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Daily View: The problems with politics

Clare Spencer | 09:24 UK time, Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Newspaper commentators discuss the problems with politics.

In the Guardian, George Monbiot finds fault with Fleet Street:

"The most pernicious lie in politics is that the press is a democratising force. Journalists congratulate themselves for promoting democracy even as they seek to shut it down. Witness the frantic campaigns in the Mail, Telegraph, Sun and Express to crush Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats. He's no firebrand, but the rightwing press knows the Lib Dems would introduce proportional representation and a fairer party funding system. The press barons would no longer be able to push an unrepresentative party into office or easily manipulate it once it's there."

Professor of politics at the University of Strathclyde, John Curtice explains in the Independent how voting reform is in a Catch-22 situation:

"[U]under Labour's proposed alternative, not only would the party that was third in votes still come first in seats, but in addition the party that came first in votes would be a poor third in seats. One wonders whether voters will regard this as an improvement."

Dominic Lawson says in the Independent that image and class preconceptions continue to affect politics:

"Oh dear, the curse of the Bullingdon Club strikes again. Photographs taken at the wedding last weekend of David Cameron's younger sister show the aspirant prime minister wearing 'a business suit', surrounded by a number of other guests more properly attired. No prizes for working out that it wasn't absent-mindedness behind the Conservative leader's sartorial solecism: he just couldn't afford to be seen looking as he did in those now censored photographs of Oxford's Bullingdon Club, circa 1986. Actually, that's not quite right. It would have done David Cameron no harm at all to be pictured in full morning suit - but he obviously didn't feel comfortable if even a subliminal echo of his youthful 'upper-class' posturing filtered through to the electorate."

Stephen Graubard in the Financial Times argues [subscription required] that the TV debate illustrates that British leaders need to rise above banality before they can interact on the world stage:

"For those acquainted with the situation across the Atlantic, it is clear that the UK does not today boast a political leadership that can compete effectively with Washington or negotiate with an administration that is no longer as Anglophilic as in the past. One does not need to be a fan of President Barack Obama to realise that his charisma is of a different order from what is on offer in the UK. For years after the second world war, Britain's political leadership compared favourably with America's. It no longer does. The UK would do well to consider what this portends."

Aditya Chakrabortty expresses frustration in the Guardian that politicians of different parties seldom agree but thinks he knows why:

"The answer may be simple: when it comes to morality, Conservatives are from Mars and lefties are from Venus. They struggle to agree - on the importance of marriage, say, or the wrongness of homosexuality - because they do not share the same basic sense of right and wrong."

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