British newspaper front pages review at midnight: Monday 8 November 2010

Tonight’s papers are unusually good for a Sunday night, with only The Times forced to do a round-up of the Sunday TV shows. The FT has the most interesting splash in terms of the global economy, though admittedly its not a page turner, and even the Indy gets a semi-splash of its own.

The FT – “Zoellick seeks gold standard debate” – has got to be the dullest newspaper headline I can remember. A lesson to aspiring hacks – never, ever use debate in a headline. And the worst thing is the story is really interesting. The head of the World Bank is calling for something like a “Bretton Woods II” system of floating currencies whilst pegging them to the price of gold. This would, to my mind, signal the end of the dollar as the world’s currency and would fundamentally change power relationships between the emerging economies and the West. If anything were to come of it, and it is only a letter written in the FT, it would be a monumental change to the way the world’s economy functions. And hidden under such a woeful title…

The Telegraph – “Danger: 46 jailed terrorists go free” sounds at first glance like a typical Telegraph story with little substance. The story is actually stronger, and more investigative than that. The paper has seen leaked documents from inside the Ministry of Justice that warns that those released after serving terrorism related sentences may seek jobs which puts them in contact with people susceptible to extremist ideologies. It is interesting to consider how the government is managing this new problem – of British citizens convicted of terrorism-related charges returning to their communities. Depending on whether it goes anywhere this cold be a decent story for the whole week.

The Independent – “Whitehall hit squad” – a scoop, of sorts, for the Indy. Para 1 – The Cabinet Secretary Gus O’Donnell is bringing together a group of private sector businessmen to advise on cuts. All going well so far. Para 2 – Downing Street refusing to name them. But the paper has splashed with pictures of five of them under the damning title above. A very brave call by the editor to name five such powerful people (included are the former chief executive of Boots) without confirmation. A good story, particularly for The Indy which struggles with getting scoops.

The Mail – “Thousands of foreign convicts will be sent home” – is a nothing story really. Cameron apparently plans to ‘tear up agreements’  that mean that foreign convicts can’t be sent home to serve their sentences against their wishes. There really is nothing in this story – the idea that Cameron is going to tear up these contracts, take on the European Courts of Human Rights and face down the inevitable barrage of court cases is just ridiculous. Someone has briefed this story for the Mail to give the impression the government is tough on immigration. There is, however, a startling statistic that nearly one in seven British inmates is foreign.
The Times – “Benefit cuts traps jobless ‘in spiral of despair'” – is working on the basis that nobody who reads The Times watches television on a Sunday. This story, of the Archbishop of Canterbury criticising the coalition’s welfare reforms, has been doing the rounds since this morning and the fact that they are splashing it shows its a poor day for The Times.

The Guardian – “Benefit cuts ‘will force poor out of south'” is a better attempt than The Times’ to reinvigorate the big story of Sunday – the government’s welfare proposals. A report from the Chartered Institute for Housing (CIH) suggests that rents on most two-bedroom houses will become unaffordable for people on housing benefit within 15 years. The article then quotes the Archbishop of Canterbury, followed by the head of policy at the CIH.

If you only read one – I would go with the FT tonight if you are at all interested in the global economy.


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