The papers: Gatwick's Ebola scare

War graves at Ypres, Belgium Image copyright Getty Images

It's not often that the leading story in most of our national newspapers is 100 years old - but it is today.

For on 4 August 1914, Great Britain joined a conflict which had started a week before between Austro-Hungary and Serbia and spread to include much of Europe - the First World War.

The "war to end all wars" is examined, reflected on, and remembered in Monday's papers - and there are plenty of details of events to mark the anniversary around the country.

The Sun's front page quotes Laurence Binyon's famous poem The Fallen, "At the going down of the Sun, we will remember them."

The paper shows some of the "Great War's" big statistics within poppies - 750,000 British personnel killed in the war; 60,000 British casualties on the first day of the Battle of the Somme; 17 million killed on all sides during the war.

Historian Dan Snow, writing in the paper, notes the war was "a disaster for every nation it touched.

"It did not resolve anything either - contrary to politician's promises, war rarely does."

The Sun's leader column says "it is important we do not just solemnly commemorate. We should also celebrate those who served and hail their selflessness and courage.

"They showed the true meaning of comradeship.

"The heroes of today walk in the footsteps of giants".

The Independent's editorial says the lessons of the run-up to the 14-18 War still ring true today.

It quotes David Lloyd-George: "Nations slithered over the brink into the boiling cauldron of war without any trace of apprehension or dismay."

The paper adds "one of the mysteries of that hot diplomatic summer [of 1914] was how little the telephone was used and how easily signals among the different great powers were misunderstood."

Image copyright AP
Image caption The Battle of Passchendaele, 1917

Writing in the paper, Robert Fisk remembers his war veteran father who was angry at the memory of the war and the men who had caused it .

Fisk's father, Bill, had survived the conflict, but his friends who'd written from France before he joined up "all died in the war... he never found the graves".

Jeremy Paxman writes in the Daily Mirror "if nothing else, the war ought to remain a warning to our statesmen not to write cheques they themselves will not have to honour".

The Financial Times reflects on how the war is remembered differently throughout Europe.

It notes the centenary has been a muted occasions for Germans, who are much less likely to visit their own nation's war cemeteries than British, Belgian and French tourists are.

"The second world war cast such a shadow over Germany's 20th century past that it has virtually obliterated 1914-18 remembrance," the paper says.

The Times reports on one of the more unusual acts of remembrance.

Villagers at The Lee are to "finish" a cricket match which was interrupted by rain on 3 August, 1914.

"With the threat of war imminent, some of the players resolved to resume it just as soon as the conflict was over," the Times explains.

That took four years, in which time some 30 men from the village died in the trenches.

"By the time the war was over no one had the appetite to think about a match that cannot have seemed important anymore."

'House of cronies'

This week a list of people to be appointed to the peerage will be published and the word used in many newspapers to describe some of them is "cronies".

The Daily Mirror says the rumoured ennoblement of hedge fund boss Sir Michael Farmer, who it says has donated £6m to the Conservative Party, "is likely to reignite the cash-for-peerages row".

The paper notes football chief Karen Brady and former Marks & Spencer chief executive Sir Stuart Rose could join him on the Tory benches in the Lords.

The Times also notes that the appointments are likely to spark "cronyism fears".

The paper says Mr Cameron is expected to announce 25 new peers to join a total of nearly 800.

"Mr Cameron has largely ignored protests about 'packing' the upper chamber, claiming he is acting to correct an over-representation of Labour peers."

"Attempts to make it easier for peers to resign or be fired have foundered and constitutional experts warn that without reform the numbers of peers will soon reach 1,000," the Times adds.

The Daily Mail notes the Lords is now the second largest legislative house in the world, after China's National People's Congress.

The paper quotes Labour MP Paul Flynn who says "bringing in these party political appointments degrades Parliament, it is a backwards step."

UKIP MEP Patrick O'Flynn says "yet more LibLabCon establishment cronies being put into the unreformed House of Lords".

The Mail says Labour are expected to nominate former Eastenders actor and sitting MEP Michael Cashman as a peer, while the LibDem's are expected to have put forward former party chief executive Chris Fox.

The paper comment dubs the Lords "the house of cronies" and says it is "little more than a retirement home for failed politicians, over-the-hill party hacks and (often pretty dodgy) party donors.

"The longer that the current rotten appointment system remains in place, the more discredited Westminster politics will become."


With stories about the spread of the Ebola virus in all the papers, the fear factor is running high.

The Daily Mirror leads on "terror" at Gatwick Airport after a woman from Sierra Leone - one of the nations affected by the outbreak - died shortly after arriving at the airport.

The paper says the 72-year-old woman, who had flown from Gambia to the UK, was taken ill on the plane's gangway on Saturday.

The aircraft was placed in quarantine.

An aircraft worker told the paper as tests were being carried out "everyone's just petrified".

The Sun completes the story that the Mirror begins.

It says tests on the dead woman revealed her death was of natural causes and was unconnected with the virus. The plane returned to Gambia on Sunday.

A Gatwick spokesman told the Sun that the airport "took sensible steps and followed directions from Public Health England".

Writing in the Times, Matt Ridley - " a serial debunker of alarm" and "exaggerated scares" - says Ebola has him worried.

Not for the UK or other rich countries, he says which can "achieve the necessary isolation and hygiene to control any cases that get here by air before they infect more than a handful of other people - at the very worst.

"It is the situation in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea which is scary. There it could get much worse before it gets better."

Ridley explains the virus seems to have been endemic in Africa's deep forests for "a very long time" carried by the profuse numbers of bats there.

"Liberia and Sierra Leone are two of only six countries in the world whose average per capita income is less than it was 50 years ago and that is why they are so vulnerable to an epidemic.

"The sooner we engage more citizens... in the global economy, so that they can get jobs in urban areas, afford decent healthcare and begin to eat fast food rather than bushmeat, the better," he adds.

Closing time

And so, the Commonwealth Games, came to a close - with a party more than one paper decided merited the headline "Scotland the Rave".

The Daily Mail celebrates the performance of Lulu, saying the 65-year-old singer impressed "many viewers" with her "powerful vocal performance".

The paper also notes a cheeky Englishman "flag bombed" Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond during the closing ceremony.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Two-hundred-and-forty pipers performed at the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony - as did Kylie Minogue and Deacon Blue

The man positioned himself behind Mr Salmond with a flag of St George, possibly in parody of the SNP chief doing the same with a Saltire behind David Cameron at Wimbledon last year.

The Daily Express notes Glasgow's Games have been praised as the "standout Games in the history of the movement" by Mike Hooper, who runs the organisation behind the four-yearly event.

The Independent humorously remarks that "closing time in Glasgow might once have been a perilous affair".

But the city's reputation for hospitality and friendliness meant the Games had been a "triumph", the paper decides, adding that there were not even any "boos for the English".

The English, who the Times notes, won the "gold rush" by topping the medal table.

The paper focuses on mixed Badminton winners Chris and Gabby Adcock, who married last September.

The couple, who have been together since their teens, says being married gave them "an advantage over other pairs" on the court.

However if Mr Salmond was hoping the Games' success had given him a competitive advantage, he is wrong, the Daily Star reckons.

The paper says the expected "Braveheart bounce" that would have seen support for Scottish independence swell during the contest has not materialised.

It says the current polls see the Yes campaign support dropping slightly, while the No vote remains static.

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