Michelle Obama speech didn't do women any favours

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Opinion Digest: female pols pushed to sidelines, plus opposing views of Tory economic strategy

LAST UPDATED AT 11:47 ON Thu 6 Sep 2012

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WE NEED FEMALE POLS, NOT PODIUM WIVES
JOAN SMITH ON MICHELLE OBAMA'S SPEECH
Michelle Obama's speech to the Democratic convention reminds us that we need more female politicians, not more podium time for political wives, says Joan Smith in The Independent. It's not a good time to be a woman on either side of the Atlantic. Tellingly, Michelle felt the need to dismiss that she holds any political influence in the Obama household, describing herself simply as "mom-in-chief". In Britain, we are also growing used to seeing women pushed to the sidelines. In this week's cabinet reshuffle, Cheryl Gillan, Caroline Spelman and Baroness Warsi all lost their jobs. They cannot claim to have the strongest record in government, but neither do the men who stayed firmly put. George Osborne has destroyed all hope of economic recovery and Jeremy Hunt's list of misdemeanours is too long to consider. We are in an age where the space for women to speak out boldly grows increasingly restricted.

DON'T BOO – OSBORNE'S ON THE RIGHT PATH
JEREMY WARNER ON THE ECONOMY
George Osborne's disastrous reception at the Paralympics may have showed just how unpopular he has become, but it is crucial that we trust the direction of his reforms, writes Jeremy Warner in The Daily Telegraph. Mainstream business and international opinion is beginning to sing from the Labour hymn sheet but to believe that the left has the answer is "dangerous poppycock". Fix the banking sector, they say, and our problems will be solved. But to believe that the crisis can be corrected by simply doing more of what got countries into this mess is to descend into fantasy. We need to support the coalition as it tries to move away from half-measures on supply-side reform. Something more radical is required to restore growth, but don't be surprised if conditions have to grow a great deal worse before we trust our leaders to do the right thing.

A MANSION TAX MAKES SENSE
INDEPENDENT EDITORIAL ON THE ECONOMY
Ed Miliband and Ed Balls are starting to show signs that they will develop an economic alternative that can be taken seriously, says an editorial in The Independent. Wisely, shadow chancellor Balls has avoided making detailed commitments to date, emphasising that none of his team can make truthful spending pledges in the current febrile context. But where detail has emerged, Balls is quietly impressive. There is a powerful case to be made for his support of a mansion tax, both on grounds of fairness and because of the urgent need to raise revenue which is easily collectable. It would also be a point of common ground with the Lib Dems, and one on which the two parties can forge a new partnership to take them into the next election. For Labour's shadow cabinet, the big tests of policy-making and positioning are still to come. But this is an encouraging start. · 

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