Front pages reviewed at midnight: Friday 14 January 2011

Bit suprised that the Oldham by-election has not been a bigger story this week. I guess its because we all know that Labour is going to win, but I am suprised that none of the papers have led with it tonight on the eve of the result. The Guardian goes with prison riots, the Indy leads with a Johann Hari comment piece, The Times has a story about babies and The Telegraph leads on petrol prices.

The Guardian – “Ministers were warned about prison riots

The justice secretary Ken Clarke received warnings about the potential for trouble in open prisons just weeks before the riots in a West Sussex jail. The prison’s Independent Monitoring Board’s report also added: “While there have only been minor incidents in the last year, we do not consider proper control is being exercised at night and are sceptical of the response in the past that it must be adequate as there has not been a serious incident yet.” This is worrying stuff for Ken Clarke, who is already fighting a huge battle against his own party to prove that prison isn’t always the best option.

The Independent – “This was my grandmother

Sometimes Johann Hari is great, sometimes he is annoyingly self-righteous. Tonight he is truly brilliant. And he is brilliant because he uses a trick that the Independent’s brilliant writer on the Middle East Robert Fisk does so well. He takes a grand, confusing issue and boils it down to a single individual – a personification of a problem. In this case Hari takes his grandmother and slowly illustrates how British old people are treated like dirt. This is really evocative writing and  is not strictly news, but it is a wonderful way to address one of the most serious problems facing the country.

The Telegraph – “Petrol price rises rake in extra £2bn for Treasury

A great piece of number crunching from the Telegraph, who have put together a bunch of figures to create this £2bn figure. The extra £2bn comes not from tax on petrol (this remains the same) but because the government will collect masses more in oil revenues from North Sea oils owner by the country. The title, however, gives the impression that the government directly benefits from higher prices and further undermines the government’s claims that they cannot afford to have a flexible rate of tax on petrol fluctuating along with the price of oil (as the Conservative’s promised before the election).

The Times – “Babies ‘need solid food – not just breast milk'”

Child health doctors have written in the British Medical Journal that it is not necessarily beneficial for babies under 6 months to just have milk. Not much of a story.

If you only read one: The Independent

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