eiDaily Digest – Ukraine, UK Politics & Metropolitan Police– 10th March

10 Mar 14 | Daily Digest


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Monday 10th March 2014 (UK edition)
Comment Headlines
Top three stories dominating today’s op-ed columns…


In the FT Lawrence Summers, a former US Treasury secretary and now a professor at Harvard, thinks functioning institutions cannot be imposed from the outside. Countries and their peoples shape their own destinies. Still, there are important lessons for the design of support programmes. In the International New York Times, author Amelia M Glaser, associate professor of Russian literature at the University of California, says Mr Putin may be betting on the fascists and anti-Semites, but those who support a democratic Ukraine see the opportunity for democracy in a diverse society. In the same paper Padraic Kenney, professor of international studies at Indiana University, thinks Poland’s perspective on Ukraine is from very close up. Poles, too, have seen their territory taken and blood spilled on city squares. In The Daily Telegraph, Boris Johnson imagines a visit to Putin by the
ghost of Stalin who declares he will execute Putin for gross betrayal of the Soviet Union over its breakup and the attack on Crimea.


Andy Beckett says in the Guardian that Scotland’s final reckoning with Thatcherism has yet to happen. That may not come at the referendum but afterwards, with an SNP administration having to choose between its contradictory commitments both to low taxation and semi-Scandinavian state spending. In The Daily Telegraph David Skelton, director of Conservative campaign group Renewal, says a Budget that delivers a higher minimum wage, pulls more of the poorest out of tax and ensures that only genuine high earners are paying the higher rate of tax would be bold and radical. John McTernan, former political adviser to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, says in The Times that the way government works is that you get the ministerial office, the car and the red box. And you get the blame as well. What the Liberal Democrats are trying to do is to decouple themselves – not from the Tories, which is
understandable, but from their real record i

n office. In the Daily Express, Leo McKinstry thinks certainly there is no reason for the Tories to despair at the moment. One of the great myths of British politics is that sitting governments are certain to sink into fatal unpopularity.


Melanie Phillips says in The Times that trust in the Met is now said to be at risk of collapse. But Macpherson itself played no small part in the crisis now engulfing the police. In the Guardian Owen Jones thinks Londoners need a force devoted to protecting their security, which treats all sections of the community equally, and which enjoys the consent and trust of everyone. It’s all over for the Met, and time to debate the police force that London deserves. In the FT Peter Neyroud, former chief constable of Thames Valley Police, believes control of the police should be delegated to local authorities in the area where they work. We need a chartered profession, with tough standards and a clear route out for those who fail to meet them.

Book of the day

Robert Phillips

Head of Chambers, Jericho Chambers

‘Djibouti’ by Elmore Leonard

“I love the tautness of his writing”

Leader Lines
The most interesting leaders of the day…


The Times asks if an ambulance service should be best understood as a speedy taxi service to A&E, or as an alternative to A&E altogether. The quality of care available in ambulances is unrecognisably better than it was even two decades ago. The fact that the service is so bad nevertheless shows how urgently reform to the system is required.

2. UKIP:

The Guardian asks how seriously we should take the rise of Ukip since Mr Farage took over. A book that examines the party’s nature by Matthew Goodwin and Robert Ford comes out this week. The fundamental instincts of Ukip supporters, as set out by Mr Goodwin and Mr Ford, will have little appeal to Guardian readers. But a moderate, open and tolerant Britain ought to acknowledge that the fears and discontents of these dispossessed deserve to be given a hearing. Better to have them investing in their own way in the broad democratic process than joining the ranks of that steadily growing political grouping, the Why Bothers, also known as the Will Not Votes.


The Daily Telegraph thinks that in a digital age, no one entertainment provider enjoys a monopoly on our viewing habits worthy of a mandatory subsidy, and nor should it be used to finance online news content that undermines newspapers. If viewers want to watch and listen to the output of a broadcaster committed to “inform, educate and entertain”, then they will pay for it.

What the Bloggertariat
is saying today


Picking battles

View website

Stumbling and Mumbling

Ukip’s strange “libertarianism”

View website

Coffee House

I’m not surprised at David Cameron’s Nepalese nanny

View website

Comment Cornucopia
Some of the wide-ranging topics covered today…


Kevin Maguire in the Mirror thinks the Rochdale Pioneers must be turning in their graves as shameful corporate greed spreads to the Co-operative Group. Details of its bosses enriching themselves are grotesque, tarnishing the ethical reputation of our of our nation’s greatest retailers. At the top it’s infected by the grasping practice of soaring salaries and perks that are a symptom of a rotten business culture.


Yasmin Alibhai-Brown says in the Independent that Saudi Arabia is an evil empire, as are other Gulf States. In these nations the oppression of women is institutionalised and embedded. A Human Rights Watch report states unambiguously that Saudi rulers have failed to protect nine million females and nine million foreign workers. Although there is now the first ever female editor of a newspaper, Saudi Arabia is a hellhole, its rules and rulers – best mates with our politicians – monsters. When Muslims go on pilgrimage to Mecca, men and women perform the rituals together. But in the country where Islam’s most precious shrine is located, there is no basic humanity extended to daughters, sisters, mothers and grandmothers.


In The Sun. Trevor Kavanagh says the image of a red-faced judge caught in scandalous circumstances in full wig and breeches is the stuff of music hall comedy. Today it almost comes to life in the florid figure of Lord Justice Fulford who stands exposed, allegedly, as the willing mouthpiece for perverts and paedophiles. But this is no joke. People might question whether a judge who was once unable to see the difference between an equal age of consent for adults and legalised abuse of children should sit in judgment on cases involving precisely these questions.

Tweet Comment of the Day


The Brokenshire speech was definitely sent to No. 10 in advance, I’m told. But did they read it?

Tomorrow’s comment forecast
Come rain or shine there will be comment tomorrow. What might prompt it?

Jobs guarantee…Ukraine…Syria


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