The commentators 13-03-15
...on UK politics
It’s wrong to fetishise the 2% defence spending level. To do so is almost as irrelevant and distracting as the suggestion by the European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, that the need after Ukraine is to create an EU army – another wrong answer to the wrong question. Defence is about the protection of nation-states through alliances, and the EU is not a nation state. Foreign policy, not spending policy, should do most to shape defence strategy.
- Martin Kettle, The Guardian
David Cameron has invented some impressive reasons for not taking part in the TV debates. To start with, he wouldn’t go on because the Green Party hadn’t been invited – in keeping with his lifelong commitment to the Greens. But when they were allowed on, after all, he demanded that the Democratic Unionists must be there as well. Next he’ll say, “Yes, but what about my great uncle Reg? He fought in the Korean War and doesn’t get out much. It would make a mockery of democracy not to let him on.”
- Mark Steel, The Independent
You can say what you like about the Liberal Democrats, but they do offer value for money. Which other party would offer dinner with a senior Cabinet member for just £7,650? The Tories charge six times as much and offer none of the advice about how to stop your donation being detected by the authorities. If you want to shape Labour Party policies, you need to be a trade union leader stumping up at least a million pounds a year. The Lib Dems seem to have become pioneers of affordable lobbying: friendly, cheap, no questions asked.
- Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph
Nigel Farage finds himself embroiled in yet another bogus race row simply for having the audacity to challenge the cosy consensus of our arrogant political elite. Even though his comments on extreme Islam and the need to prioritise British citizens in the jobs market will strike most people as eminently measured and reasonable, he has been greeted with a predictable, bovine chorus of ‘RAAY-CIST!’.
- Richard Littlejohn, Daily Mail
First the good news: racism is history! Yes, just like that. One minute a bunch of Chelsea fans are filmed refusing to let a black man into their Métro carriage, as if the last 40 years of slow progress towards enlightenment had never happened, the next: pffftt – pretty much sorted. Or at least this is the world according to Nigel Farage, who suggested in a TV interview with the former equalities watchdog chief Trevor Phillips that we could safely get rid of much equalities legislation because racism at work was no longer an issue.
- Gaby Hinsliff, The Guardian
Having restored some dignity to the victims, we have yet to learn not to glorify the killer - most particularly by not according him an identity that might secure him a place in folklore. That also means avoiding describing Emwazi as Isis's "star executioner" or saying that he "features" in the group's videos.
For six months we have been providing propaganda for Isis, and sprinkling words such as "evil", "vile", "depraved" around doesn't mitigate that failing.
- Emwazi is not a folk hero, let's stop treating him as if though were
Comment archive, 2015
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Minor party leaders
Rifkind and Straw
Chelsea and racism
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