The commentators 23-02-15
...on world affairs
Some have asked, with incredulity, about the appeal to young British girls of Isis. Is it really so hard to discern the attractions of a journey, especially one with an altruistic and religious purpose, to girls who may have led very sheltered lives? It will sound insensitive, but the close embrace of their devoted families may be part of what these girls, and others who have made the same journey, sought to escape. A teenager who regularly accesses dozens of Islamist websites unbeknown to her family is living, to an extent, a secret life.
Yet how far should the state restrict individuals’ travel because the authorities disapprove of the traveller’s purpose? One definition of a free country is the right to leave it. Is possessing an air ticket to Turkey to become a suspect activity in itself?
- Mary Dejevsky, The Guardian
The female Isis jihadis are no different from all those women who seem to go for men and messages outside the civilised norms. It may be madly exciting but for most, anguish will surely follow and then death or desolation without end.
- Yasmin Alibhai Brown, The Independent
The eurozone is at last imposing the economic discipline it should have insisted on at the outset and will either fail or become effectively a country. Over the next few years, Croatia, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Romania are all set to join the euro, leaving Britain much more isolated in the non-euro EU. All the more reason for us to leave the political arrangements of Brussels and become a member of the European Economic Area, the economic union, instead. But that’s another story.
- Matt Ridley, The Times
The compromise reached in Brussels on the extension of the Greek bailout was not the deal the new Syriza government sought. Its negotiating position was weak for two reasons. On Friday, Greek depositors transferred more than €1bn of bank deposits abroad. The bank system would have collapsed within days without an extension. And Athens had no plan for a euro exit. It had no choice but to cut a deal in which the Germans prevailed on all the substantive issues.
- Wolfgang Munchau, Financial Times
The general election means 2015 is a critical year for Britain. It is also a critical year for the world on climate change. Within months of Britain voting, the UN is holding a summit in Paris to agree a binding global agreement to tackle climate change. But there is a real danger that this great chance to achieve action is going to slip by, without the world even noticing. That might suit some politicians at home but it will be a disaster for our country and the world.
- Ed Miliband, The Guardian
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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Chelsea and racism
Anti-semitism and Islam
Religion and freedom