Boris: we don't need water cannon and rubber bullets

"Common sense, traditional" British policing worked during the riots, says the Mayor.

Boris Johnson has been giving evidence on the riots to the home affairs select committee for the last half hour, and already there have been several noteworthy moments. The Mayor of London announced that the new head of the Metropolitan police would be named on Monday (you can read an interview with one of the frontrunners, Sir Hugh Orde, here) and said that he "regretted" the fact that Paul Stephenson had to resign as commissioner.

There was an uncomfortable moment when Keith Vaz, the Labour chair of the committee, asked Boris why it took him so long to return from his holiday in Canada. The Mayor explained that he was "stuck in the Rocky Mountains with a camper van" but returned as soon as it became clear that events were not "dying down". Vaz mischievously noted that he landed on British soil "after the Home Secretary but before the Prime Minister", to which Boris replied: "that may well be the case".

Johnson was also asked whether he agreed with calls from some MPs for water cannon and rubber bullets to be deployed in the future (polls showed that 90 per cent of the public supported the use of the former). He replied that the police were able to contain serious disturbances with "robust, common sense, traditional British policing" and that this should be regarded as a great achievement. Significantly, he added that he was not being lobbied by the police "for a greater panoply of weapons". It looks like the 33 per cent of the public who wanted the police to shoot the rioters with live ammunition will remain disappointed.

Boris suggested that what the police needed was greater support from society but, perhaps surprisingly, did not use this as an opportunity to polemicise against the coalition's police cuts. Finally, asked how much the riots cost the Met, Johnson gave a figure of £35.5m before agreeing with Vaz that the cost rises to £74m if you include the "opportunity costs" (those on riot duty were not available for other work). The Treasury, he suggested, will pick up the tab in full.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Hillary Clinton can take down the Donald Trump bogeyman - but she's up against the real thing

Donald Trump still has time to transform. 

Eight years later than hoped, Hillary Clinton finally ascended to the stage at the Democratic National Convention and accepted the nomination for President. 

Like her cheerleaders, the Obamas, she was strongest when addressing the invisible bogeyman - her rival for President, Donald Trump. 

Clinton looked the commander in chief when she dissed The Donald's claims to expertise on terrorism. 

Now Donald Trump says, and this is a quote, "I know more about ISIS than the generals do"

No, Donald, you don't.

He thinks that he knows more than our military because he claimed our armed forces are "a disaster."

Well, I've had the privilege to work closely with our troops and our veterans for many years.

Trump boasted that he alone could fix America. "Isn't he forgetting?" she asked:

Troops on the front lines. Police officers and fire fighters who run toward danger. Doctors and nurses who care for us. Teachers who change lives. Entrepreneurs who see possibilities in every problem.

Clinton's message was clear: I'm a team player. She praised supporters of her former rival for the nomination, Bernie Sanders, and concluded her takedown of Trump's ability as a fixer by declaring: "Americans don't say: 'I alone can fix it.' We say: 'We'll fix it together.'"

Being the opposite of Trump suits Clinton. As she acknowledged in her speech, she is not a natural public performer. But her cool, policy-packed speech served as a rebuke to Trump. She is most convincing when serious, and luckily that sets her apart from her rival. 

The Trump in the room with her at the convention was a boorish caricature, a man who describes women as pigs. "There is no other Donald Trump," she said. "This is it."

Clinton and her supporters are right to focus on personality. When it comes to the nuclear button, most fair-minded people on both left and right would prefer to give the decision to a rational, experienced character over one who enjoys a good explosion. 

But the fact is, outside of the convention arena, Trump still controls the narrative on Trump.

Trump has previously stated clearly his aim to "pivot" to the centre. He has declared that he can change "to anything I want to change to".  In his own speech, Trump forewent his usual diatribe for statistics about African-American children in poverty. He talked about embracing "crying mothers", "laid-off factory workers" and making sure "all of our kids are treated equally". His wife Melania opted for a speech so mainstream it was said to be borrowed from Michelle Obama. 

His personal attacks have also narrowed. Where once his Twitter feed was spattered with references to "lying Ted Cruz" and "little Marco Rubio", now the bile is focused on one person: "crooked Hillary Clinton". Just as Clinton defines herself against a caricature of him, so Trump is defining himself against one of her. 

Trump may not be able to maintain a more moderate image - at a press conference after his speech, he lashed out at his former rival, Ted Cruz. But if he can tone down his rhetoric until November, he will no longer be the bogeyman Clinton can shine so brilliantly against.