The commentators 07-12-15
A revenge reshuffle; death threats on Twitter; activist-arrivistes wanting to deselect MPs who have served for decades; a leader saying there will be “no hiding place” for the 66 MPs who voted for Syrian air strikes. If this is the new politics, it looks like all the worst bits of the old politics, only now with the added stress of a high-pitched whining, as the spitfires of the Labour party’s left and right battle for its moral high ground. Neither will succeed: they forgot to tend their high ground, and it is now inhabited by greens and junior doctors. The problem is the idea of the “new politics”. Jeremy Corbyn, having promised change, had to embody the opposite of everything we hate. He had to do more than opt out of the yah-boo, smug sixth-form wordplay of the House of Commons. He also had to be endlessly kind, perfectly transparent, consistent and truthful – and attract no followers who didn’t share these qualities
- Zoe Williams, The Guardian
Labour didn’t win the Oldham by-election because of Jeremy Corbyn: even he hasn’t tried to claim that, though those involved in the campaign say only one group of white working-class voters had a real problem with his leadership, and some rather liked him. The party won because its very impressive local candidate Jim McMahon had worked out how to address the problems facing Labour even in safe seats. Chief among those problems is an increasing disconnect between patriotic English voters and the party they traditionally supported
- Isabel Hardman, The Times
The new politics may be more volatile; voters are less tribally loyal and more likely to shop around. But our anachronistic first-past-the-post electoral system is a massive deterrent for anyone thinking about forming a new party. In May, Ukip won 3.9 million votes and the Greens 1.2 million; they both got one MP. The Conservatives won’t change the voting system; until it is changed, the new politics will end up looking remarkably like the old politics. The irony is that, in what appears to be an era of multi-party politics, some senior Labour and Lib Dem figures fear we are heading for a virtual one-party state, with a long period of Tory rule
- Andrew Grice, The Independent
Only a few years ago, the puff would have been chucked out the moment the scale of a story like this became apparent, partly as a matter of taste and partly to maximise the potential for display and give the story room to breathe.
Last night only the Telegraph dispensed with the blurb - and that decision may have been influenced by the oversized ad at the foot of the page. The Times had signed up Bake-Off's Nadiya and wasn't about to surrender a millimetre of her promo. The Guardian was similarly wedded to its taste of autumn and the Mail to its Lego toy... but journalism was still the winner
How the papers covered the Paris attacks
Comment Awards, 2015
Teenage ebola diarist honoured
Tuesday 24 November, 2015
A 13-year-old girl whose diary of life during the ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone made the Observer splash became the youngest winner at the EI Comment Awards in London today.
Bintu Sannoh was named young commentariat of the year for this piece about the crisis and two further articles about the stigma and poverty and hunger that came in the wake of the disease. Six months later she was able to return to school - but she writes about how everything had changed, with only a third of pupils having survived.
Janan Ganesh emerged the sole double winner of the morning as the Financial Times took pride of place at the ceremony at the RIBA headquarters. He won the top accolade of commentariat of the year, having earlier been named political commentator of 2015.
His paper won the award for the best comment pages, Gillian Tett was business commentator and Michael Skapinker won the new prize for business ethics commentary.
The Times also claimed a clutch of prizes: David Aaronovitch was honoured for comment piece of the year for this article after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, Jenni Russell won the new diversity award, Hugo Rifkind was arts and culture commentator and Sathnam Sanghera media commentator (in succession to SubScribe).
Other winners included Simon Jenkins, Gary Younge and Cory Doctorow of the Guardian, Allister Heath of the Telegraph, Channel 4, and the science writer Philip Ball.
The chairman's award went to Andrew Rawnsley, of the Observer, while the Sun punctured the domination of the broadsheets (even if few of them are physically broadsheets these days) by winning the eiDigest special award for its leader column.
SubScribe was honoured and surprised to find a place on the individual blogger shortlist, but delighted to see the award go to Matthew Scott, whose excellent Barrister Blogger can be seen here
You can see all the winners here and the full shortlists here.
Comment archive, 2015
Labour and Syria
Russia in Syria
Strategic defence review
Britain and Europe
Sinai jet crash
Lords v Commons
Xi Jinping visit
Xi Jinping's visit
Virginia TV shootings
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