Sunny Hundal (London, Pickled Politics): In between all the debate around the latest terrorist attacks in London and Glasgow, a salvo was fired by David Cameron over what is becoming a familiar battleground - whether to ban the extremist group Hizb ut-Tahrir. The Conservatives say it needs to be done. Our new Prime Minister, a bit taken aback by Cameron's specific focus on HuT, had to be helped out by previous Home Secretary John Reid.
Anthony Barnett (London, OK): The quality of the coverage of Brown's Tuesday announcement in the London papers was very poor. It got the headlines and leader comments. But I had a simple measure. The proposals covered four areas (mentioned in my post immediately after the speech). These were headlined in the four sections of the green paper: 1) limiting the powers of the executive; 2) making the executive more accountable; 3) "re-invigorating" democracy (e.g. with today's announcement that voters will decide part of local government expenditure); and 4) debating the constitution as a whole with the possibility of a written constitution.
Guy Lodge (London, ippr): The contrast couldn't be starker. In his final session of Prime Minister's Questions Tony Blair, when asked about a constitutional matter - admittedly on the relatively obscure issue of church disestablishment - responded dismissively: "I'm really not bothered about that one". It was indicative of his general attitude towards constitutional reform, which he has long considered to be a distraction from real government business and an issue solely of concern for the 'chattering classes'. Gordon Brown, however, has placed constitutional reform at the heart of his government programme, and this week set in motion a series of reforms which could lead to a radical new settlement, including the possibility of a British Bill of Rights and a written constitution.
Martin Wolf (London, FT): The arrogance of members of the self-declared intellectual elite defies belief. When did I say ignorance is a virtue? But who says members of self-selected "intelligentsias" are knowledgeable in any relevant way? On the contrary, engagement in policy requires both knowledge and practical experience. These are not the qualities I associate with the word "intelligentsia". The essence of an intelligentsia is that it is outside day-to-day politics, views the world through a predominantly literary, rather than scientific or technocratic, lens, and is sure that its superiority gives it the right to transform the world as it sees fit. Communism was the intelligentsia's idealistic project for the betterment of mankind in the 20th century. Enough said, I think.
In his announcement on constitutional reform, the Prime Minister recognised what we and other groups, such as the Power Inquiry and Unlock Democracy, have long said: that there is a crisis in the way we are governed and the trust people have in government.
Gavin Yates (Edinburgh, GYmedia): With Gordon Brown’s historic statement on constitutional reform resounding round OK and many other blogs the question north of the border might be best characterised not by what was left in the statement but rather what was left out.
The West Lothian question – a hardy perennial for politics watchers in Scotland - was dealt with firmly by the PM, saying that he did not want to have two tiers of MPs. However, as The Herald’s political editor Catherine McLeod points out in a brisk run through yesterday’s debate, English votes on English laws is “an issue that, however much he might wish it to be different, will not go away.”
Tony Curzon Price (London, oD): Excellent news from Hazel Blears, who told the BBC that she will expand the local government "Open Budget" experiments, in which local direct democracy processes are used to allocate local government funds ... except ... that this applies to "up to £23m of spending per council". At less than 10% of an average council's running costs, and much less of a large council's, this starts to feel like a dangerous token. "So much fuss for so little impact" is the perception that scuppered the North East devolution. Don't let "too little" tarnish the move to "better".
David Hayes (London, oD): The instant reaction of John Smeaton, a baggage-handler at Glasgow airport, to a stramash involving one of the would-be perpetrators of mass murder at his place of work on Saturday 30 June has made him - in a by-now familiar and very modern process - an almost-as-instant internet hero, with at least one website dedicated to his act of bravery.
Anthony Barnett (London, OK): I spotted the Guardian's political editor strikingly well dressed in a suit nearly as devoid of colour as his name and radiating disbelief as he looked down on the Commons yesterday while Brown presented his proposals. His comment today broke all cover. Noting that Brown had been praised he reported, "It can't last and it won't." Why is he doing it? It all demands disproportionate energy. He's raising expectations too high, just like Blair in 1997. These may be good points and scepticism is a worthy quality in intelligent reporting. But note the second part of White's briefing. "It won't". This is not just a judgement. It's a declaration of intent.
John Osmond (Cardiff, IWA): It is said that when the Queen crosses the Scottish border she is transmuted from being an Episcopalian into a Presbyterian - being simultaneously head of two different churches. Gordon Brown is in an analogous, and equally uncomfortable position. When in England he is fond of being British; when in Scotland he will insist on being Scottish. But I'm afraid that Brown doesn't get it: the days are over when you can have it both ways in identity politics within the UK.
Pat Kane (Glasgow, Scottish Futures): Not much mental or media space for Gordon Brown's constitutional reforms in Scotland at the moment, where the citizenry are still shaken by the first terrorist act on Scottish soil since Lockerbie in 1988, and more concerned with have-a-go heroes than anything else.