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Immigration concerns and Clegg cartoons - the papers

By Andy McFarlane
BBC News


Wide-ranging effects of immigration make Wednesday's front pages, with the Guardian reporting concerns that hostility to new arrivals is "setting back race relations 20 years".

It uses data from the British Social Attitudes survey to illustrate the point, saying that an increasing number of people have been describing themselves as racially prejudiced since a low of 25% in 2001.

However, the Sun's Jane Moore reckons that people's immigration fears are "all about the numbers, not race" and suggests voters' backing for UKIP in last Thursday's elections might see mainstream politicians engaging in "reasonable debate" on the subject. Her paper wants less talk and more action from the prime minister. The Sun uses a front-page editorial to demand that David Cameron act to end pan-EU "freedom of movement" rules.

The Daily Express, meanwhile, objects to the fact that £30m in child benefit claimed by migrant workers has been sent abroad to their families and demands the government "crack down" on the situation.

Stephen Robinson, in the Daily Mail, takes exception to former PM Tony Blair's criticism of UKIP as having "something pretty nasty" under the facade. "Nigel Farage would not be grinning at us from the pages of our newspapers with an empty pint glass on his head were it not for Mr Blair's policies," he argues, saying the consequences of those policies are also seen in "eastern European migrants crammed six to a room in east London", overwhelmed GPs and shortages of school places.

Yellow peril

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Nick Clegg might be avoiding the headlines - "Civil war" (Daily Mail); "hasn't got a cue" (The Sun, see above image); "botched coup" (Independent) - but the Lib Dem leader will find little light relief from the cartoonists after his party's election bashing last week.

Adams in the Daily Telegraph re-imagines the artist Tracey Emin's My Bed, which is being freshly auctioned with a million-pound price tag. In the cartoon, Mr Clegg looks forlornly over a bed scattered with the detritus of four years of government: discarded AV referendum papers, a speeding ticket of former minister Chris Huhne and the coalition agreement.

For Dave Brown, in the Independent, Mr Clegg is the Lib Dems' symbolic Bird of Liberty, hung up with chickens for slaughter. Steve Bell, in the Guardian, has Mr Clegg tied to the mast of a raft in the form of David Cameron. "Et tu, Vince?" he asks, as Vince Cable - a flying elephant - flies overhead with his rear end aimed in Mr Clegg's direction. The latter is a reference to a poll conducted by a former ally of the business secretary which suggested people might prefer Mr Cable as leader.

Diary column Hickey, in the Daily Express, reckons Mr Clegg "won't thank his opposite number across the Irish Sea", for the example he's set. Labour's Eamon Gilmore stood down after the Irish junior coalition partner suffered disastrous local and European election results.

For the Daily Mirror, the Lib Dems' turmoil is a direct result of "jumping into bed with David Cameron's Conservatives... the moment the Liberal Democrats sold their soul". The Guardian's Simon Jenkins agrees that the party "would have been better off leaving the Tories in minority government".

However, there are words of encouragement from the Independent's opinion column, which says that removing the leader would be "immature, foolish and disloyal". It adds that Mr Clegg should take credit for the Lib Dems' part in the economic recovery, removing the low-paid from income tax, humanising tough social security policies and blocking moves to curtail personal freedoms.

Ethical capitalism

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Business scruples are examined in a number of quarters. In the Financial Times, International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde is quoted attacking banks for dragging their heels when it comes to implementing reforms. Looking back, she says: "Some prominent firms have even been mired in scandals that violate the most basic ethical norms." However, she adds: "The industry still prizes short-term profit over long-term prudence, today's bonus over tomorrow's relationship."

The Guardian quotes Bank of England Governor Mark Carney questioning whether traders meet ethical standards and calling for those who fail to meet high professional standards to be ostracised. "Individuals and their firms must have a sense of their responsibilities for the broader system," or else capitalism will destroy itself, he's reported as saying.

The pair were speaking at a City conference, where the Prince of Wales also gave his take on the situation. As the Daily Telegraph reports, his focus was on the threat to the environment. A "fundamental transformation of global capitalism" is necessary to halt "dangerously accelerating climate change" that will bring us to "our own destruction," he's said to have warned.

Martin Wolf, in the FT, also sees in capitalism a "doomsday machine" and argues for it being "disarmed" by greatly increased transparency requirements in key financial institutions, "thereby preventing such obvious absurdities as the build-up of huge off-balance sheet positions in vital institutions".

Shedding millions of pounds?

The Weight Watchers brand makes the front pages of two national newspapers, which report National Institute of Health and Care Excellence guidance that NHS doctors should refer overweight patients for slimming courses.

And the Daily Mail reckons that - given the typical cost of a 12-week course is about £100 - the cost to the taxpayer will run to hundreds of millions of pounds a year. It says weight loss firms like Slimming World and Rosemary Conley diet and fitness clubs, pictured above, will "make a killing"

Nearly two-thirds of the population are overweight, notes the Daily Telegraph. It quotes Tam Fry, of the National Obesity Forum, saying those recommending the move are "in cloud cuckoo land" if they think local authorities can afford to foot the bill, and hears from patient campaigners who think it would be "ludicrous" to spend the money in that way.

There may be more work to do in the future, if research reported in the Daily Express is correct. The paper reports the failure of an experiment in 60 south-west England primary schools to encourage children to eat a healthy diet and exercise more, involving teacher training, special lesson plans, interactive homework and material for school newsletters.

There was no difference in the lifestyle of 1,000 pupils put on the special programme from that of those who carried on as normal, it says.

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Related Topics

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