The commentators 03-11-14
...on Branson's space tourism
A 97 per cent chance of survival is good enough for Sir Richard the adventurer; it would be ludicrous for a Virgin-branded service, as he acknowledges That accounts for his hesitant tone this weekend when he was asked whether he intends to persevere with Virgin Galactic. He may belatedly have realised that the safety gulf is too wide.
- John Gapper, Financial Times
Virgin Galactic is not about exploring the universe. The project is simply to offer super-rich tourists five minutes of weightlessness by dropping them from the edge of space. This is bungee jumping for billionaires. Lawson has nothing against affluent people wasting their money: but this is not worth the cost in others’ lives.
- Dominic Lawson, Daily Mail
“We would love to finish what we started some years ago … I think millions of people would one day love the chance to go to space.” Richard Branson, mourning the death of the pilot killed in the Mojave desert last Friday, nevertheless managed to keep his eye on the prize. It is, doubtless, what the pilot Michael Albury would have wanted. Or at least, one assumes that he wouldn’t have wanted his death to derail the project. Whether he would have wanted it smothered in the language of bogus communitarianism is another question.
- Zoe Williams, The Guardian
Even if Virgin Galactic shrugs off the latest tragedy and resume its test flights, there is still the question of whether commercial space travel will ever be anything other than expensive joyriding for the super-rich...They will spend only a few minutes in “space”..and in the process of enjoying the view, they can contemplate how their cash and physical presence have contributed, just a little bit, to the further destruction of what lies below them – the atmosphere of Earth.
- Steve Connor, The Independent
If free-market capitalism is capable of sending a rich person to space, then it can surely do a little bit more to help those at the bottom of the economic ladder. In many sectors of the UK economy – and not just in banking – we have seen the growth of “top people’s pay” outstrip the rest of the market.
- Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph
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
Supposing the sculpture had been of one of the women and one of their brothers with the children in between. The Mail would have got its male presence and Birmingham would have got a conventional, possibly twee, "happy family" artwork. The overt image would have satisfied the paper's central complaint - but underneath would it have applauded fraternal love or worried about a sub-text of incest?
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