Newspaper review: Cameron's floods pledge and Temple mourned
- 12 February 2014
All the national papers devote multiple pages to the continuing flood crisis, especially after Prime Minister David Cameron's prognosis - delivered at a news conference on Tuesday - that the situation will get worse before it gets better.
The Daily Telegraph says Mr Cameron has "staked his personal authority on rebuilding damaged regions" by promising that money will be no object when it comes to tackling the problem.
Reviewing Wednesday's front pages on the BBC News Channel, Pippa Crerar of the London Evening Standard said some commentators had called into question Mr Cameron's leadership and he "had to establish he is capable of leading".
"David Cameron is scarred by what happened in 2007 when his [Witney] constituency flooded and he did not come back immediately from a shadow cabinet trip to Rwanda," she said.
Her co-reviewer, the comedian and writer David Schneider, said people in Somerset may be wondering why - after five weeks of flooding there - how money is being made available.
The Independent gives little cause for hope of any early relief for flooded homeowners and businesses. Under the headline "Britain's water torture: here to stay until May", it reports a warning from the British Geological Survey that some parts of central-southern England remain at risk of flooding for weeks to come because the ground is so saturated.
The Sun heralds its own efforts to deliver 1,500 sandbags to people living near the flooded River Thames - and happily takes a swipe at politicians visiting the floods.
The Daily Mail says its petition urging the government to divert money from the UK's multi-billion pound overseas aid budget reached 100,000 signatures in one day.
Putting the boot in
It is hard to pick up a Wednesday paper without finding a picture of a welly boot-clad politician. Leaders of the main parties, plus UKIP, are all seen surveying the floods while appropriately shod.
"Dave and Co, the 'flood tourists'" is the Daily Mail's description of their appearance in Surrey and Berkshire on Tuesday. The appearance of politicians "in their spotless and even designer Wellington boots was simply too much to bear" for some residents, it says.
"What a shower!" is the Daily Mirror's banner headline (albeit across pages six and seven). While accusing the politicians of looking "way out of their depth", the paper says David Cameron "finally took personal charge of the national emergency".
The Express also goes with the "out of their depth" line. The politicians were trying to negotiate the "twin perils of rising waters and growing anger amid flood-hit voters", it says. It singles out Labour leader Ed Miliband because he was "powerless to take action".
The Thames Valley "saw a surfeit of political leadership", says the Daily Telegraph. One reason for the steady flow of politicians heading upriver from Westminster may be a lesson of history, it adds: Clement Attlee's Labour government's failure to deal with flooding in 1947 cost it crucial seats and the loss of power in the 1950 general election.
(For those taking notes, the paper without a single picture of a politician in wellies is the Guardian).
Profits down, bonuses up
Water of a slightly hotter nature is lapping at the desk of Barclays chief Antony Jenkins, after he signed off on a 10% rise in the bank's bonus pot, bringing it to a total of £2.38bn.
The Times considers an intervention by the bosses' group the Institute of Directors as "unprecedented" after it accused institutional investors of being "supine" for failing to block the bonus rise.
A simple graphic on the Guardian's story tells of why this is causing ructions at the higher levels of British business: it shows bonuses up 10% and annual profits down 32%. "That performance demands a cut in bonuses, not a rise", says the paper's Nils Pratley. Mr Jenkins is not taking his bonus this year.
"Union fury at 10% hike for bosses" declares the left-leaning Daily Mirror. "Fatcats", according to Trades Union Congress chief Frances O'Grady, were being "rewarded with tens of billions of pounds in bonuses" despite having got off "scot-free" after the 2008 financial crash.
The Financial Times says Mr Jenkins, "dubbed St Antony by some commentators in the City", had been seen at Westminster "as a fresh start for the banking industry after the excess associated with his predecessor Bob Diamond".
The Daily Mail puts the story on page two, saying the bonus announcement comes from a bank which wants to cut 7,000 UK jobs, generating fears "a quarter" of its 1,560 branches will close.
The papers unite in marking the passing of US actress and diplomat Shirley Temple - the girl who became a star at the age of three.
"Farewell to America's little darling", is the Independent's obituary headline. Unlike Tatum O'Neal and Macaulay Culkin, Temple "was, and will always remain, the quintessential child star", it says.
"Her smiling face lifted the spirits of the American people during the Great Depression", eulogises the Sun, adding how US President Franklin D Roosevelt dubbed her "Little Miss Miracle" for her effect on morale.
The Daily Telegraph's Hannah Betts says Temple "not only created the role of child star; she finessed it" before "moving on from it with grace, wit and intelligence".
Her life after Hollywood, as US representative to the UN and later ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia, is considered by the Guardian's Peter Bradshaw in his obituary. "Shirley Temple didn't twerk", he writes, noting how she sensed her recognition could be "parlayed into a career in politics".
"In these less innocent days", writes the Daily Mail's Michael Thornton, "it seems certain that never again will the world know a child star with the magic of Shirley Temple."
The medical watchdog NICE's recommendation that millions more people in England should be put on cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins does not get an easy ride from the Daily Telegraph.
The drugs are the most-commonly prescribed in Britain, it says, "amid increasing obesity and aggressive prescribing by GPs, whose pay is linked to take-up of the pills". It quotes public health professor Shah Ebrahim, who tells of his "concern" at mass-medicalising "the whole of the British public in this way".
The Times provides an alternative view from Prof Rory Collins of Oxford University, who believes it is not "mass-medicalisation" but provides "more choice", although he warns the benefit to people at lower risk of cardiovascular disease must be balanced against potential side effects.
The Guardian says there are fears doctors will "hand out pills instead of tackling the root causes of heart attacks and strokes" by dealing with smoking, drinking, poor diet and a lack of exercise.
But the Daily Express reports NICE's guidance would require doctors to help patients improve their lifestyle before offering "high intensity statin therapy".
Making people click
The Times - Months of misery as floods set to last
Daily Telegraph - Is intelligence written in the genes?
The Independent - George Clooney hits back at claims he does not understand Britain's right to the Elgin Marbles
Daily Mail - Baby girl is mauled to death by pitbull
The Guardian - Donald Trump loses legal challenge to wind farm near his Scottish golf resort
Daily Mirror - Teenager stabs girl in the face and beats another black and blue because they called him Harry Potter