The commentators 12-12-14
...on UK politics
Ed Miliband gave yesterday a speech for the first time which, at this stage in the political cycle, he should have been giving for the tenth. He gave, in effect, the speech that his brother David would have delivered at once if he had become leader, a speech that sues for peace with the reality of cuts. The trouble with the speech is that it is still too easy to separate the dancer from the dance.
Philip Collins, The Times
This is Ed Miliband’s strategy for winning the next election. He will pledge to take the axe to public services, whilst simultaneously attacking the Conservative Party for wanting to take the axe to public services. He will tell people he will eradicate the deficit. And to get them to believe him, he will pretend there is a new form of borrowing called “productive investment” that is not borrowing. Even though it is borrowing, and everyone knows it’s borrowing.
- Dan Hodges, Daily Telegraph
If the Labour Party is to be believed, do-it-yourself back-garden funerals are taking place all over Britain, as a direct result of the deliberate austerity programme being pursued by this Government. Shroud-waving South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck claims hard-pressed families are burying their dead in the vegetable patch because they don’t have the money for a proper ceremony.
- Richard Littlejohn, Daily Mail
The Labour party’s current sense of an opportunity, which triggered and was reflected in Ed Miliband’s speech on government spending on Thursday, may prove to be a midwinter spring. It may be the political equivalent of something bright amid the cold coming of the current opinion polls. But there is no disputing that Labour scents a chance of making ground at the moment. And it may be that Labour is right.
- Martin Kettle, The Guardian
The case for achieving an overall fiscal surplus in the next parliament is not overwhelming. The opportunity to borrow more for investment is too valuable, though the current budget should indeed be in surplus. Furthermore, if the aim should be an overall surplus, taxes need to rise. Otherwise, too much of the cost would fall on the most vulnerable people. Big questions arise over how fiscally prudent the UK needs to be. Equally big are those over who should bear the cost.
- Martin Wolf, Financial Times
A small country with ten national newspapers (a dozen, if you count the FT and Morning Star) might be expected to see its society accurately reflected on the newsstands. So what do we see today? Diversity? Multiculturalism? Do we see that warmth that Paddington was promised?
No, we see rejection, selfishness, triviality. Five papers splash on our terror of immigration; eight carry stories and/or photographs of people fighting to buy a cut-price coffee maker that will sit unused in a cupboard. The only paper to feature neither on the front - The Times - addresses a different kind of consumerism with an oversized cake and the word Eat! in huge letters.
- Editor's blog
Tuesday 25 November The Editorial Intelligence Comment Awards were announced at a breakfast ceremony this morning. David Aaronovitch was named Commentariat of the Year and his newspaper, The Times, won the award for the best comment pages. Stevie Spring, who led the judges, made it a hat-trick for the Times by choosing Melanie Reid for the chairman's award.
The FT, Guardian, Mail and Sunday Times each picked up two awards. SubScribe was also among the winners. You can see the full list of awards here. A video of the presentations will be posted online later.
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Labour and Ed Miliband
The Labour Party
Midterms and UK politics
Britain and EU