The commentators 17-07-15
...on UK politics
It’s looking to be a wonderful summer for Conservatives with a taste for Schadenfreude. First, the Tories unexpectedly win a majority and the Liberal Democrats collapse. Next, a fresh eurozone crisis opens a world of possibilities for David Cameron when he comes to renegotiate Britain’s EU membership. And now, Labour seems to have turned suicidal. The latest news from its leadership contest is that Jeremy Corbyn (above), originally assumed to be a joke candidate, is leading internal opinion polls. To the Tories, it really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
- Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph
If the UK wants to return to the forefront and lead a medium-sized power on the world stage, Labour must come across as a political force able to recast the country as a confident international actor, not one that hesitates about who it wants to side with and which club it wants to be in, constantly bemoans past mistakes, nurtures nostalgia, or struggles to set itself clear, ambitious goals.
- Natalie Nougayrède, The Guardian
It is often said that Labour should cut its link with the unions, to symbolise that it is a modern social democratic party with a wide funding base, just like its counterparts in France and Germany. But the case for de-coupling applies just as well to the unions. Worker representation still counts and members are being let down by their leaders. That failure extends to the link with Labour which would be a more credible ally to trade unionism if it was now uncoupled from trade unions. The relationship no longer looks like that of a healthy horse to a sturdy wagon.
- Philip Collins, The Times
The Tory majority was a lovely surprise for the party, but it still hasn’t quite realised how unlovely governing with such a small number of MPs will be. The Tory whips group rebels according to whether they are sincere or “opportunists”. At present they can rely on the bulk of the party feeling cheerful and loyal, but as time wears on and more of those cheery new MPs are disappointed by reshuffles, then so the rebel group grows. And though the whips are working hard to stop embarrassing defeats by pulling votes, they are encouraging further bad behaviour in the long run.
- Isabel Hardman, The Independent
Sometimes the murder of a journalist shocks people to such an extent that they take to the streets to protest - as with the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists in France and Abdel Karim al-Khewani in Yemen. Sometimes, as with the Isis victims in their orange jumpsuits, the killings are filmed and used as propaganda.
Often, however, the death goes unremarked and uninvestigated. A couple of men ride up on a motorbike and fire a few shots at the target as he or she is leaving the office, arriving home or simply waiting at a bus stop - summary retribution for exposing a corrupt politician or crossing a criminal.
In the first half of this year, sixty media workers around the world were killed while doing their jobs.
Editor's blog: Death and dishonour
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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