Boris as Tory leader is a joke: Gove has serious advantages

Comment

Opinion digest: Cameron's eventual replacement, the petty Today programme, Prince Charles's letters

LAST UPDATED AT 12:16 ON Thu 18 Oct 2012

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BORIS AS TORY LEADER IS A JOKE
LOUISE MENSCH ON THE REAL CONTENDER
Speculation over Boris Johnson replacing David Cameron as Conservative leader is a joke, writes Louise Mensch in The Times. "Nobody in the Conservative tea room discusses replacing Dave with Boris. But people do discuss likely successors." And Michael Gove is one of the most respected contenders. "Where Boris is amusing and affable, Michael is as serious as an Exocet missile, saving his wit for private parties. This demeanour looks a lot more prime ministerial than joking does." Johnson might not suffer from his privileged background, but Gove's life story is impervious to Labour's ‘toff' attacks. Gove was adopted, brought up by a Labour-supporting family, and went to a state school. He only went to private school later because he won a scholarship. "Most significant, however, is Europe. Mr Johnson is far more pro-EU than Mr Cameron or Mr Gove. In a leadership contest, the authentically sceptical Mr Gove will have a serious advantage."

TODAY PROGRAMME IS TIRED AND PETTY
SUZANNE MOORE ON GOING LIVE AT THE BBC
"I had a ding–dong with Mehdi Hasan on the Today programme this week over his views on whether you can be pro-life and leftwing," says Suzanne Moore in The Guardian. I had been reluctant to participate. "I don't listen to the show because rather like Newsnight at its worst, the ‘let's have a heated debate' structure is tired and goes nowhere... the Oxbridgey petty point-scoring, the bland but set-up confrontations and lack of honesty is precisely what puts many off politics." This time, John Humphrys was chairing. "I pointed out that here we were on a programme that has a poor record of female participation, with two men and one woman discussing abortion." Men can and do discuss abortion and are involved as partners and medics. "What I would prefer, though, is for women to lead the discussion rather than sit there while men discuss what we are permitted to do. The Today programme, with its adversarial setup, was never going to do that and I should have known better."

WE KNOW MORE THAN WE THINK
STEVE RICHARDS ON PRINCE CHARLES'S LETTERS
Publication of Prince Charles's letters to government ministers would do no more than confirm what we know already, says Steve Richards in The Independent. We know his views on farming, hunting, architecture and the environment and we know he opposed the policies of the last Labour government. We even know the form the Prince's revenge took. Neither Tony Blair nor Gordon Brown were invited to the Royal Wedding last year - "a puny but harmless act of spite". Charles and his letters are relatively trivial. "Nearly always we know more than we think we know." Look at how much information about Jimmy Savile's behaviour was in the public domain before the recent uproar: a Louis Theroux documentary and John Simpson's memoir hinted at child abuse. "Indeed, the overwhelming problem in the internet age is the availability of too much information rather than too little. And yet our appetite for more on topics when we already know enough is apparently insatiable." · 

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