News digest 22 August 2013

News digest 22 August 2013

22 August 2013

Today’s digest opens with a focus on foreign affairs with the scenes in Syria particularly grim after the Assad regime was accused of launching chemical weapons on rebel forces, estimates of total deaths vary from a few hundred to 1,400 and many of the papers have printed shocking pictures of the victims. International pressure has been building, but with total deaths in the conflict topping 100,000 people no solution to the ongoing civil war so far looks to be emerging.

And from emerging to locked away and the other major international story is the sentencing of US soldier Bradley Manning who was yesterday jailed for 35 years for passing hundreds of thousands of classified military documents to Wikileaks. Thanks to him we at least know how far and wide the surveillance by the state goes, what we can do about it, well that’s another matter.

And what can we do about Miliband seems to be another refrain? Albeit one in the rightwing press. As yet another MP criticises the leader of the Labour party – this time former Labour energy minister Brian Wilson – and Diane Abbott on his front bench criticises the party’s shift in immigration policy, the old adage about party unity springs to mind. Some papers note Miliband is expected to come out fighting at the TUC conference, but remember the electoral odds are partly stacked in Labour’s favour. Martin Kettle in the Guardian argues that a Lib-Lab deal may be Miliband’s only chance of government in 2015 - although that looks like a long running attempt by the paper to justify its support for the Lib Dems at the last election – the reality is the battle needs to move away from a focus on Labour and to taking on the government’s failing policies.

And even with some improvement in the economy – manufacturing orders are at the best level for two years – there seems to be trouble in the Treasury as the country ran up a rare deficit last month. July normally sees a surplus as a strong month for tax receipts, but the government was forced to borrow some £100 million (this time last year there was an £800 million surplus). So all those tax cuts for corporates and the rich don’t seem to be paying off in improved receipts, perhaps the underlying state of the economy is worse than expected…

Then  again just look at the real economy, many of the papers report that one in four companies uses zero hours contracts, no wonder people feel so insecure, and while the Mail mentions that people are only sleeping for 6.5 hours a night, the Express explains why, it says that Britain is sleep starved and the top issue that people are worrying about is their dire financial situation…

Sadly our out of touch prime minister is probably not one of them, many of the papers continue to focus on David Cameron’s latest holiday, as ever while we all have to work harder he gets to play harder, the Mirror quotes a couple from Bristol who have been dreaming of a holiday for her family five years, said Hannah: “I was disgusted when I saw Cameron on holiday again. It’s like ‘look at me and sod you lot.” Welcome to the reality of life in Con-Dem Britain.


Morning Star

  • Welfare attack to cost £1.4 billion extra (p1)
  • Super rich clubs get wages red card (p2) – Unite/Steve Turner quoted
  • Borrowing £488 million more in the red (p3)
  • One in four firms use zero hours contracts (p3)
  • Average workers faces £1,500 pension cut (p4)
  • Headline figures mask big fall in nurse numbers (p5)
  • Cardiff tenants join mass bedroom tax sleep out (p5)
  • Manning jailed for 35 years (p7)


Daily Mirror


Sun (no links all stories now behind paywall)

  • Farage: I’ll get grip on Ukip (p2)
  • Ex-minister in Miliband attack (p6)
  • The looming energy crisis (p8-9)
  • Syrian slaughter (p17)
  • Carlsberg’s Russia woe (p52)
  • Britain in the red (p52)
  • Lloyds £511 million in the pink (p52)
  • Heinz meanz cuts (p53) [250 jobs to go in UK/Ireland]






Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • An act of barbarism (p1)
  • Miliband links benefits to behaviour (p2)
  • Housing recovery ‘at risk’ (p8)
  • Banks face £1.5 billion bill for role in mis-selling scandal (p41)
  • Heinz cuts office jobs (p43)
  • Probably not the best season for lager (p44)
  • Vestas chief caught up in wind of change (p44)








FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Lenders face £1.3 billion in latest mis-selling scandal (p1)
  • Treasury borrows more than expected (p2)
  • One in four companies use zero hours contracts (p2)
  • No middle ground in fracking debate (p3)
  • UK trade: One way traffic (p9) – Unite/Bob Bolam cited
  • Embattled Vestas boss gone (p15)
  • BAE in quest for new US leader (p17)
  • Brewers suffer Europe hangover (p18)


Edited by Mik Sabiers

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