News digest 4 September 2013

News digest 4 September 2013

04 September 2013

The crisis in Syria still features across most of the papers, although the coverage is less comprehensive as commentators wait for US president Obama to win over a cautious and somewhat sceptical Congress before agreeing on action. Obama did however outline that the plan now was to oust Assad rather than send a warning, so expect more bombs to rain down on yet more civilians, and while the UK will remain on the sidelines the crisis seems to be spreading as Israel yesterday test fired missiles although the Israeli government said it was a routine exercise, hey, it’s not like there’s an international crisis and rising tension going on in the region is it?

And there was also a lot of tension in the Commons yesterday after a very partisan debate saw the #GaggingBill move on to the next stage, Unite political director Jennie Formby said: "The wide ranging gagging bill is a pernicious attack on basic freedoms that charities, trade unions and other organisations have enjoyed for decades to promote issues relating to social justice. This smacks of a police state … the fact that trade unions would be expected to supply the personal details of individual members to a government official is the start of a Big Brother state and undermines long established rights of freedom of association that are guaranteed by international treaties." Sadly it looks like the government is ignoring not just public opinion but that of anyone who wants to speak out and is instead intent on forcing this failure of a bill on to the statute book and if it succeeds it’ll be bye bye to Britain’s democracy…

But then what kind of democracy do we have when our politicians seem to be so in thrall to the extremes of the market, as the OECD confirms that the UK recovery is stronger than expected – the question of what the recovery is founded on becomes more pronounced. There’s wide coverage of a 35 per cent jump in profits for payday lending firm Wonga, with profits on the backs of the poorest hitting £62.5 million. Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “Payday lenders are making their profits on those struggling to make ends meet on a daily basis with outrageous rates of interest that mount up with an alarming speed, causing fear and insecurity. George Osborne's claims of an economic recovery are partly based on an out or control industry that preys on the poor and the low paid. Osborne's ‘Wonganomics’ of relying on payday lenders to boost consumer spending will not get this economy back on track - it's unsustainable and morally wrong ... what we are seeing in 2013 is vulture capitalism, picking wallets and purses clean.” It’s time to regulate the industry and cap the cost of credit, back Paul Blomfield’s bill




Morning Star (not delivered – website being upgraded)

  • Full frontal attack on democracy (p1)


Daily Mirror


Sun (no links all stories now behind paywall)

  • Syria crisis spirals (p2)
  • Unite war vote ‘halt’ (p2) – Unite/Andrew Murray cited
  • Wonga profits hit £1 million a week (p4)
  • Recovery forecast doubles (p6)
  • Leader: Turning his Ed (p8) – Unite cited
  • Banks ‘failing’ on complaints (p41)






Times (no links all stories behind paywall – not delivered)

  • Lethal toll as women quit 'unbearable' cancer drug tamoxifen (p1)








FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Microsoft’s Nokia deal meets with scepticism (p1)
  • UK economy recovery among fastest (p1)
  • Lansley defends lobbying register seen as ‘sinister’ gag on democracy (p2)
  • Treasury chief warns on HS2 costs (p2)
  • Labour changes tack to focus on living standards (p3)
  • Vodafone deal weighs on Verizon share price (p15)
  • Wonga defies payday critics (p15)


Edited by Mik Sabiers

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