The commentators 12-06-15
All British civil servants are in a panic over spending, but not the same kind of panic. Most wonder how they’ll police the streets, or defend the realm, on an ever-shrinking budget. But officials in the Department for International Development are seized by a different terror: they have to sink an average of £30 million a day in overseas aid. Under bizarre new legislation it’s against the law for them to fail – so they spend all day looking, desperately, for legitimate ways to bury the cash. As you might expect, this is leading to rather unusual results
- Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph
George Osborne is a radical politician. The chancellor’s new plan to legislate fiscal surpluses is an attempt to return Britain to Victorian values. He has even revived the Victorian Commissioners for the Reduction of the National Debt (a body that last met in 1860). This is an extension of the platform to which the government ascribes its recent electoral victory: the crisis was due to Labour’s fiscal profligacy when it was in office. The opposition cannot be trusted unless it admits its guilt and promises to follow Mr Osborne’s guidelines. Social democracy would be neutered, forever
- Martin Wolf, Financial Times
In his first term David Cameron was Mr Deficit which turned out to suffice. If he is not careful he will become, in his truncated second term, Mr Referendum. If he loses the plebiscite he is instantly finished. If he wins he needs to clarify the work that only he, rather than his successor, can complete.
- Philip Collins, The Times
The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government preserved in aspic some of the stand-off between security and privacy. The deeper instincts of each party – for good order in the Tory case, for individual liberty in the Lib Dem one – seemed to be intensified by the coalition, not to generate a synthesis that both could own together. Paradoxically, a majority Tory government may now offer a better chance of giving permanence to David Anderson’s balanced recasting of this hugely complex and difficult subject
- Martin Kettle, The Guardian
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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