News digest 18 September 2012

News Digest 18 September 2012

18 September 2012

The top story in many papers is the proposed wholesale change to the education system with Gove finally informing parliament of his plans to axe GCSEs and replace them with a new ‘EBAcc’ aimed at ending grade inflation. The main threat is what looks like the return of a two tier system. The papers have different angle with the Telegraph calling the move a true test to restore the faith in exams, while the Guardian is more guarded with the sketch opting for Dumbing up the system. GCSEs will go from 2015.

Also gone is PC Simon Harwood, the officer that struck and pushed bystander Ian Tomlinson from behind on the fringe of the G20 protests. Tomlinson died. Harwood admitted ‘gross misconduct’ at yesterday’s disciplinary hearing and was sacked, but he gets to keep his pension. However the Met has chosen not to investigate the details of Harwood’s case leading the family of Ian Tomlinson calling the process a ‘whitewash’ and saying they would look to take further court action to get justice.

And talking of courts and the justice system a number of the papers report on a rather costly U-turn by the government. After plans to release prisoners early were reversed the planned savings have vanished and left a £130 million hole in the prisons budget.

And there could be holes in the government’s pensions plans. Although work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith continues to argue his reforms and universal credit will come in to plan, the front page of the FT reports that Cameron has demanded a rethink amid fears that the Tories’ traditional grey vote may be revolting over the changes which may hit many more than expected.

And also revolting are regional Tory MPs. The Mirror reports that many are arguing for a reversal on plans for regional pay fearing a significant backlash outside London and further afield. With The Tories down to 30 per cent in the latest Times poll that will be sober reading for many a marginal MP. Labour has a 15 point lead, a rise of five per cent since the last poll in July, no wonder Cameron’s beginning to quake. Interestingly although the polls don’t show much enthusiasm for Labour leader Ed Miliband, Mary Riddell in the Telegraph argues the Tories are struggling to land any hits on him.

That leaves the Tories to revert to their usual attack mode with Europe in the party’s sights once again. The Express says a top Tory has quit to join UKIP – Lord Stevens of Ludgate (who he?) said he had given up hope that Cameron would take radical action or offer a referendum over Britain’s EU membership.

And Lord Cashcroft has also hit out at the foreign aid budget saying revelations about consultants taking the cream was too much, new international development secretary Greening has ordered a probe into her department’s spending, I wonder how much goes to Belize?

And talking of trips the government has at signalled a new deal to make savings of MPs foreign trips having signed a deal that will do away with business class flights and instead make use of easyJet, well if budget flights are good enough for ‘convenient for a photo opportunity’ Cameron there should be no complaints.

There are however complaints about the BAE- EADS tie up, the FT reveals one blatant one being the proposed merged firm would be called Airbus to act as a defence arm to the organisation’s commercial aviation operations. I am sure that would do the world of good for US orders.

And amidst all this challenge there is one bit of supposed good cheer in the City. There are many reports of one growth sector in theUK, sadly it is pay day lender Wonga which has seen a tripling of profits as ordinary people struggle to get by and private debt continues to mount. Even more worrying even the ex-UBS trader that lost his bank £1.4 billion allegedly gambled away over £100,000 of his own money and was resorting to pay day loans to get by, who says pay day loan firms don’t need better regulation…

Morning Star


Daily Mirror








Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Poll gives Labour 15 point lead [LAB45%; CON 30%, LIB 10%] (p1)
  • G20 officer sacked (p5)
  • Labour may hold lead but voters still prefer Tories on economy (p6)
  • Exam reforms ignite Labour fears of two tier system (p14-15)
  • Parties must stop playing unhappy families – Rachel Sylvester (p19)
  • Cable & Wireless  in talks to sell island empire (p31)
  • Recession still fear despite ports’ turnaround (p33)
  • Lloyds deal ‘destroys value’ for taxpayers (p34)
  • easyMP as no more bsui9ness class (p35)
  • Belgian steel setback (p37)
  • BAE merger: No Trojan Horse, says Hutton (p38)





·         Angela Merkel's austerity postergirl, the thrifty Swabian housewife (p1)

·         Ian Tomlinson case: PC Simon Harwood sacked for gross misconduct (p1)

·         GCSE exams to be replaced by EBacc (p1)

·         Complaints about doctors' professional conduct reach record levels (p2)

·         English baccalaureate: another dog's dinner of a plan for exam reform (p6)

·         Exam reform: EBacc to the future for Michael Gove (p7)

·         UK arms exports 'should be checked first by MPs' (p8)

·         Government relaxes plans forcing cancer patients to actively seek work (p8)

·         Failure to cut prison numbers hits spending target plans (p10)

·         Tories call for troops to be pulled back from Afghanistan (p10)

·         iPhone 5 pre-orders hit 2 million (p12)

·         Manchester airport to abandon 'naked' security scanners (p15)

·         Conservatives expect Barack Obama re-election in US (p15)

·         Late changes and loose ends as welfare reform faces scrutiny (p16)

·         Woman jailed for taking drugs to abort baby within week of expected birth (p17)

·         Hamleys sold to French toy company (p17)

·         How Germany's south became the backbone of a vibrant economy (p18)

·         Why Angela Merkel wants to make the rest of Europe more like Germany (p19)

·         UBS trader accused of fraud 'lost £123k of own cash on spread betting' (p24)

·         South Africa mine unrest costs £335m in lost output (p25)

·         Italy's economy is tanking – we know, we're selling their building equipment (p28)

·         Greggs signs up for armed forces trial (p29)

·         Russia presses ahead with sale of Sberbank stake (p29)

·         Four years since news broke of Lloyds' takeover of HBOS (p29)

·         US decision to take China to WTO ignores the bigger issue (p29)

·         Britain could scupper EU mandatory quotas for women on company boards (p29)

·         Labour was too slow to act on Northern Rock, says top civil servant (p29)

·         Liberal Democrats should beware a pact with Labour – Malcolm Bruce (p32)

·         The elastic middle has to be defined, once and for all – Gaby Hinsliff (p32)

·         David Cameron's men go where Margaret Thatcher never dared – Polly Toynbee (p33)




FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Cameron demands pensions rethink (p1)
  • Gove’s new tests aim for tougher grades (p2)
  • Greening orders probe into DfID spending (p2)
  • easyJet strikes MPs’ travel deal (p3)
  • Cameron faces big crunch on BAE tie-up (p3)
  • CBI attacks suppliers ‘blacklist’ (p4)
  • Prison spending threatens savings target (p5)
  • Tax crackdown on London lawyers (p4)
  • Austerity will give the Tories an electoral edge – Janan Ganesh (p13)
  • BAE must explain the business rationale – Geoffrey Owen (p13)
  • UK still has energy to power a recovery – John Browne (p13)
  • ‘Airbus’ mooted as new name for EADS-BAE (p17)
  • Shell’s Arctic ambitions dented (p19)
  • Fourth head in four years for BT global unit (p23)


Yesterday’s Unite releases

·         Bristol NHS meeting to protest at pay cut plans in south west

·         Collective bargaining re-established for the graphic industry in Scotland

·         Medway council’s plans to withdraw from national agreement ‘put on hold’

·         New community co-ordinator for Northern Ireland to mobilise the unemployed

  Edited by Mik Sabiers

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