Newspaper headlines: EU reform, Modigliani sale and I'm a Celebrity...

The front-page headlines might not make easy reading for the prime minister as he weighs up the reaction to his speech setting out his vision for a new UK-Brussels relationship.

"Are EU kidding?" asks the Sun, suggesting David Cameron was "raising the white flag" over his pledge to ban newly arrived immigrants from claiming child benefit or tax credits. Describing the PM as "wobbling like a jelly on a plate", the paper complains that in the first salvos of the battle to renegotiate Britain's relationship with the European Union he had "aimed low and missed".

As the Financial Times sees it, Mr Cameron's failure to address Eurosceptics' key demands has caused the Conservatives' internal "truce" to fall apart. "A series of Tory backbenchers vented their frustration... He had not attempted to win the right to veto European laws, strike separate trade agreements or withdraw from existing European social legislation, they complained."

Leo McKinstry of the Daily Express shares their concerns. "[Mr Cameron's] whole approach reeks of defensiveness and timidity. It is not so much a challenge to the federal superstate but an acceptance of subjugation... Under Cameron Britain is like an abused partner who, instead of walking out of a destructive relationship, just nervously asks: 'Can we talk about this?'"

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The Daily Mirror's Kevin Maguire says it's not just Eurosceptics who might feel let down: "Instead of delivering a clear message, the Mr Wobbly act undermines rather than strengthens the pro-lobby's Britain Stronger in Europe case."

The Guardian says the PM "should have made a more committed case for Britain in Europe, going beyond the important security arguments". It says: "He should have tried to carry middle-ground opinion with him by stressing the important social dimension."

Meanwhile, Daily Telegraph sketchwriter Michael Deacon reckons Mr Cameron's demands carry little force. "As always, he just can't bring himself to say he would ever campaign to leave," he writes . "It's a refusal that makes a mockery of his supposed desire for significant change, because the people he's pointing his gun at can see it's not loaded."

However, in the analysis of the Independent's Andrew Grice, Mr Cameron chose a "sensible way to get Europe on our side", by not attempting to appease Eurosceptic backbenchers. "He knows their voracious appetite can never be satisfied and, without admitting it, has finally come off the fence. The reaction in Brussels was more favourable than among his MPs."

The Times gauges a similar reaction from Europe's leaders, saying: "On the whole, officials breathed a sigh of relief after Mr Cameron signalled a willingness to compromise. The most gratified sigh came after the assurance that Britain would not seek any changes to the EU treaty before the in-out referendum."

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However Quentin Letts, of the Daily Mail, wonders whether the letter even reached European Council president Donald Tusk: "Before you form images of a butler bringing Comrade Tusk a smart white envelope on a silver salver... let it be explained that No 10's important message was in fact sent via email with a PDF attachment. Such is the modern way. Let us hope it did not land in Mr Tusk's spam basket along with his Viagra adverts."

Cartoonists offer their assessment. Entitled "David Cameron in a Reformed EU - or was it the Other Way Around", Steve Bell's effort in the Guardian shows a naked PM - his elbow and behind where each other should be - waving a little union jack in front of a much bigger EU flag.

Dave Brown, in the Independent, shows Mr Cameron posting letters to both Mr Tusk and Santa Claus, saying: "Hope he brings me what I want... I've not been very naughty." Under the title "Shopping List", the Telegraph's Adams shows Mr Cameron picking up beans on the "everyday value" shelves, while steering clear of the choice delicacies of the "deluxe range".

Meanwhile, Peter Brookes in the Times takes inspiration from the £113m sale of a painting by Amedeo Modigliani, with Mr Cameron taking the place of the Reclining Nude. "It's too high a price for us to pay," remarks French President Francois Hollande, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel adds: "He's horribly exposed on migrant benefits."


Sex sells

The sale of the Italian artist's Nu Couche for $170.4m (£113m) - the second-highest price ever for a work sold at auction - is reported in many papers. Art critic Jonathan Jones writes in the Guardian that Modigliani was "always destined to be a collector's favourite because he mixed modernist thrills with traditional seduction".

"You could almost call this a cynical market-minded cocktail," he suggests, adding later: "The art market has got it right, if you can stomach all those zeros. This is one of the great modern paintings and it is worth any sum you like."

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Guy Walters, in the Daily Mail, explores how Modigliani honed his talent for high art despite a love of "low living" on a cocktail of hashish, absinthe, cocaine and affairs. He describes how "the epitome of a struggling Parisian artist" would "prostitute his talents to raise a couple of francs for his next few shots of the demon spirit" while living in the French capital in 1917.

Reclining Nude, Walters says "was considered scandalous". "The painting was revolutionary for a public accustomed to more formalised classical nudes. Reclining Nude and many of Modigligani's other paintings exude raw sensuality, and were an homage to the sex he so loved."

The Sun focuses on the man who shelled out for the painting, calling him a "Chinese Del Boy" who turned from a "penniless cabbie" into a billionaire. Having dropped out of school aged 14 to help make handbags for his mother to sell, Liu Yiqian later drove a taxi before making a fortune on the stock market, the paper says.

However, it adds that he likes to joke that he's a "tuhao" - someone who has come into money but has no cultural refinement. "He drinks tea from a Ming dynasty cup, wears T-shirts to the office and yesterday left the art world reeling," writes Emily Fairburn. She adds that he's previously splashed out £29m on a silk painting, stripped to his underpants to mimic a statue of a Tibetan bronze yogi he'd bought for £3.9m, and paid for such extravagent purchases with numerous swipes of his credit card to take advantage of its points scheme.


Eye-catching headlines

  • "Night vision goggles to catch dog foulers" - Council wardens have a new weapon to use when patrolling parks at night, says the Daily Mail
  • "Get meowt! Cat jams his head in a tin" - vets had to act quickly amid fears Felix would suffocate after he got stuck in a can while rummaging in a bin, reports the Daily Express
  • "Poor Mr Punch... he might have been suffering the effects of TB" - scientists say the seaside favourite's hooked nose and hunchback could have been a symptom of tuberculosis, says the Telegraph
  • "Banger clanger" - the boss of a sausage firm is to sue over the World Health Organisation's claim that processed meats cause cancer, reports the Sun

It's True... Tony Hadley in the jungle

The announcement of which stars will be entering the Australian jungle for the coming series of ITV show I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! generates the usual excitement.

Regular readers of the Daily Star won't be surprised to see it on the front page. Inside it runs through some of the competitors' phobias, what they're likely to miss most and designates roles.

Image copyright ITV

Ex-boxer Chris Eubank will be the "jungle jester", it says, while fashion journalist Susannah Constantine will be the "camp mum" and former footballer Kieron Dyer will be the "king of the banter". The inclusion of Spandau Ballet singer Tony Hadley captures the imagination of the Sun and the Mirror, with the latter quoting him saying he'll be "happy to lose weight" during his stint away from home comforts.

The Mail says 55-year-old Hadley is leading a team of "golden oldies" into the jungle, given the average age is 46. However, the Daily Express says bookmakers have singled out the youngest - Union J boyband member George Shelley, who's 22 - as favourite to win.

The show even gets a mention in the Telegraph, with columnist Allison Pearson dressing up in the trademark khaki and red uniform, and declaring "I could be persuaded..." despite the thought prompting ridicule from her family.


What the commentators say

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Media captionRosamund Urwin, a columnist for London's Evening Standard, joins political commentator Lance Price to review Wednesday's papers for the BBC News Channel.

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