Today’s top reads: Stories to keep an eye out for:
Oscar Pistorius awaits fate as he is cleared of murder
Scotland: Brown to the rescue - Mirror
UK disarray over air strikes – Mail
Sex bias tribunals plunge 90% - Mail
'Poison pill' privatisation contracts could cost £300m-£400m to cancel
Southeastern lands four-year rail deal despite rating worst with passengers
The majority of papers feature ‘blade runner’ Oscar Pistorious on their front pages after he was yesterday found not guilty of the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, but this morning the judge announced he was guilty of culpable homicide, the South African equivalent of manslaughter. Sentence is expected to be passed in the next fortnight with Pistorious facing up to 15 years in jail.
The other major story remains the Scots referendum with the latest poll showing the ‘No’ campaign is holding on to a lead, albeit a slim one, with less than a week to go. Many of the papers report on how the debate has shifted to economic issues with a whole host of corporate warnings about higher prices,, shifted head offices and more, although first minister Alex Salmond has slammed the warnings as ‘scaremongering’, expect the battle to get dirtier as the countdown continues, The Mirror says former prime minister Gordon Brown is riding to the rescue, while current prime minister David Cameron’s profile is lower. Just six days to go now.
And while it may be wise for Cameron to keep a low profile, he and his foreign secretary Philip Hammond have apparently clashed over whether or not to join in any air strikes on Isil in Iraq and Syria, not good to be having disagreements at such a high level so close to an election.
Still on politicians and the Mail is one of many that comments on the latest expenses claims from MPs, with the total cost reaching a record £103 million, is that really value of money? Sadly, any plans to kick MPs out will have to wait for the general election as the Indie reports that many MPs think the recall bill is flawed.
And also flawed is the government’s policy on justice, a few of the papers report on the massive drop in tribunal cases after charges have been brought in, the government claims that the charges will deter spurious claims, but the Mail notes that there has been a 90 per cent drop in claims for sex discrimination in the past year, so either Britain has suddenly become much more focused on equality or ordinary people are being priced out of justice.
There’s also coverage of the outsourcing of probation services which could leave the taxpayer with a penalty of up to £400 million if they are cancelled, time to axe ‘poison pill’ contracts especially as they seem to be with such companies like G4S and Serco, and we know how well they perform (the Mail after all talks of a ‘fiddling’ probe into Serco).
But then the government always rewards failure, after all Southeastern trains has just had a four year extension to its contract despite bring rated the worst by passengers, while the state owned and profitable East Coast line will be sold off, that’s Tory economics…
Edited by Mik Sabiers
(no links all stories now behind paywall)
PM’s rift on Syria strikes (p1)
Scotland referendum (p8-9)
MPs expenses hit £103 million (p12)
Wheels come off for big supermarkets (p57)
(no links all stories behind paywall)
Business onslaught over Yes vote (p1-3)
Hammond wrongly rules out air strikes (p4)
The world is saying no to Scottish separation (p13)(p)
Morrison mauled (p17)
German cabbies launch sting to counter Uber (p17)
Air France raises stakes in pilot dispute (p21)