The commentators 10-07-15
...on the Budget
With measures such as the cancellation of housing benefit for under-21s, and the abolition of tax credits for more than two children, at last this Budget is taking money back from the group who caused the financial crash, people who were children when it happened. In 2008, when they were under 14, they spent the entire economy on sherbet and Pokémon cards – and then had the nerve to blame it on the banks.
- Mark Steel, The Independent
Osborne has stripped the young of education maintenance allowances, shrunk tax credits, child benefits, upped tuition fees, cut further education colleges and careers advice while stripping away youth services. But above all, he and his party have monstered the young. Nice young people now stay home until their 30s, unable to find housing. Nice families stay together forever. The children of the rest are blamed and punished - Polly Toynbee, The Guardian
The chancellor pulled off a political coup de théâtre. He also used adoption of the national living wage as a way to justify cuts in support for the working poor. Yet this is bad policy. It subverts careful economic analysis. It is a classic example of intrusive regulation. It fails to protect the bulk of the losers from cuts in tax credits. It will surely lead to a loss of jobs. And it will not do anything significant to reverse the UK’s failure to increases underlying productivity. Good politics do not necessarily lead to good policies. This is a case in point.
- Martin Wolf, Financial Times
If Chancellor Ed Balls had stood up in the Commons on Wednesday to announce a £9 minimum wage, a supertax for banks and a tax-raising Budget, he would likely have been denounced as a Seventies-style socialist. But coming from George Osborne it seems modern, audacious, even admirable.
- Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph
There is no point wishing away the scale of what Mr Osborne has just done. The statutory minimum wage for workers over the age of 25 will rise by 40 per cent, to £9.20 an hour, by 2020. Six million people will be better off. For a party that opposed the introduction of a wage floor less than two decades ago, this is a remarkable transformation. Not many political images last but the picture of Iain Duncan Smith punching the air (good for him, too) is a story the Tories can tell and retell.
- Philip Collins, The Times
British voters remain highly receptive to a modernising Labour approach that shows it is in touch with the way the country and the world have changed and are changing. Whether Labour offers them that is what the party must now decide in its leadership contest. In the absence of such an offer from Labour, however, Osborne’s budget will seem to many voters like a logical and not wholly unreasonable alternative.
- Martin Kettle, The Guardian
It sounds cynical, but five dead Britons are not enough to drive the puffs from their home at the top of the front page. Especially on a Saturday morning, when the promos are deeper and occupy extra columns in the body of the page. Ten might have been; "at least fifteen" certainly would.
This is why the Star shines today. Hallelujah! News has reclaimed page one. And not only page one, but pages two, three, four and five.
How to cover a massacre: a lesson from the Daily Star
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
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