not actually be able to afford it.
- Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph
You might like what Mr Cameron says. You might think departure from the EU a risk worth taking. But don’t kid yourself that it is Mr Miliband who represents risk, because no politician stands on a higher ledge than Mr Cameron. Behind him, a third of his party wants to push him off and a third of it wants him to jump. It is, to end the long week back where we began, reckless.
- Phil Collins, The Times
The case for a mansion tax in Britain is overwhelming. The case for the mansion tax proposed by Labour and the Liberal Democrats is not overwhelming. It is rubbish. In Britain there are three sorts of taxes: taxes, bad taxes and property taxes. Property taxes seem to drive politicians mad. They overthrew Margaret Thatcher. They all but drove Scotland to secession. They have eroded English local democracy. There are already four levies on property: council tax, stamp duty, capital gains tax and a new tax on overseas company properties. All have been so abused by waves of craven politicians that those studying them lose the will to live
- Simon Jenkins, The Guardian
All the parties can congratulate themselves on their conferences, as their job was to establish the agenda for the election, and they’ve all succeeded in establishing that it will be mental. For example, they’ll all compete for the title of who’s toughest on immigration, until Theresa May pledges to fill the English Channel with piranhas, to stop anyone getting in by swimming, but Ed Balls will complain these are foreign so he’ll promise to train a fleet of trout in active combat, on billboards saying, “British Jobs for British Fish”.
- Mark Steel, The Independent
By far the greatest catalyst for the Tories’ surge in confidence was the performance by David Cameron. In an inspiring address that mixed passion and humour with far-reaching policy pronouncements the Prime Minister set out a clear vision for Britain under a future Conservative government, where aspiration and personal responsibility will be rewarded.
- Leo McKinstrey, Daily Express
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
When you see "George" in a headline, who do you think of? The no-longer-eligible bachelor, the boy who is third in line to the throne, or the man in charge of the nation's wallet?
The Mail's splash today says "George scraps pensions tax". It feels wrong, too chummy.
We're happy with George for Clooney or the Prince, but not for Osborne. Why?
- Are we on first-name terms?
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War on Isis
Nato and Isis