The commentators 09-02-15
...on UK and world politics
The most important diplomacy is conducted quietly and slowly. Enforcing the sanctions regime, building up Nato’s rapid reaction forces, and bridging European and American policies are unsexy but crucial tasks. These create the context in which Putin will decide his next steps. Britain can play an important role in each one, applying pressure and supporting diplomacy, without David Cameron having to rack up air miles in some pointless pursuit of prominence.
- Shashank Joshi , The Guardian
Vladimir Putin’s deal with the Russian people is based on a guarantee of order, prosperity and the restoration of Russia’s weight in world affairs, in exchange for their willingness to give up some of the freedoms they gained at the end of the 1990s. The deal held up well as the Russian economy grew spectacularly for more than a decade. But now it is being undermined.
- Roderic Braithwaite, The Independent
By the end of the decade, if not before, this country will be spending little more than twice as much on defence of the realm as on foreign aid. The former, even in less troubled times, is held to be the first and most important duty of any government. - Dominic Lawson, Daily Mail
On the substance of the argument between Ed Miliband and “business”, the Labour leader is almost wholly right, and the chief executives and chairs almost wholly wrong. The man who would be PM offers clarity on Britain’s place in Europe, and sensible if sketchy thoughts on historic weaknesses of UK plc, such as vocational training. He offers rate relief for smaller firms, and a crackdown on tax dodging that should level things out for companies whose idea of wealth creation goes beyond creative accounting.
- The Guardian
You need capitalism to make things. You need venture capital to cure cancer; you need people who are willing to wager huge stakes on the success of these therapies. And those investors will always be fired not just by a desire to better the world, but by a good old-fashioned profit motive – and the last thing we need is a Labour government that fundamentally hates the idea of profit.
- Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph
Ed Miliband genuinely believes that he can win the election by taking on big companies that are household names, including the ones that own Tory newspapers.
- John Rentoul, The Independent
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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