The commentators 27-11-15
...on the Autumn Statement
Mao. Why Mao? Of all of the people to quote in Parliament, why would McDonnell choose to utilise a quote from a man who slaughtered tens of millions of his own people? McDonnell pointed out later that it was a reference to the trade deals occurring between the UK and China, but if the same deals were happening with Germany, would he start prophesising from Mein Kampf, emanating the solemn words of the Fuhrer, to prove his point? Jokes about genocide don’t get that many laughs nowadays
- Anna Rhodes, The Independent
John McDonnell’s naivety matters because it helped George Osborne to get away with an autumn statement of grand larceny. This was a process with a beginning, a muddle and an end. The beginning was cutting tax credits. The muddle was his partial correction on Wednesday and the end is to become prime minister. The early verdict was absurdly generous. It is quite something for correcting a bad error to be rated a triumph. It is something else again to trail savage cuts and for the end of austerity to be the blazon the following day
- Philip Collins, The Times
Buried in the autumn statement there was an announcement that the government intends to completely cut the £2.6bn a year it gives to councils for public health spending (which covers areas such as drug and alcohol abuse, sexual health, and teenage pregnancy). The idea, apparently, is that the money can be made up thanks to all those business rates. The more likely outcome, of course, is that these things will fall into the same fragile category as libraries, parks, bus subsidies, welfare advice, help for homeless people, transport to school for children with special educational needs, and more: a great roll call of the basics of any halfway civilised society, either under threat, or disappearing fast
- John Harris, The Guardian
Osborne has a vainglorious streak. Presenting his Spending Review, he reiterated his aim of turning Britain into the “most prosperous major economy”. What are the chances of achieving this? None. Nevertheless, the Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts a happy period ahead, after the losses associated with the Great Recession. The question is whether this envisaged future will materialise. We do not know. But the forecast does assume that many things will now go right
- Martin Wolf, Financial Times
Only a few years ago, the puff would have been chucked out the moment the scale of a story like this became apparent, partly as a matter of taste and partly to maximise the potential for display and give the story room to breathe.
Last night only the Telegraph dispensed with the blurb - and that decision may have been influenced by the oversized ad at the foot of the page. The Times had signed up Bake-Off's Nadiya and wasn't about to surrender a millimetre of her promo. The Guardian was similarly wedded to its taste of autumn and the Mail to its Lego toy... but journalism was still the winner
How the papers covered the Paris attacks
Comment Awards, 2015
Teenage ebola diarist honoured
Tuesday 24 November, 2015
A 13-year-old girl whose diary of life during the ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone made the Observer splash became the youngest winner at the EI Comment Awards in London today.
Bintu Sannoh was named young commentariat of the year for this piece about the crisis and two further articles about the stigma and poverty and hunger that came in the wake of the disease. Six months later she was able to return to school - but she writes about how everything had changed, with only a third of pupils having survived.
Janan Ganesh emerged the sole double winner of the morning as the Financial Times took pride of place at the ceremony at the RIBA headquarters. He won the top accolade of commentariat of the year, having earlier been named political commentator of 2015.
His paper won the award for the best comment pages, Gillian Tett was business commentator and Michael Skapinker won the new prize for business ethics commentary.
The Times also claimed a clutch of prizes: David Aaronovitch was honoured for comment piece of the year for this article after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, Jenni Russell won the new diversity award, Hugo Rifkind was arts and culture commentator and Sathnam Sanghera media commentator (in succession to SubScribe).
Other winners included Simon Jenkins, Gary Younge and Cory Doctorow of the Guardian, Allister Heath of the Telegraph, Channel 4, and the science writer Philip Ball.
The chairman's award went to Andrew Rawnsley, of the Observer, while the Sun punctured the domination of the broadsheets (even if few of them are physically broadsheets these days) by winning the eiDigest special award for its leader column.
SubScribe was honoured and surprised to find a place on the individual blogger shortlist, but delighted to see the award go to Matthew Scott, whose excellent Barrister Blogger can be seen here
You can see all the winners here and the full shortlists here.
Comment archive, 2015
Russia in Syria
Strategic defence review
Britain and Europe
Sinai jet crash
Lords v Commons
Xi Jinping visit
Xi Jinping's visit
Virginia TV shootings
Boris Johnson, Greece
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