Immigration rift, Clegg and Farage debate EU, sunny weather and BBC Three in press
- 6 March 2014
The debate over migration returns to front pages, with the Daily Telegraph previewing a speech by Immigration Minister James Brokenshire.
He'll blame middle-class households and big businesses for reaping the benefits of migrants' cheap labour, while "ordinary, hard-working people" see wages forced down, house prices rising and pressure on public services, the paper says.
However, the Independent follows up a report by BBC2's Newsnight suggesting the government suppressed a review concluding there was "very little evidence" to back up Home Secretary Theresa May's claims that immigration is "consigning large numbers of British workers to the dole queue". Its cartoonist Dave Brown pictures Mrs May at her desk with a Pinocchio-style nose, the review in her bin, and saying: "Dodgy job-stealing immigrants nicked my report."
The Daily Mail takes a different line, however, saying it understands the study "will clearly state that some Britons have suffered 'displacement' from the jobs market".
The paper continues: "It says this has been particularly noticeable for 'low-skilled natives', especially during the last recession." The Mail also quotes Sir Andrew Green, of pressure group Migrationwatch, criticising the BBC's "excitable tone" on the matter.
The issue has caused a "coalition rift", according to the Times. It views Mr Brokenshire's speech as a "rebuke" to Business Secretary Vince Cable, on the day he "turns on Tory critics who attempt to shoot down any positive view of immigration". It says the Lib Dem will use a Mansion House address in the City to say: "Bear down on immigrants and you lose some of the most dynamic, innovative and imaginative workers in your economy."
Meanwhile, the Daily Star announces: "Brit jobs... thanks to the migrants." It highlights a report suggesting that one in seven UK firms is set up by newcomers and that "nearly half a million people from 155 countries have launched businesses here".
Handbags over Europe
The Daily Express is among the papers reporting that Britain's membership of the EU - and the immigration that has come with it - will be the subject of radio and TV debates between Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and UKIP's Nigel Farage.
George Parker, writing in the Financial Times, says the surprise decision to go head-to-head "breaks the golden rule traditionally adopted by mainstream parties ahead of European elections: 'don't talk about Europe'." But he adds: "There is a feeling Mr Clegg needs to gamble: polls suggest the party could lose most or all of its 12 seats in the European parliament without a dramatic move."
As Telegraph political editor James Kirkup puts it: "Two middle-aged white men shouting at each other about subsidiarity, sovereignty and the finer points of the Lisbon Treaty - it's hardly Ali vs Frazier." While the paper's headline sees it more as a "clash of the middleweights", its cartoonist Adams sketches two handbags in party colours on lecterns behind a sign reading: "Farage-Clegg Debate. Time = Dawn."
Neither PM David Cameron nor Labour's Ed Miliband are pushing to take part, with the FT suggesting that Tory officials hope Mr Clegg might dent UKIP's vote. But Matthew Goodwin and Robert Ford write in the Guardian that it's not just the Conservatives who should be worried about UKIP.
"That UKIP's core voters are middle-class Tories animated by Europe is the biggest myth in Westminster. In fact, UKIP is the most working-class dominated party since Michael Foot's Labour in 1983."
Spring hopes eternal
After months of writing headlines about the miserable consequences of floods, gales or - occasionally - snow, sub-editors are excited about the prospect of winter nearing its end, with temperatures of up to 19C (66F) forecast for Sunday.
"It's gonna be a Sunday on Sunday," says the Sun, while the Daily Express predicts "a month of sun days", thanks to a stretch of summer-like weather over the coming weeks.
Some papers have al fresco food on their minds, with the Daily Mail describing the transition from "ice to ice creams" and the Times saying we'll be heading from "the freezer to the BBQ".
It'll be like "Spain... not rain," says the Daily Mirror, quoting one forecaster saying it'll be warmest in London, north-east England, west Wales and north Devon.
Meanwhile, the papers revel in predicting how the UK will get one over on foreign destinations this weekend:
Warmer than Greece - Daily Mail
Hotter than St Tropez - Daily Express
Warmer than the south of France - Sun
Hotter than Corfu - Daily Star
Warmer than the Greek islands - Times
Hotter than Ibiza - Daily Mirror
"There's nothing like the sun to bring back the feelgood factor," adds the Star's editorial column.
Public service broadcasting?
"BBC will take axe to the channel that made it happen for Gavin and Stacey," is how the Times describes plans to take BBC Three off-air and leave it as an online-only station.
The Guardian wonders whether the decision represents "cultural elitism or a necessary cut".
"Critics of the BBC's size had singled the channel out as a candidate for closure, seizing on what they perceived to be its salacious and celebrity-obsessed content. But the BBC had long argued it played a role in reaching younger viewers," writes broadcasting correspondent John Plunkett.
Describing the channel as being "switched off in its prime", the Independent suggests the corporation is facing a "revolt from some of its most popular entertainers". It quotes Heydon Prowse, of hidden-camera political satire The Revolution Will Be Televised as saying: "BBC Three does a better job of the BBC's remit to inform, educate and explain (sic) than the £22m it spends on The Voice. Its shows genuinely cater for a young audience in a non-patronising way."
The paper runs though the channel's success stories, like Afghanistan documentary series Our War and the factual mental health show Don't Call Me Crazy, alongside low points it names as Hotter Than My Daughter and F*** Off, I'm Ginger.
The Sun names the "furious stars", such as comedians Jack Whitehall and Matt Lucas, bidding to save the channel, while quoting critics questioning its public service credentials. And while it gives space to comedian Russell Kane to argue BBC3 "takes risks and creates stars", the paper's TV editor Colin Robertson says: "Axing BBC Three is the right thing to do. " However, he adds: "Axing BBC Three shows is not... Uncle, Bluestone 42, Sweat the Small Stuff... They're good... The BBC should keep making them."
And Mirror deputy TV editor Mark Jefferies writes the decision "might make business sense as well as saving £50m but Mr Hall is unlikely to get his way without a fight".
Making people click
Financial Times: Bitcoin exchange chief found dead in Singapore
Daily Mirror: Watch as giant asteroid the size of two double-decker buses flies past Earth at 32,076mph
Guardian: Russia Today news anchor Liz Wahl resigns live on air over Ukraine crisis
Telegraph: Student ordered to pay $100,000 over Twitter defamation of teacher
Times: Stop ritual slaughter of animals, says top vet