Protest in Egypt: world-view

A round-up of some of the best comment and analysis so far.

As protests continue in Egypt, here is a selection of the wide-ranging opinions that have been expressed in the UK, US and Middle Eastern press.

Zaineb al-Assam, head of Middle East and North Africa forecasting at Exclusive Analysis, gives an assessment to Reuters (31 January) about the likelihood of further protest in the Middle East.

Amira Nowaira, professor of English literature at Alexandria University, writes in the Guardian (31 January) that the Egyptian people refuse to be "cowed" by the regime's desperate measures to enforce submission.

Amr Shalakany, associate professor of law at the American University in Cairo, writes in the Guardian (30 January) that the revolution is independent of "any political party" or the Muslim Brotherhood.

A Jerusalem Post editorial (31 January) takes the opposite view:

Besides the Muslim Brotherhood or political parties taken over by it, there is not a single significant organised political movement in Egypt that can muster a large enough constituency to present a coherent alternative to the present regime.

In an article by Will Englund, writing in the Washington Post (31 January), the Muslim Brotherhood argues that it is only a "bit player" in the resistance.

Marwan Muasher, former foreign minister and deputy prime minister of Jordan and vice-president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, writes in the Observer (30 January):

Unless Arab leaders, who so far are reluctant to give up their absolute power and lives of privilege, take immediate steps to improve democratic and political rights, the Arab world is destined for more crises.

Oliver Miles, a diplomat who has served extensively in the Middle East and North Africa, writes in the Independent (30 January) that "it is encouraging that" we are hearing "voices of Christians and Muslims; scarcely a sign of political extremism dressed up as Islam".

Show Hide image

Lord Sainsbury pulls funding from Progress and other political causes

The longstanding Labour donor will no longer fund party political causes. 

Centrist Labour MPs face a funding gap for their ideas after the longstanding Labour donor Lord Sainsbury announced he will stop financing party political causes.

Sainsbury, who served as a New Labour minister and also donated to the Liberal Democrats, is instead concentrating on charitable causes. 

Lord Sainsbury funded the centrist organisation Progress, dubbed the “original Blairite pressure group”, which was founded in mid Nineties and provided the intellectual underpinnings of New Labour.

The former supermarket boss is understood to still fund Policy Network, an international thinktank headed by New Labour veteran Peter Mandelson.

He has also funded the Remain campaign group Britain Stronger in Europe. The latter reinvented itself as Open Britain after the Leave vote, and has campaigned for a softer Brexit. Its supporters include former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and Labour's Chuka Umunna, and it now relies on grassroots funding.

Sainsbury said he wished to “hand the baton on to a new generation of donors” who supported progressive politics. 

Progress director Richard Angell said: “Progress is extremely grateful to Lord Sainsbury for the funding he has provided for over two decades. We always knew it would not last forever.”

The organisation has raised a third of its funding target from other donors, but is now appealing for financial support from Labour supporters. Its aims include “stopping a hard-left take over” of the Labour party and “renewing the ideas of the centre-left”. 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

0800 7318496