Romney, riots and the royal family

I didn’t write an editorial for our short and sweet handover issue, so here is my formal introduction.

In the style of an in-flight safety presentation: hello my name is Mandy – I mean Ciara – and I’ll be your Comment editor this year. This issue features opinion pieces on topics and news items that featured this summer.

When families and decent TV programmes evacuate for the summer, big and important news stories and events don’t pause for a break. This summer’s news, with its various controversies, didn’t fail to disappoint.

In Russia, the protest punk group Pussy Riot brought their government’s problematic freedom of speech policy to the forefront of global scrutiny. The balaclava-clad group kicked their way into the media after a performance of one of their songs was audaciously performed in a Moscow cathedral.

Three members were soon jailed for for hooliganism. In court they showed no bowed heads, but instead the protesters beamed with confidence as they were sentenced.

The song was directed at the Russian Orthodox Church’s support for president Vladimir Putin. Since their arrest, their protest is no longer confined to a church and their argument has powered its way onto the world’s television screens. The constitutional question mark now hangs over the globe.

Meanwhile, in America, the electoral race was gathering speed with Mitt Romney’s worldwide foot-in-mouth tour. Obama coined the rather observant remark that: “Romney’s strategy is to shoot first and take aim later.”

Obama’s profile was being further raised by a glittering range of famous supporters. For those who care less about the future public services and the economy, and more about who is a big deal right now, you might like to know that Scarlett Johansson like totally went out there and voted for him. She was like, super enthusiastic about it.

Amongst other things, our government’s cabinet was reshuffled with some questionable decisions, and Australia’s cigarette packaging laws inspired some debate for the same to happen in the UK and Europe. Look to our writers in this issue for some interesting perspectives on these summery topics, including the apparently raunchy coverage of the royal family in the media.

I’m delighted to be editing Comment, and I’m sure the news won’t fail to disappoint. Let’s not make it too tragic.

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