The commentators 10-02-15
...on UK politics
By what process would a Clegg-less party pick a leader in the immediate aftermath of a Tory-Labour dead heat? Does anyone in the Lib Dems have a clue? Admittedly, the stakes aren’t that high. Still, it would be nice to know if the Lib Dems have any notion of how to choose someone at high speed to entrust with effective control of our political future.
- Matthew Norman, The Independent
The relationship between politics and business, as between Westminster and the media, should be one of mutual suspicion. The interests of government do not always coincide with the interests of the corporate world. One exists to protect taxpayers and consumers, the other to make money. Both are noble aims, but they may sometimes pull in different directions. Any party that forgets this basic reality between now and the general election may find its customers abandoning it for a new, smaller and more innovative entrant to the political market on polling day.
- Rachel Sylvester, The Times
There is an arrogance afoot among the super-rich, many thinking that normal rules of society do not apply to them. These self-serving elites seek to capture western governments, ensuring they can increase their wealth while protecting their interests. Such cronyism is damaging to the economy, just like misguided politically inspired interventions. Certainly the Conservatives should attack Labour for its antipathy to wealth creation – but they also need to find the right balance between business and politics.
- Ian Birrell, The Guardian
HSBC’s travails from Acapulco to Zurich are a microcosm of the banking industry’s problems. Hot topics such as governance, the universal banking model, investor behaviour, shareholder value, management culpability and the emergence of tax as a political battleground are contained in HSBC’s Swiss and American misadventures.
- Philip Augar, Financial Times
Welfare reform has been driven by two overriding ambitions: first, to create a simple and fair benefits structure to replace a fiendishly complex and wasteful one; and second, to establish a fundamental principle that it will always be more worthwhile to take a job than to live in idleness on state handouts. It has an unapologetic moral foundation from which Mr Duncan Smith has not resiled; but is also pragmatic, with the potential to save the taxpayer billions.
- Philip Johnston, Daily Telegraph
There has been celebration today of the recommendation that a judge should approve applications relating to journalists - but most reports have omitted the caveat in the second half of the sentence from their intros. Here it is in full (my underscore):
"Judicial authorisation must be obtained in cases where communications data is sought to determine the source of journalistic information."
Even under the commission's formula, journalists could still have their phone and email records examined by the police on the say-so of a senior officer for other purposes...And why shouldn't they?
No similar protection is proposed for lawyers, doctors, priests and their confidential dealings with clients, patients or parishioners. Perhaps their respective trade journals should kick up a fuss as Press Gazette did.
And how about the other half-million people whose personal data are scrutinised every year?
Protection for sources, not journalists
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