The front pages reviewed first: Friday 19 November 2010

In tonight’s papers you can find angry GPs, cynical Chinese, government wastees and Ireland on its knees. Did I hear you say yes please? 

The Times – “Russia joins China in boycotting Nobel prize” – is an interesting story about global political trends. The Russians are making what the article describes as a “cynical power play” and boycotting next month’s Nobel Prize Ceremony in which a Chinese dissident is due to receive the gong. From about paragraph four the story is roughly similar to the Independent’s summary (see below), but the Russian angle just gives it a bit more bite.

The FT– “Ireland faces tax showdown.” Sometimes a picture explains the story better than text ever can. Tonight’s FT splash is yet again about the Irish economy but the picture is sheer genius. The deputy director of the IMF is walking towards the Irish central bank in Dublin when a beggar on the street (presuming he is not a plant) holds up his cup and asks him for some change. A snapper gets it, and the story is written. From that point on the words are irrelevant.

The Telegraph – “Recession? You’ve never had it so good” leads with an interesting interview with Lord Young, the government enterprise advisor, in which he claims that most people’s lives have been improved by the recession because of the low interest rates. A story that is so negative about the government’s cuts may not seem to be a logical lead for the Telegraph but let’s not forget that the main losers in a low-interest rate system are those with savings, predominantly the elderly, and the Telegraph has plenty of them as readers.

The Independent – “The peace prize war.” The story concerns the potential cancellation of the Nobel Peace Prize as the Chinese government are refusing to allow human rights activist Liu Xiaobo to leave the country to pick up the award. This story will rumble on over the next few days as the deadline draws closer. I expect that some kind of compromise will be made – the freeing of his brother to go and collect the award is most likely.

The Guardian – “Britain plc: state’s reliance on private sector firms revealed.” This piece reads like a Telegraph, or even a Mail, article. The basic summary is that the government is finally releasing hundreds of thousands of documents detailing where they spend their money, and there are some key examples of waste. The writer has tried to make it more public sectory by talking about the “the country’s reliance on private companies” but by paragraph it is talking about “lingering waste in the government machine.”At other times it sounds like a rehashed government press release, quoting an unnamed government official saying “a lot of this stuff [waste] we have inherited and had to continue.” In paragraph 9 it becomes a little clearer why they have chosen to splash with a story that is so unlike the typical Guardian line. Francis Maude, the cabinet secretary and one of the guiding figures in the Conservative party, has written a piece for their comment pages and they want to give it a bit of a plug.

The Daily Mail – “Ring call centre to see your GP” is angry about GP call centres tonight. Apparently patients will be forced to ring national call centres to make appointments with their local GPs. It says that “dedicated” local receptionists could be replaced by “unconcerned” call centre staff. The last time I went into a GPs surgery the last word I would use for the receptionist would be “dedicated.”

If you only read one: The Times

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2 responses to “The front pages reviewed first: Friday 19 November 2010

  1. Couldn’t agree more about the FT’s front-page. One of the most impressive front-page snaps I’ve come across in a long time.
    I really hope the beggar wasn’t a plant, although I suspect not. If there’s any inaccuracy with it it’s due to the fact that Dublin has a huge number of homeless people, but much of this is to with drug-abuse, rather than as a direct result of the economic shit-storm.
    But the two are intrinsically linked. Not sure if you came across this but check it out. Henry McDonald did a great piece for the Guardian a few weeks ago regarding the Dublin drug trade and how women had resorted to selling sleeping tablets to get by. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/oct/28/dublin-ireland-drug-heroin-addiction

  2. Joe Just got back from the States so your round up could not have been better timed.. Very helpful. Well informed and well written

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