Newspaper review: Focus on Tory tensions

Sunday newspapers

Tensions within the Conservative Party over Europe, gay marriage and "Swivelgate" are the focus of many of Sunday's newspapers.

"A loose collection of warring tribes" is what, according to the Sunday People, the Conservatives are.

The party, says the Observer, is "self-harming over Europe".

Several "internal feuds" seem to have come to the boil at the same time, says the Sunday Mirror, "Europe, gay marriage" and what it calls "loons".

As all report, party co-chairman Lord Feldman has strongly denied referring to party workers as "mad, swivel-eyed loons".

The Sunday Express says some activists are calling for him to be sacked.

The Sunday Telegraph, describing the row as "Swivelgate", comments that "parts of the Tory leadership do seem determined to alienate... the dedicated foot-soldiers of Conservatism".

'Zen-like serenity'

The signs of tensions, and the way that David Cameron has dealt with them - or failed to - prompt some to ask questions about his character.

The Sunday Times believe that "political leaders win admiration through passion and belief, even among those who disagree. The prime minister, in contrast, is comfortable in his skin".

But Andrew Rawnsley, of the Observer, is sceptical about claims that Mr Cameron "has sailed through all this humiliation in a state of zen-like serenity".

And he suggests that the answer to the question: "Who gave the loons the keys to the asylum?" is Mr Cameron himself, and his speech promising an in-out referendum in the next parliament.

The Telegraph wonders that the government has not made more of suggestions that a modest and sustained economic recovery may have started.

But, writing in the Mail on Sunday, Chancellor George Osborne goes some way towards doing just that.

He says "we have made progress," and he talks of an economy that is "healing slowly" and "growing".

But he also says "the road ahead is not easy... there is still a long way to go and there are risks out there".

'Tax debate'

Several papers show a keen interest in what the Observer calls "the tax debate" - the question of how much is paid by internet trading companies such as Google and Amazon.

The Independent, among others, explains how "in our age of liberalised cross-border trade and free capital flows", multi-national companies have "a considerable level of freedom to choose where they pay tax".

The Sunday Mirror claims that the amount lost to the government as a result works out at £5.5bn each year.

The methods used by Google to minimise its tax liabilities are denounced as "immoral" by a former executive of the company who has been talking to the Times.

Writing in the Observer, chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, acknowledges that corporate taxation is "a hot topic".

He accepts the need for reform and "a clearer, simpler system".

But he also points out that, if changes are made, every individual country cannot expect to gain without stifling innovation and job creation.

The Sun commends Dame Helen Mirren for having tea with a 10-year-old boy with cancer, who has always wanted to meet the Queen.

Dame Helen, who is playing the monarch in a West End play at the moment, dressed as the Queen for their meeting.

The actress "might not have royal blood in her veins," says the paper "but she is the queen of all our hearts".

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