The commentators 09-07-15
...on the Budget
I wonder if, on anyone’s list of the country’s top hundred problems there appears the item “the children of the wealthy have too little money”? Yet I imagine it must, otherwise it would be hard to explain why one of the more popular parts of yesterday’s budget was George Osborne’s reform of inheritance tax to make sure that even less of inherited wealth would be taxed.
- David Aaronovitch, The Times
What Cameron and Osborne have succeeded in doing is set us on course for US-style levels of public spending, and loaded the costs of a continuing crisis on to the backs of those least able to shoulder the burden – while dressing it up as an even-handed necessity, and convincing Labour leaders to dance to their tune on the back of 37% of the vote. That’s what the chancellor means by a “new settlement”. How long any such settlement will be accepted, as Europe is demonstrating, is another matter - Seumas Milne, The Guardian
George Osborne has delivered the first Conservative Budget for 18 years. It is a boldly political one. Yet it also tells us that the chancellor is no radical ideologue. He has little interest in making the tax system less complex and more coherent. He has, instead, instinctive attachments: to Victorian fiscal orthodoxy, to a smaller state, to making work pay through higher wages, rather than welfare, to succouring the house-rich, and to winning the global contest for corporate capital.
- Martin Wolf, Financial Times
The Tories know that there’s an enormous political prize if they can convince the electorate that they’re not just an economically competent party but a compassionate enterprise too. The scale of welfare cuts and the continuing absence of an adequate housebuilding policy still present the enfeebled Labour opposition with gaps in the political market. But the man who wants to be the next prime minister has added the living wage and the northern powerhouse to his party’s list of moral endeavours.
- Tim Montgomerie, The Times
The Budget has confirmed that ‘welfare reform’ is surely the greatest euphemism of our age. The empty expression first cropped up on Conservative campaign trail this election, as ubiquitous as the blue rosettes, without any of the Tories ever quite setting out what it means. It is corporate enough to sound dull and ineffective, not actually meaning anything substantial, and slippery enough to let the party off the hook about what actually lies in store for the welfare system under a Tory majority government.
- Siobhan Fenton, The Independent
There is much in this Budget that is welcome. Spending is being cut and sanity returned to the public finances. But Mr Osborne’s dirigisme, his urge to buck the market and his embrace of old school, paternalistic Toryism will in time be seen as a major step in the wrong direction.
- Allister Heath, Daily Telegraph
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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