The commentators 25-11-15
...on Russia in Syria
Any hopes the Paris atrocities would force the world’s leaders to put aside their differences over Syria’s devastating war and focus on wiping out Islamic State were dashed yesterday. Make no mistake: the potential consequences of Turkey’s decision to shoot a Russian fighter jet out of the sky for allegedly violating its airspace near the Syrian border are profoundly chilling. This unprecedented act by Turkey — the first time in 50 years a Nato country has brought down a Russian jet — is extraordinarily provocative
- John R. Bradley, Daily Mail
Whatever the rights and wrongs of the incident in which a Russian SU-24 fighter jet was shot down by the Turkish air force, this was an accident waiting to happen. Ever since Moscow announced that Russia was going to launch airstrikes on Syria, the risks were obvious. One, at the outset, was the danger that poor coordination between Russia and all the other forces operating in Syrian airspace would lead to the US, for instance, downing a Russian plane (or vice versa), even though both sides insisted they were fighting the common enemy, Islamic State
- Mary Dejevsky, The Guardian
The skies over Syria have become a kind of Chiswick roundabout for war machines. Thronged with fighter jets whose commanders are at political odds, the region presents perfect conditions for a prang between East and West. Many non-interventionists will say that yesterday’s clash between Turkey and Russia shows why Britain shouldn’t join in bombing raids on Islamic State in Syria. Their case is not compelling, though: the Russian plane was shot down because of the way Moscow pretends to strike at Isis while in fact hitting other opponents of their client dictator Bashar al-Assad
- Roger Boyes, The Times
Turkey has no interest in the peaceful settlement to the conflict in Syria that world powers are negotiating. As it gets desperate, Turkey will attempt to bring focus back on the Assad regime and reverse the losses it has made both in Syria and geopolitically. The decision to bring down the Russian jet is, therefore, likely to have had other political factors behind it - particularly since the jet, as far as we know, posed no immediate threat to Turkey’s national security
- Ranj Alaaldin, The Independent
Vladimir Putin’s belief that he could conduct Russia’s dealings in Syria with arrogant disregard for other regional concerns resulted in yesterday’s disaster. But as the world knows only too well from bitter experience, fundamental misunderstandings of this kind are how world wars get started
- Con Coughlin, Daily Telegraph
This is not yet a crisis, and if what took place is allowed to fester — or worse yet escalate — Isis will be the big winner. Turkey is unlikely to fall out with Russia, on which it depends for gas. But this distraction might sidetrack the effort to build a better international response to the militant Islamist group in the wake of the Paris attacks
- Richard Haass, Financial Times
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
Britain and Europe
Sinai jet crash
Lords v Commons
Xi Jinping visit
Xi Jinping's visit
Virginia TV shootings
Boris Johnson, Greece
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