The commentators 03-12-15
...on Syrian airstrikes
The House of Commons has a reputation for rising to the occasion for great debates on the eve of war. But yesterday’s argument about whether British pilots should bomb in Syria was (with a handful of eloquent contributions, mainly from the backbenches) a squalid affair. This is entirely the fault of the Prime Minister. David Cameron should have been statesmanlike. Instead he was partisan. His remark to Tory MPs that ‘you should not be walking through the lobbies [ie voting] with Jeremy Corbyn and a bunch of terrorist sympathisers’ was unworthy of a British prime minister
- Peter Oborne, Daily Mail
Did Cameron make the case? The more certain he sounded about those disjointed 70,000 troops, the greater the lacunas of uncertainty. His vision of success had an ominously familiar ring as he promised “a reconstructed Syria with a government than can represent all the people”. Who could deny that’s an admirable goal? But remember, with a shudder, the Bush/Blair golden delusion of a new Iraq that would be the beacon of democracy radiating enlightenment across the entire Middle East. Every attempt Cameron made to suggest a neat and clear path to peace displayed that same Whitehall armchair delusion, so far removed from the Syrian chaos
- Polly Toynbee, The Guardian
There was so much that was unsatisfactory about yesterday’s debate. For all that it was billed a classic Commons occasion – Prime Minister’s Questions cancelled, a straight 10 hours cleared for speeches, unusual indulgence shown to placard-bearers on Parliament Square – the political prelude to UK air strikes on Syria fell short by a very long way of the calibre we saw and heard when MPs debated the Iraq War or, to go back much further, the Falklands. There was a pedestrian quality about many of the contributions
- Mary Dejevsky, The Independent
This is meant to be Jeremy Corbyn’s home turf – after all, he has spent most of the past three decades reciting the same old cant against supposed imperialism. Unfortunately for his supporters, we saw exactly why his 32 years of campaigning as an MP have borne so little fruit: it’s a weak case, which he isn’t very good at making
- Mark Wallace, The Guardian
The vote authorising British military action in Syria will have done much to assure Washington that the country of Winston Churchill can still summon up resolve to confront and defeat evils such as Islamic State. Those who say that Britain has no influence on America should remember what happened after David Cameron was defeated in the House of Commons in 2013. Britain’s failure to punish the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons undid the US’s resolve to act
- Tim Montgomerie, The 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
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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