British newspaper front pages review at midnight: Tuesday 26 October 2010

A good night for the broadsheets with both the Guardian and The Times splashing with strong, well-researched stories and the FT having a good report on today’s negotiations between the UK and Switzerland.

The Guardian – “Humiliate, strip, threaten – the British way to interrogate” – has a story to follow on from a few days of splashing on the Wikileaks story, with revelations about British interrogation methods that may breach the Geneva Convention. Interrogators are instructed to “aim to provoke humiliation, insecurity, disorientation, exhaustion, anxiety and fear in the prisoners.” This is quality investigative journalism at its best and Ian Cobain has collated a number of different interrogation manuals, presumably from a number of sources, and brought them together to form a strong criticism of Britain’s interrogation methods.

The Times – “secret memo puts Labour on back foot over economy” – has a genuine political scoop, and one that could be damaging to the Labour party for a while. The paper has obtained an internal Labour strategy paper that admits that the “difference between the coalition’s and Labour’s cuts would only be £5 billion, i.e. 0.66 per cent of public spending.” Unfortunately the paper does not say who the document came from, so it may not be as powerful as it seems. Nevertheless this is huge news in political circles, and sheds further light upon the great mystery of the last election. In the build-up to May the 7th, every political correspondent became more and more frustrated by the failure of politicians to talk about the scale of the cuts. While they would say vague things like “this will be hard,” no party was willing to talk specifics, mainly because they were all planning severe cuts to public services. Now we see how limited the choices at the last election really were.

The Telegraph – “Chemical cosh will be cut for dementia sufferers” – is probably the weakest of tonight’s stories, and focuses on the call by 45 organisations to keep dementia patients out of hospital beds and to reduce the use of drugs to manage the disease.

The FT “London and Bern strike tax accord” – has a story that is important to many of Britain’s richest people who will now have to pay some taxes on wealth kept in Switzerland. This deal will be seen by some as a failure – it still allows British citizens with wealth in Switzerland to remain anonymous – it is expected to bring several billion pounds a year to the Treasury’s coffers.

The Independent – “The housing crisis of coalition Britain” – attempts to set the agenda by saying that first-time buyers are to be squeezed out of as fears of a property crash grow but the front page seems to suggest little actual news, more like a feature. I may be wrong, but it looks like a decent investigative piece that probably didn’t deserve to go front page.

If you only read one: Tough call this, but The Times just shades it ahead of The Guardian.

One response to “British newspaper front pages review at midnight: Tuesday 26 October 2010


    Young scribe Joe Dyke (17) has lost most of the sight in both eyes.
    Sources close to the reporter, say that,no, it’s not self-abuse, his critical condition has been brought on by staying up late every night to read all of Fleet Street’s finest.
    His recently launched digest, aimed at an American audience, of what to read and what not to read in the British broadsheets has proved a hit in the blogosphere with over three hits every night.
    A spokeswoman for Dyke denied that most of the hits are coming from his mum and dad. And refused to confirm that she was his current girlfriend exotic Augusta A’quida.

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