The commentators 27-02-15
...on UK politics
With an entry fee of tens of thousands of pounds, Parliament is effectively closed to shop workers, manual workers and those from disadvantaged backgrounds. If you run a corner shop and want to improve your community, you’d balk at the amount of money you’d have to shell out yourself to do it. Today just 4 per cent of our MPs were manual workers before they entered Parliament, compared to 16 per cent in 1979.
- Isabel Hardman, The Independent
The unlikeliest graveyard of political ambition is university tuition fees. Labour broke a 2001 manifesto promise not to put them up, Michael Howard was saved from his reckless pledge to abolish them only by losing the 2005 election, and Nick Clegg has never recovered from his university apostasy. Tuition fees is one of those policies that the opposition opposes and the government implements, irrespective of which party is playing which role.
- Philip Collins, The Times
If we want immigration to carry on at the rate of around 300,000 a year, we can carry on as now. But if we don’t - if we think that this has an impact on public services, on housing, and on crime - then we need to take action to change it. That means one thing. We either get the EU to abandon its central tenet of free movement of labour. Or we leave. Anything else is hot air.
- Stephen Pollard, Daily Express
David Cameron’s pledge to reduce net migration to tens of thousands was rubbish. A pipe dream. A little Englander fantasy. But then, we always knew it was a fantasy. And we knew it was a fantasy for this reason: although David Cameron pledged to reduce immigration, he couldn’t, and he knew he couldn’t. There are many popular theories for why immigration to Britain is increasing. One favourite is the loucheness of our benefits system. Another – recently propagated by the Home Secretary herself – is the corruption of the student visa system. A third is an erosion of those stout sentinels that constitute the UK Border Force.
- Dan Hodges, Daily Telegraph
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
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Minor party leaders
Rifkind and Straw
Chelsea and racism
Anti-semitism and Islam
Religion and freedom