The commentators 20-07-15
...on Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson seems to be finishing his first few weeks back in Parliament looking rather out of sorts. He seems a little like the supremely popular sixth former surprised his new university peers just aren’t that bothered by him. Theresa May humiliated him in the Commons by announcing that she wouldn’t let the mayor of London use three expensive water cannon in London, and George Osborne made a joke in the budget about the “dilapidated state of his campaign bunker”. The mayor’s allies suspect a No 10 plot, as the water cannon announcement could have appeared in a quiet written ministerial statement, not a Commons dressing-down from a leadership rival
- Isabel Hardman, The Times
We prefer clowns to remain in character, perhaps as court jesters, not to aspire to become princes or prime ministers. Raging against those he accuses of stifling his ambitions makes Boris sound like Krusty the Clown, the bitter, self-obsessed entertainer in The Simpsons. He’d do better to discourage this. Un-Boris himself, maybe. He’s Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, after all. Known as ‘Al’ by his family
- Peter McKay, Daily Mail
Iceland and Greece had equally terrible crashes seven years ago, yet Iceland is now growing rapidly, running trade and budget surpluses, with minimal unemployment and strong pension funds. A settlement with the creditors of its three failed banks is imminent, and exchange controls will soon be lifted. The country’s fundamental advantages (fish, tourism, geothermal energy, and a highly educated workforce) were untouched by the financial crisis
- Matt Ridley, The Times
Compelling narratives about rules and morality have been prevailing over figures and statistics. That’s why the situation within the single currency remains a godforsaken mess. And until the plausible stories give way to economics, the sad fact is that things are unlikely to improve.
- Ben Chu, Independent
Alexis Tsipras should never have hired Yanis Varoufakis as his finance minister. Or he should have listened to him, and kept him on. But instead the Greek prime minister chose the worst of all options. He followed Mr Varoufakis’ advice of rejecting the offer of the creditors — until last week. But having done this, Mr Tsipras committed a critical error by rejecting Mr Varoufakis’ plan B for the moment when the country’s banks closed down: the immediate introduction of a parallel currency — IOUs issues by the Greek state but denominated in euros.
- Wolfgang Munchau, Financial Times
Sometimes the murder of a journalist shocks people to such an extent that they take to the streets to protest - as with the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists in France and Abdel Karim al-Khewani in Yemen. Sometimes, as with the Isis victims in their orange jumpsuits, the killings are filmed and used as propaganda.
Often, however, the death goes unremarked and uninvestigated. A couple of men ride up on a motorbike and fire a few shots at the target as he or she is leaving the office, arriving home or simply waiting at a bus stop - summary retribution for exposing a corrupt politician or crossing a criminal.
In the first half of this year, sixty media workers around the world were killed while doing their jobs.
Editor's blog: Death and dishonour
Comment Awards 2015
Anyone can nominate their favourite writer
Friday 12 June, 2015 Are the comment pages and columnists too Londoncentric? And if they are, what is the solution when the financial and political powerhouses are based in the capital?
Does the character or personality of the writer matter? Should we read columnists with whom we violently disagree or is it, as Eleanor Mills suggested, good for the soul but bad for the blood pressure?
Why did the so-called political experts get it so wrong in calling the general election? And will they - and Rupert Murdoch - influence the result of the EU referendum?
All these points and more were addressed under the guidance of Dr Anthony Seldon at the launch of the 2015 Comment Awards last night. Seldon will chair the judging panel for the awards, now in their seventh year.
Nominations are now open and anyone can put forward anyone writing in the UK media - broadcasting, print or online - by submitting the URLS of three articles published between August 1, 2014 and July 31 this year, which is the closing date for entries.
The 17 awards include four new categories: Comment piece of the year for a single piece of excellent writing; Young commentariat; Society and diversity commentator; and Technology and digital commentator.
There is no charge for entries. Details and the nomination forms can be found here.
Oh yes, and who was the most frequently mentioned columnist at last night's event? Matthew Parris? Andrew Rawnsley? Stephen Glover? No. By a country mile, the most discussed writer was Katie Hopkins.
Comment archive, 2015
Scottish National Party
If you would like
to help to keep SubScribe going,
please click here