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Inside politics

A scandal made for Angela

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner. Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

“The sleaze row is a crisis made for Angela Rayner,” says Katy Balls in The Spectator. Labour leader Keir Starmer has faced questions about his outside earnings for legal work, but his deputy left school at 16 after getting pregnant and was a care worker before she entered politics. “For her, the £82,000 MP’s salary is not a hardship that needs to be supplemented. It’s the most she has earned in her life, just as it is far more than most voters can expect to earn in theirs.” Her anger over the issue looks genuine and is politically potent.

Don’t be afraid to not say sorry

Political apologies rarely work, says Daniel Finkelstein in The Times, and Boris Johnson’s one for the Owen Paterson affair probably won’t either. One, people tend to think apologies are insincere and just done to get the public off your back. Two, they can come across as a “veiled demand” that the transgressor be forgiven, which is intensely annoying. Three, they “rob the apologiser of their remaining support”: Richard Nixon’s backers over Watergate stood firm when he resigned, but “melted away” when he admitted his crimes. And finally, once you’ve given an apology, those who’ve been calling for it will simply start lobbying for your punishment.

Mirror, mirror

Twitter/Chris Coons

US senator Chris Coons, left, was dispatched by President Biden to check up on Germany’s coalition negotiations. Olaf Scholz, right, is set to become chancellor in early December. “What’s German for doppelganger?” asks @oneokboomer on Twitter.

A bleak midwinter for the SNP

The SNP could be heading into a “winter of discontent”, says Chris Deerin in The New Statesman. Nurses, academics and refuse workers are threatening to go on strike, setting up the prospect of “pickets brandishing anti-SNP placards”. This isn’t the Nats’ gameplan: they’ve always styled themselves as rebellious outsiders who occupy a “superior moral plane” because of their wish for independence. But not everything is about independence. The greatest danger for the SNP is being seen “as just another government”, fractious and ineffective after 14 years in power.