UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

Will the Sun win the election for the Conservatives?

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murdoch_newThe Sun trumpeted “It’s the Sun Wot Won It” after the Conservatives won the 1992 general election following the newspaper’s polling day headline “If Kinnock wins today, will the last person to leave Britain please turn out the lights”.

Five years later, Britain’s top-selling daily newspaper switched sides and backed Tony Blair and Labour at the next general election, remaining loyal to the centre-left party at the 2001 and 2005 elections.

But the tabloid has now flipped its allegiances and plans to support the Tories and David Cameron proclaiming on its front page on Wednesday that “Labour’s Lost it”.

“The Sun believes — and prays — that the Conservative leadership can put the great back into Great Britain,” wrote the paper, dedicating five pages to explain its decision, even moving its traditional page-three topless girl back to page seven.

MPs shoot themselves in foot over expenses

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The online release of MPs’ expense claims has only served to further dent their already battered reputation.

Forty-two days after the Daily Telegraph began to investigate MPs’ expenses the Houses of Parliament finally got round to publishing official details of them. Or rather it didn’t, as lots of key information was blacked out.

Brown flatters, but are we still best of friends, papers ask

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“Brave” was how most of the British press responded to Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s speech to both houses of Congress in Washington.

Brown was the first European leader to be invited to Washington by the new U.S. administration and was only the fifth British prime minister to speak to a joint session of Congress.

You know things are bad when..

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    You know exactly what the population of Iceland is and can also pronounce the name of its prime minister. Even the word ‘crisis’ seems to have lost its currency. Countries pop up for sale on eBay for 99p and get few offers. Posters on BBC messageboards stop discussing the undulating pitch of Robert Peston’s voice and listen to what he’s actually saying. The speech bubble on Page 3 of the Sun is given over to discussing the credit crisis. Financial market updates displace stories about Jade Goody on the tabloid front pages. Bad news stories from government departments are rushed out day after day and not even the Opposition seems to notice. Estate agents finally admit house prices have fallen but tell you now is a really great time to buy because the market is stabilising. People marketing get-rich-quick property seminars don’t get taken seriously any more. The Chancellor, writing in the Financial Times, says that “now, more than ever, we need new ideas”. Your primary school-aged children know that credit crunch is not a type of biscuit and that IMF isn’t just a fictional organisation in Mission Impossible. You go for a while without noticing one estate agent’s mini and then you see a whole bunch of them on the back of a car transporter. A pensioner on the evening tube train from Canary Wharf gives up her seat to a banker because she reckons he might need it. The Ivy rings to ask if you’d like a table tonight or any night. There are no spare trolleys when you turn up at Aldi to do your weekly shop.

Do you have any better suggestions? All contributions welcome – please send in your selection.

Sun’s man gets gaffe in early

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mackenzie.jpgFormer Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie has scored the first own goal of the Haltemprice & Howden by-election, just hours after saying he was a likely candidate for the Humberside seat.

In off-camera comments broadcast by BBC television he described Hull as “an absolute shocker, it’s beyond shock, actually.”

Wednesday’s front pages

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times-wed-may-14.jpgThe papers are nearly all agreed that Chancellor Alistair Darling’s 2.7 billion pound fix for the 10p tax row is the day’s main story.

Darling seeks end to 10p tax backlash” reports the Financial Times, noting that the move will still leave 1.1 million poorer households worse off following the abolition of the lowest tax band in last year’s budget.

Tuesday’s front pages

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tel13.JPGThe cost of living and falling house prices, school tests, knife crime and pictures from the Chinese earthquake feature in Tuesday’s headlines. 

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Abolish Tests for Pupils at 11 and 14, Urge MPs

MPs who say pupils are being drilled to pass exams to inflate schools’ positions in league tables rather than being encouraged to learn, are calling for some tests to be scrapped, the paper says. Story here

Monday’s front pages

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express12.JPGThere were further potentially damaging revelations about Gordon Brown from within the Labour Party, claims about the rising cost of living, as well as coverage of Manchester United’s Premier League title win on Monday’s front pages.

DAILY EXPRESS: Family Tax Up 51 Percent

The tax burden has risen by 51 percent under Labour and the average family now pays a crippling 20,700 pounds a year, the paper says. Story here

Friday’s front pages

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indie09.JPGAbortion, Ant and Dec’s award – that wasn’t, and the confessions of the Austrian cellar man dominate the front pages of Friday’s papers.

THE INDEPENDENT: Abortion; the Battle Lines Are Drawn

The paper uses just three lines of text and three pictures for its main story about survival rates of premature babies and its significance in the abortion debate. Story here

Thursday’s front pages: anti-social behaviour

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guardian.JPGThe latest initiative to tackle anti-social behaviour and an apparent loophole in airport security feature prominently on Thursday’s front pages, along with the Chelsea gun siege and the Austrian house of horrors.

The Guardian says Home Secretary Jacqui Smith  wants police to harass anti-social youths and make life as unpleasant for them as they do for their victims. Young thugs should be hounded and filmed.  Story here

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