The commentators 24-02-15
...on Straw and Rifkind
Paradoxically, as Parliament has diminished in stature, politics has become more demanding – of time and energy, if not of skill and intellect. Equally, businessmen and professionals have found it harder to combine their careers with any serious political commitment. But if they are banned from keeping their jobs while sitting as MPs then few will stand for election - and Westminster will become even more remote from the people than it is now.
- Philip Johnston, Daily Telegraph
As a result of cash-for-access allegations, the Conservative party has suspended the whip from former foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind pending a disciplinary inquiry. However, the MP’s most important, most sensitive – and indeed most controversial – role is the chairmanship of the parliamentary intelligence and security committee (ISC). A huge question mark now hangs over a body whose burden of work is currently greater than it has ever been. Surely Rifkind has no option but to stand down?
- Richard Norton-Taylor, The Guardian
MPs should be forced to display the names of their benefactors, sponsors and clients on their shirts, like professional footballers, so we can see exactly who’s paying them and decide for ourselves whether there’s a conflict of interest. For instance, the Labour front bench would report for Prime Minister’s Questions wearing identical red jerseys, emblazoned with ‘UNITE’, their union paymasters, in large white letters across their chests. The Tories could wear blue jackets embroidered with the names of tobacco, oil and arms companies - Richard Littlejohn, Daily Mail
This will be the anti-politics election. There is a reason why the result on May 7 is so unpredictable. Voters are united more by their disillusionment with the Westminster establishment than they are divided along ideological lines. The smaller parties — Ukip, the SNP and the Greens — are reaping the benefits of a growing number of protest votes because they are seen as the outsiders who will challenge the status quo.
- Rachel Sylvester, The Times
Up until five or ten years ago, it would not be unusual for editorial to throw out or move an ad if it sat uncomfortably with the news on a given page. That tended to be in everybody's interests: BA no more wants its ad on a page devoted to an air crash than the journalist placing the story. This may still be the case, although I suspect that these days pressure would be on editorial to reposition the story rather than the other way about.
If so, that is an example of fissures starting to appear in that dividing wall. If a story, however insignificant, has to move from its optimum position in the paper because of advertising considerations, a line has been crossed.
A layman's guide to the relationship between editorial and advertising
Please sign up for SubScribe updates
Chelsea and racism
Anti-semitism and Islam
Religion and freedom