The New Statesman’s rolling politics blog


Five of the Best

The top five comment pieces from today's papers

The Times's Hugo Rifkind attacks the media's bullying of Gordon Brown:

The Sun abused Neil Kinnock and everybody abused John Major, and obviously this PM isn't the first politician to be ridiculed. But there's a sense with him that we're not just after a change, or a resignation, but an actual personal collapse.

In the Daily Telegraph, Vernon Bogdanor says that, with the Conservatives needing an 8 per cent swing to win the election, Gordon Brown should focus on retaining power in a hung parliament. But he warns that the odds are against a Labour-Lib Dem agreement:

A coalition would be acceptable to the voters only if it were based on clear principles rather than being an expedient to keep two discredited parties in government . . .Ideally, a coalition agreement would be negotiated before the election. The trouble is that no party wishes publicly to concede that it may not win outright. So a pre-election agreement is unlikely.

The Independent's Steve Richards detects signs of a Labour revival but cautions the party against a war with the Sun:

Labour still needs to tread carefully. The response of some senior figures was even more dated as they baited the Sun in their speeches to angry, rapturous applause, as they used to do in the 1980s. In modern Britain, if there is a battle between elected politicians and a non-elected media empire, there will be only one winner. It will not be the elected politicians. There is nothing in it for Labour in going to war with the Sun.

The Economist's Bagehot column says that the irony of Gordon Brown's "big choice" election is that the gap between the two parties has continued to narrow:

[M]uch of the substance beneath the slogans is similar, too. The principal debate is no longer about "Labour investment versus Tory cuts". It is Labour cuts versus Tory cuts . . . There is indeed a disagreement about when the cutting should begin; further contrasts may be drawn in the government's pre-Budget report later this autumn. But the blood-curdling warnings cannot disguise the essential symmetry of the two parties' positions.

In the Times, Peter Riddell has ten tips for David Cameron if he wins the next election. Here is one of them:

Don't rush. You will be exhausted after the campaign. Other countries with similar political systems, such as Australia and Canada, delay the handover for a few days, or even a week or two. Even if you cannot resist becoming Prime Minister on the Friday after the election, take the weekend off, and appoint most of the government the next week.


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