News digest 18 February 2014

News digest 18 February 2014

18 February 2014

Today’s top reads: Stories to keep an eye out for:

·                Thames flood defences among schemes hit by coalition funding cuts - Guardian

·                Flood agency’s ex-boss attacks ministers - Telegraph

·                Floods: Cameron’s river has been dredged twice - Mirror

·                Miliband: No coalition with Clegg – Express

·                Labour’s ploy to unseat Clegg - Mail

·                Liberal Democrats hold Treasury reins, claims Danny Alexander – Guardian

·                Bookies’ staff set to see wages slashed - Mirror

Floods continue to hog the headlines in the papers with more coverage of the inadequate response of the government to the damage across the country. Some in the right wing press try to argue there was not much the government can do in these circumstances – Janan Ganesh’s FT piece is titled “The storms reveal how little government can do” but then you’d expect that from the little government brigade. It does however seem that those that have been flooded want bigger government to step in and help welcoming troops with sandbags, although it may be worth remembering the government plans to slash troops by 20,000. Opinions on the government’s response seem to be hardening however, and prime minister David Cameron seems to be floundering. The Morning Star reports that green campaigners have called for environment secretary and climate change denier Owen Paterson to be sacked, while the Telegraph even reports that the flood agency’s ex-boss has attacked the response of government ministers to the flood crisis. The Telegraph also notes that Cameron says he’ll visit every affected area, but it looks like Cameron is mired in a mess of his own making as cuts to key flood defence budgets have worsened the situation, especially after it is reported in the Guardian that ministers were warned of the consequences of cuts. Then again the Mirror reports Cameron has been bragging about the success of dredging in his own Witney constituency, sadly as others have got to know of his actions they wonder why they have been left high and dry, or perhaps that should be soaked and sodden...

From Cameron to Clegg and Miliband, and it seems after the Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg tries to open up the possibility of a coalition with Labour after the next election, the Labour leader Ed Miliband has firmly ruled that out. In fact Labour seems to be operating a decapitation strategy targeting Clegg, although rather than send him to the Tower it would seem resources are being targeted at his Sheffield constituency with the hope of ousting him. Keep those fingers crossed…

And still on the Lib Dems, chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander claims in the Guardian that the “Liberal Democrats hold Treasury reins” does that mean we now have to blame the Lib Dems for the cuts? Well Clegg is a calamity, Alexander is atrocious and I won’t mention what people think of Cable, but in the case of the Con-Dem cuts they are all in it together, so punish them all at the next election.

And talking of all in it together, after yesterday’s example of the recovery not being fairly shared in the automotive industry, today the Mirror reports that bookie Betfred is facing a stand-off with its workers as it looks to slash pay for staff in in 1,400 branches, managers could see pay drop from £15 an hour to £9 an hour. It is worth noting that the founders of Betfred have amassed a personal fortune of £850 million, so much for sharing the fruits of the recovery…

Edited by Mik Sabiers

  Morning Star

  Daily Mirror

  Sun (no links all stories now behind paywall)

  • Labour bid to oust Clegg (p2)
  • Too wet to bury the dead after flooding (p6)
  • Three Barclays bankers face rate fixing rap (p42)
  • Cigarette ads back on the box (p42)



  Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Lib Dem axe pledges for coalition deal (p1)
  • Tories seen as racist, says Muslim candidate (p2)
  • Storm hit coalition faces poll battering (p8-9)
  • Politicians can’t wade into every problem – Rachel Sylvester (p23)
  • Ex-Barclays bankers face rate-fix charges (p35)
  • Babcock strikes suspended (p36) – Unite cited
  • High street chiefs suggest energy tax (p37)
  • £7 minimum wage would mean job cuts (p40)
  • BMW to produce Mini in Holland (p43)




  FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Salmond says sharing debt depends on keeping pound (p1)
  • Thames Barrier closed 40 times this year (p2)
  • Lib Dems try to tempt Labour (p2)
  • Helplines prosper as more workers feel the strain (p4)
  • The storms reveal how little government can do – Janan Ganesh (p110(p)
  • Ex-Barclays trio face trial (p15)
  • Essar Energy backlash (p16)
  • Santander fined (p18)
  • Ferrovial bid for UK airports (p21)

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