Picture of the day

How the Times got it right this morning.

To whoever made the call to use this photo on the front of today's Times: take a bow.

It shows Barack Obama and his inner circle (including VP Joe Biden, the defence secretary, Robert Gates, and – hand on mouth – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton) as they watch the raid on Osama Bin Laden play out.

Released by the White House late last night and undoubtedly intended to reinforce the narrative of a commander-in-chief in complete control of events, the picture won't be to all tastes or political persuasions.

But it fits the Times's take on the story and delivers where the rest of Fleet Street did not. Namely, it provides a dramatic insider's view of events and, crucially for a daily newspaper competing against the near-real-time news cycle of the web, it helps move the story on – a story that is more than 24 hours old.

This image nods to the "story of the story" rather than simply the news you woke up to yesterday morning.

The Times front page in later editons, 3 May 2011

 

Earlier editions of the Times followed the pack (as you can see in the montage below) by featuring an image of Bin Laden from the archive. Somebody at News International clearly thought it didn't do enough.

 

 

Jon Bernstein, former deputy editor of New Statesman, is a digital strategist and editor. He tweets @Jon_Bernstein. 

Getty Images.
Show Hide image

Tom Watson rouses Labour's conference as he comes out fighting

The party's deputy leader exhilarated delegates with his paean to the Blair and Brown years. 

Tom Watson is down but not out. After Jeremy Corbyn's second landslide victory, and weeks of threats against his position, Labour's deputy leader could have played it safe. Instead, he came out fighting. 

With Corbyn seated directly behind him, he declared: "I don't know why we've been focusing on what was wrong with the Blair and Brown governments for the last six years. But trashing our record is not the way to enhance our brand. We won't win elections like that! And we need to win elections!" As Watson won a standing ovation from the hall and the platform, the Labour leader remained motionless. When a heckler interjected, Watson riposted: "Jeremy, I don't think she got the unity memo." Labour delegates, many of whom hail from the pre-Corbyn era, lapped it up.

Though he warned against another challenge to the leader ("we can't afford to keep doing this"), he offered a starkly different account of the party's past and its future. He reaffirmed Labour's commitment to Nato ("a socialist construct"), with Corbyn left isolated as the platform applauded. The only reference to the leader came when Watson recalled his recent PMQs victory over grammar schools. There were dissenting voices (Watson was heckled as he praised Sadiq Khan for winning an election: "Just like Jeremy Corbyn!"). But one would never have guessed that this was the party which had just re-elected Corbyn. 

There was much more to Watson's speech than this: a fine comic riff on "Saturday's result" (Ed Balls on Strictly), a spirited attack on Theresa May's "ducking and diving; humming and hahing" and a cerebral account of the automation revolution. But it was his paean to Labour history that roused the conference as no other speaker has. 

The party's deputy channelled the spirit of both Hugh Gaitskell ("fight, and fight, and fight again to save the party we love") and his mentor Gordon Brown (emulating his trademark rollcall of New Labour achivements). With his voice cracking, Watson recalled when "from the sunny uplands of increasing prosperity social democratic government started to feel normal to the people of Britain". For Labour, a party that has never been further from power in recent decades, that truly was another age. But for a brief moment, Watson's tubthumper allowed Corbyn's vanquished opponents to relive it. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.