'Fury' over Ofsted ousting tops bill - the papers

The coalition is at war over education - that's the message on a number of Sunday's front pages.

The Observer,Independent on Sunday and Sunday Times all lead with the angry reaction by Lib Dems - Education Minister David Laws in particular - to Michael Gove's decision to replace the head of schools inspectorate Ofsted.

The Sunday Telegraph, though, chooses a health story instead - an arresting warning by the head of regulator, the CQC, that the NHS will "go bust" unless urgent and major improvements are made.

The splash in the Mail on Sunday is also health-related, but it concerns a warning set to be given by GPs to a million women in the UK about the risk of blood clots due to their contraceptive pill.

Discussing the coverage of flooding in the papers for the BBC News Channel, Matthew Green, foreign correspondent at Reuters, said: "It's a classic blame game now developing.

"But I guess the question is whether there's going to be a real political debate going forward about what the long-term solution is here. There are some environmentalists saying the Somerset Levels should be turned over to become an Everglades of the UK - presumably without the crocodiles."

Vincent Moss, political editor of the Sunday Mirror, said: "Of course, the boss of the Environment Agency is Lord Smith, Chris Smith, a Labour peer, who's due to stand down in June. The Sunday Telegraph is making it quite clear that if he did want to run again for that job he would have no chance of getting it."

Linking the story to the departure of Labour peer Baroness Morgan from Ofsted, he added: "I think you can see a bit of a pattern emerging here. If they're Labour and they're running it, it's their fault."

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Image caption Terrifying images of people attempting to flee from an erupting volcano in Sumatra appear in many papers

PM's 'pals'

The Sunday Mirror says Labour fear the Tories are trying "to tighten their grip on power" by packing public bodies with their own supporters. The paper has been extremely critical of Michael Gove's policies as education secretary and its leader argues: "The government is clearly determined that nothing and no one will be allowed to stand in the way of their ideological crusades, however flawed they might be."

The Independent on Sunday reports that Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg has "raised the issue of party political appointments" with Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heyward, amid claims that rumours are sweeping Westminster that Mr Gove wants to insert "a Conservative donor" as head of Ofsted.

"Partisanship and 'yes men' are not a healthy way to run a department, let alone influence the values and methods that are remodelling teaching and fashioning our children's futures," believes the Observer.

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Image caption A send-off to remember: Puerto Rican boxer Christopher Rivera was shot dead but his family dressed him in his full kit and propped him in the ring during his wake

Writing lines

The aforementioned Mr Gove himself writes in the Sun on Sunday about his desire to bring back tough discipline to schools. He tells the paper he favours punishments such as making children clean up graffiti and write lines. The Sun thinks that far from being "a political football", this opinion mirrors that expressed by Mr Gove's shadow Tristram Hunt recently, who called for all schools to have a "discipline tsar". "At last there's common ground," its leader adds.

The Mail on Sunday isn't so supportive though, arguing that Mr Gove "must be careful not to mistake gimmicks and gestures for real policy". The idea that writing lines will restore order is "a fantasy" and "heads and teachers must find new ways of establishing peace".

'Fit to govern'

The papers give their thoughts on plans announced by Ed Miliband to reduce union influence over Labour leadership elections.

The People thinks Mr Miliband faces losing up to £4m in donations if he goes ahead - the Sunday Express puts the figure at £5m, leaving the party "cash-strapped".

Senior union figures have told the Independent on Sunday they fear the plans may mean only "white, middle-aged, grey suit" candidates will get elected - those from within the party hierarchy "considered a safe pair of hands" - rather than any mavericks or reformers.

The Sunday Times isn't impressed either. Unions could make up the loss of funding with discretionary donations, which could actually give them "more not less influence over policy", it thinks. And "the fact that the unions seems happy to acquiesce tells us a lot", it adds.

But former Labour deputy prime minister John Prescott lends his support in the Sunday Mirror. He believes Ed Miliband is trying to finish the job that predecessor John Smith started in the 1990s. It's a change he says is necessary "for Labour to be fit to govern".

'Glorious defeat'

"It was D Day for England in Paris yesterday - D for Disaster," says the Sun pessimistically.

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Image caption Written all over his face: the pain of defeat suffered by England captain Chris Robshaw

But Patrick Collins, in the Mail on Sunday, can't be sad. He writes: "A marvellous day for the French. A genuinely glorious defeat for the English. And for the dear old Six Nations, a match for the ages."

That idea of the glorious defeat is echoed elsewhere too. Paul Hayward, in the Sunday Telegraph, thinks England's newcomers "will have left the field feeling like old men", but showed promise and "will return stronger".

The "brilliance" of Luther Burrell, in particular, was cause to celebrate, thinks Stuart Barnes in the Sunday Times. And of the new faces overall, he adds: "England lost the game but they are finding their way."

Michael Calvin, in the Independent, compares England's coach, Stuart Lancaster, to Dave Brailsford, the man behind the huge success of British cycling. "He knows instinctively when a young athlete is ready to be tested competitively at the highest level. Then sport's law of natural selection takes over."

Cad or dad?

Columnists are divided after it emerged this week that actor Hugh Grant has become a father for the third time.

Tony Parsons, in the Sun, is unimpressed to say the least. "By spraying his ageing oats so far and wide in such a short space of time, it is almost impossible for Hugh to be a decent father," he writes.

But Rachel Johnson, in the Mail on Sunday, disagrees wholeheartedly. She thinks he "will do everything apart from be in a formal relationship in a conventional nuclear household with either of his babymothers". He is not, she adds, "caddish or feckless at all".

"There are no rules about how to view commitment," argues Barbara Ellen, in the Observer. She says the presumption is that the women involved "feel miserable and powerless about their situation and are mere pawns in Grant's lothario game". In fact, that is "condescending, reductive, anti-female nonsense" and many women might actively prefer this situation to men "who want the relationship but not the children".

'Witch hunt'

Following the reversal of her acquittal for the murder of Meredith Kercher, the Sunday Express uses its leader column to urge the British government to put pressure on the US to send Amanda Knox back to Italy. "If a British woman were found guilty of the murder of an American and then tried to evade justice by hiding in her homeland, the roof would fall in," it says.

Much of the coverage of the case has focused on Knox's physical appearance. One columnist, Jenny McCartney, in the Sunday Telegraph, says the case "defies the simplification that flows from prejudice about a pretty American girl caught up with allegedly untrustworthy foreigners". She goes on: "As any criminal barrister could tell you, you don't have to look like a monster to be involved in a murder."

But Joan Smith, writing in the Independent, thinks the pursuit of Knox is a "witch hunt". She says a man, Rudy Guede, has already been convicted of the murder, but the Italian authorities remain convinced "that a woman must have been the prime mover". Those, she adds, are "the fevered imaginings of a rank species of misogyny".

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