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Paper Monitor

13:28 UK time, Tuesday, 1 June 2010

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Is the fresh-faced Danny Alexander a suitable custodian of the nation's finances? Or a clueless neophyte about to plunge Britain into economic gloom?

The question is out there in today's papers - with concerns centring on his expenses, his youth and his lack of financial experience.

For matters of being in the red and black, Paper Monitor always turns to the pink 'un first - the Financial Times. What says it about Mr A's experience?

Surprisingly little.

"Experience of the City is not a prerequisite to become chief secretary to the Treasury, despite the financial nature of the job. Of 15 people in the post over the past 20 years, only [David] Laws - and to a lesser extent his predecessor Liam Byrne - had worked in the financial services industry."

But that's not going to sway Times cartoonist Morten Morland from portraying Messrs Alexander and his boss, George Osborne, as fidgety schoolchildren dwarfed by the grand leather chairs in which they sit.

"Are we allowed to use the sharp scissors?" asks one of the other.

But underneath, former CSTTT (excuse the abbreviation, but really, in the spirit of David Cameron's drive for great transparency, couldn't it just be rebranded Deputy Chancellor?) William Waldegrave writes Mr Alexander an open letter.

"It's odd that in our system the job often goes to young rising stars," he notes, before tackling the experience question head on:

"Economists have no more idea of how to control spending than astrophysicists."

To which Paper Monitor wonders, since when did astrophysicists become the benchmark for judging economic competence?

The letter also notes that the job is a hard slog. "You won't be bed early, or having weekends," writes Mr Waldegrave.

The Daily Mail is more interested in Mrs Alexander's travel claims against her husband's expenses budget - although it notes they have done nothing that is against the rules.

But it drops a delicious detail into the story, noting Mrs Alexander job - features editor of Psychologies magazine.

One wonders how the long hours, hard work culture of the job will chime with his spouse's commitment with personal development and wellbeing.


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