The papers: Rolf Harris - portraits of a predator

The mournful police mugshot of Rolf Harris stares from the pages of Tuesday's newspapers as if in lament for the sudden fall of a man who many papers say was a "national treasure", but all now revile as a "predator".

Image copyright AFP

The Daily Telegraph's headline points out that the 84-year-old entertainer could now die in jail after being convicted of 12 sexual offences.

The paper adds that he also faces the possibility of more charges as "dozens" of new potential victims of his abuse have come forward during his trial, and he could face a "string of compensation claims" which could diminish his "£11m fortune".

In a commentary piece in the Telegraph, Mick Brown sums up the feelings of many by saying "unlike Savile, [Harris] seemed entirely beyond suspicion".

"Of all the people brought to book by Operation Yewtree, Harris's conviction is perhaps hardest to countenance, for it implies the biggest betrayal of trust," Brown continues.

He mentions Harris's 1985 child protection video, where the star - surrounded by children and two policemen - sings "my body's nobody's body but mine".

"'Irony' really doesn't describe it," Brown comments.

In a sidebar inside the paper, John Bingham says Harris "benefitted from the so-called 'chilling effect' on media reporting of the Leveson Inquiry, enjoying five months of anonymity while under suspicion of sexual abuse."

It's a theme developed in other papers, notably the Sun.


Its leader column says: "It may be too much to hope that the celebrities backing Hacked Off's tribal war on the tabloids would ever pause to think what they were doing.

"But let them not pretend, as they do, that Leveson's recommendations have anything but grave consequences for our press and our democracy.

"In this case they would have shielded a nasty old pervert with a taste for little girls."

The Independent's leader column reflects on how some people say groping, sexual harassment and abuse are a reflection of the "culture" of Britain in the 60s and 70s.

"It can be a convenient concept for those individuals who are guilty of wrongdoing: they believed, they might say, that their actions were simply part of 'the way things were'. In their own eyes their culpability is dimmed," the paper writes.

However, it adds, it is "very necessary" to "put the past on trial".

Something, that has been widely "put on trial" in the media is Operation Yewtree itself.

Joan Smith, writing in the Guardian, says many had labelled the police probe into historic sexual abuse cases by celebrities "a witch hunt".

"For a time it looked as if public opinion, initially outraged by the Savile revelations, was swinging in the opposite direction" and agreeing with the characterisation, Smith writes.

However she adds "the Harris conviction is undeniably a blow against impunity for sex offenders, no matter how famous or elderly.

"But the furore over Operation Yewtree suggests that the criminal justice system may be ahead of public opinion on the question of sexual abuse and rape."

Jaws in pinstripes

The Guardian may have a cartoon of David Cameron on a football-style tour of honour bus labelled "26-2" and "defeat is victory", but it seems that the prime minister's failure to persuade other European leaders not to appoint Jean-Claude Juncker to the EU's top job may have been a mixed blessing.

The Daily Express is one of a number of papers to carry a poll - commissioned by Conservative Party donor Lord Ashcroft - which suggests the Tories now enjoy a two percentage point lead over Labour, following Mr Cameron's Brussels rebuff.

The paper's leader column says it knows why. The PM's "efforts have endeared him and his party to voters.

"David Cameron has stood up to Europe and stood up for what the British public want."

In her parliamentary sketch in the Times, Ann Treneman lampoons "heroic Dave" who took on the "Euro-monster" to much cheering from his backbenchers.

"It takes a certain type of man to carry off being victorious in failure, and, after yesterday, I can tell you that Dave is that man," she writes.

Image copyright PA
Image caption David Cameron received vocal support from the Conservative benches when he was questioned over his EU policy

Ed Miliband's attempts to taunt the PM that his efforts in Europe ended in "utter humiliation" were greeted by massed yawning from the Conservative benches, she adds..

"Rows of gaping Tory mouths, expensive implants gleaming, molars visible from the Moon. 'Jaws' in pinstripes."

In the Daily Mail, former Thatcher government adviser Robin Harris writes "whatever Dave says, we're now weaker".

"History records so-called Pyrrhic victories - ones in which a battle won entails such losses from the victor that it amounts to a defeat," he continues.

"But David Cameron seems to have invented a new concept - the Pyrrhic defeat.

"To embark willingly and wilfully on a minor confrontation, the forerunner to far more important ones, and then not just to go down to defeat... but to brag about it, is surely unique, even in the long and inglorious history of British diplomatic bungling."

In the Independent, columnist Steve Richards worries the EU issue will bring civil war to the Conservatives and distract the government.

"Europe does not merit becoming yet again the overwhelming issue of our times.

"The next government faces far bigger challenges - from meeting the costly and growing demands of elderly care to building houses in a country that has been incapable of doing so since the 1970s.

"Yet if Cameron and his party are returned Europe will dominate. Other policy areas will hardly get a look-in."


As the fighting in Iraq continues, the declaration of an "Islamic caliphate" by the extremist insurgent group Isis is examined in many papers.

The Daily Mirror is one of a number of papers to carry an "Isis map" of the eventual boundaries of their "Islamic state".

The carefully labelled map stretches from Spain, Portugal and the Balkans in Europe to most of Africa north of Tanzania and across Asia to Indonesia and the Philippines.

Its analysis - from Chatham House regional expert Hayder Al-Khoei - says "it is this potent mixture of ideology and a limitless supply of funds that makes [Isis] so powerful.

"All Europe is now vulnerable."

The Independent says the declaration of a caliphate "will surely electrify many radicals, and probably draw new recruits to the cause from the millions of young Sunni men across the Arab world who live in oppressive regimes, with scant prospect of work or a better future."

The Times says Isis has overtaken al-Qaeda as the "biggest threat to the West".

It says the group had won the backing of Islamist insurgents in Yemen and North Africa which marks "a game-changing powershift in global jihad".

Writing in the paper, Anthony Loyd argues that the West must "recalibrate" its supply of arms to Syrian rebel groups opposed to Isis and halt its "inaction" which "has earned us Sunni opprobrium".

"Those in the West who now argue that the Damascus regime, though blood-stained, may somehow be a necessary ally of circumstance against Isis are entirely bankrupt in their logic.

"Rapprochement... would be akin to neglecting a primary cancer while treating a secondary tumour," he concludes.


Monty Python - like its famous "Norwegian Blue" parrot - is not dead, but has merely been "resting".

The papers make much of the opening of the comedy group's 10 reunion shows, which begin on Tuesday night in London's O2 arena.

Image caption Everyone should expect the Spanish Inquisition...

The "last ever" chance to see the Pythons - minus of course Graham Chapman, who died in 1989 - will feature contributions from Sir Mick Jagger, Prof Brian Cox and Stephen Hawking, the Daily Telegraph says.

The paper says Sir Mick appears in a short promotional film for the shows saying "they're ... a bunch of wrinkly old men trying to relive their youth and make loads of money."

It showed, the Telegraph decides, "a hitherto unknown flair for comedy" in the veteran Rolling Stone.

The £4.5m extravanza - employing, the Daily Star tells us, 10 male and 10 female dancers as well as John Cleese, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam - will be "now for something completely smutty".

The Star hails the comeback as the Python's "rudest ever" with "x-rated" jokes due to the troupe being "no longer restricted by TV rules".

Rules or no rules, the Daily Express tells us, the final show will be broadcast - both on comedy channel Gold and live at nearly 1,200 venues in the UK, Ireland and US and to 36 other countries.

And in case you're wondering if the new show features your favourite sketches, the Guardian lets on that you can expect the Spanish Inquisition, a dead parrot and John Cleese as Anne Elk, who has a theory on brontosauruses.

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