Owen Jones: Labour isn’t being hypocritical on tax cuts – nor is it progressive enough | Owen Jones

The opposition is sticking to its pledge to freeze tax for 95% of Britons, but fixing a broken society requires greater resources

Is Labour in the grip of dangerous revolutionary extremists, or of triangulating supporters of rightwing Tory economics? Are its leaders fatally deficient in the art of politics, or excessively Machiavellian? Critics of the leadership seem to flit breathlessly between the two, as the brouhaha over the opposition’s response to the budget illustrates. When Jeremy Corbyn rose to power, he was portrayed as fatal to the party’s electoral prospects because his economic radicalism would repulse the mythical “Middle England”, and he was too politically inflexible to change. Now his leadership stands accused, by Yvette Cooper, of backing regressive Tory income tax cuts that will overwhelmingly benefit the well-off, and all for the sake of cynical electioneering.

There is, however, a more nuanced take. Has Corbyn’s Labour become the champion of Britain’s pampered, thriving, rich elite? No. Should they be more radical on tax? Absolutely.

Related: Labour backlash after McDonnell refuses to oppose budget tax cuts

Continue reading…

John Naughton: Has Apple finally given its super-fast iPhone a camera worthy of the name? | John Naughton

At up to 5 trillion operations a second, the new XS model allows you to customise your ‘bokeh’ to perfection

If you’re a keen photographer (which this columnist is) one of the things you prize most is a strange property called bokeh. It’s the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the parts of an image that are not of central interest – the way a lens renders out-of-focus points of light. You often see it in great portraits: the subject’s eyes are razor-sharp but the – potentially distracting – background is fuzzy.

In the era when all photography was analogue, the only way to get good bokeh was to use lenses that produced narrow depth of field at wide apertures. Since the optical performance of most lenses decreased at such apertures, that meant that serious photographers faced a trade-off: their lust for bokeh involved compromising on overall image quality. And the only way round that was to spend money on lenses of complex design and exceedingly high optical quality. Neither of these came cheap: a photo-buff of my acquaintance, for example, recently laid out a small fortune for a Leica Noctilux f0.95 aspherical lens, which, its manufacturer claims, provides “unique bokeh”. (At a retail price of £9,100 it jolly well ought to.)

Related: Apple iPhone XS review: two steps forward, one step back

Continue reading…