Newspaper headlines: Jeremy Corbyn 'coup' bid and Black Friday 'flop'
It's less than three months since Jeremy Corbyn was elected Labour leader but already newspapers address talk of a "plot" to stage a "coup" within the party.
The i and its sister publication, the Independent, report the calls of four backbenchers for Mr Corbyn to step down, with one saying the party is in a "terrible, terrible mess". Meanwhile, the Times says some senior figures have been consulting lawyers over a way to both unseat him and ensure he cannot be re-elected.
Mr Corbyn's opposition to Prime Minister David Cameron's bid to extend the UK's military action against Islamic State extremists to targets in Syria has caused the split. And Daily Telegraph cartoonist Bob sums up the situation by picturing Mr Corbyn battered by his own "Stop the War" placard, with an army of disgruntled Labour MPs marching away.
However, the Times reports that the leader's opponents are unlikely to have it all their own way. It says Mr Corbyn has drafted in a series of left-wing advisers and that his MPs will "feel the full force of [his] online army... as the grassroots campaign group Momentum flexes its muscles for the first time".
"Momentum's database of tens of thousands of Corbynistas is the key tool of an organisation that is ultimately controlled by some of Mr Corbyn's closest political allies. By building its grassroots network and repeatedly showing it has strength in numbers, it aims to ward off Labour MPs thinking of defying the leader," the paper says.
Jim Pickard is in Walthamstow, north-east London, for the FT Weekend. He finds Momentum's work already making life more difficult for centrist MP Stella Creasy. "Four Creasy allies have lost posts in the local party this month to backers of Mr Corbyn amid manoeuvring reminiscent of the 1980s: AGMs moved at short notice, and meetings tabled to go on late into the night."
The Daily Telegraph argues that even if Mr Corbyn's opponents have their way "it is quite likely that Corbynism will outlive its namesake". It says: "The scale of Mr Corbyn's leadership victory and recent polling suggests that he is the overwhelming favourite of the grass roots. Even if a strong centre-left candidate were put forward, they would have to woo that radicalised electorate."
A more immediate poll - Thursday's Oldham West and Royton by-election - is the focus of the Guardian, which finds Labour campaigners urging canvassers: "Jim, Jim, Jim-Jim-Jim. No mention of the other fella." Jim McMahon is the town council leader and Labour candidate, writes Helen Pidd, while that "other fella" is Mr Corbyn. She says he's been described as "dangerous", a "lunatic throwback" and an "arrogant idiot" by Labour voters past and present in the constituency.
Eye-catching headlines, with spoiler alert for EastEnders fans
- "Dorking with Dinosaurs" - a skull found in a chalk pit in the Surrey town belonged to the prehistoric "sea monster" pliosaurus, according to an academic quoted in the Sun
- "My tip for a happy 60-year marriage? Just say 'Yes dear'" - this diamond wedding report, courtesy of the Daily Express, needs little explanation
- "Mind your language! Welsh town's stand against English" - the Independent wanders into a row over a council's failure to publish bilingual notices
- "Taxi for Charlie Slater!" - the Daily Mirror says Albert Square's resident cabbie is to be killed off from EastEnders
Despite the apparent frustration of some Labour MPs at Mr Corbyn's leadership, it seems plenty in the press agree with his stance on Syria.
According to a poll conducted for the Daily Mirror, Mr Cameron does not have the backing of a majority of the British public in his bid to have the UK extend its military action. The survey suggested 48% backed British raids, with 30% wanting the RAF to stay out of the conflict and 21% undecided.
The Daily Mail is "sickened" to find itself in the same camp as the Labour leader but agrees that Mr Cameron has not yet made the case. However, Peter Oborne writes in the paper that the debate was Mr Corbyn's "finest hour".
He says: "He excelled in the Commons debate over Syria, coming over as statesmanlike, eloquent and well-informed... If the bombing of Syria does turn out to be the issue that finally breaks Corbyn's leadership, he could not have been defeated in a more honourable cause."
The Independent believes that, on balance, there is a case for extending British action but insists that opposition should be welcomed. However, it says Mr Corbyn is "too weak to do anything other than plead" for fellow MPs to back his stance. The situation does nothing for Labour MPs, members or the "41% of the British public that, according to YouGov, would rather the UK left Syria well alone".
"Britain needs an opposition party worth the name for five years," complains the Sun. "While David Cameron is at his best in a crisis, he and [Chancellor] George Osborne make dreadful mistakes with the pressure off. It always will be while Corbyn, his cronies and their deranged social media fanbase are in charge."
It seems bargain-hunters were few and far between as UK stores promoted their sales on Black Friday, the imported US phenomenon of heavy discounting to mark the day after Thanksgiving. The Mail's photo-spread shows near-empty walkways in shopping centres around the nation, and supermarket checkouts bereft of customers.
The Daily Star renames the day "Slack Friday", quoting some social media users describing the event as "just a way to offload overpriced tat". "What no punch ups?" wonders the Independent, noting that last year's scenes of customers fighting over discounted TVs were averted as people preferred to shop online.
Electrical retailer Currys sold 30 TVs a minute, the paper says, while fashion website very.co.uk had more than 500,000 hits by 9am after launching its sale at midnight. According to the Times, the best deals were "done in bed with smartphone".
More than £1bn was "splurged online", says the Sun. However, it says there could be a sting in the tail for retailers in the form of "Red Saturday", when more than £160m of the previous day's buys will be returned. It quotes one analyst saying: "More and more shoppers treat their homes as dressing rooms. They wake up on Red Saturday with a feeling of guilt."
The Daily Express declares the day: "Yet another imported American tradition that has failed to strike a chord with the British public." It adds: "If only Halloween would do the same."
What the commentators say
Contrary to popular belief "it's nice guys who get the girl", reports the Daily Mail. It quotes from a study published in the International Journal of Psychology that asked women to rate the sexual attractiveness of men in photographs. Asked to rate a second time, after being given details that made the men's characters sound either virtuous or unfaithful, "the women were much less attracted to the bad boys - no matter how good looking they were", says the paper.
The Daily Star studies some Australian research and comes to the conclusion that "beards could be a sign of a man being sexist". It explains: "Researchers found men with facial fluff showed more signs of macho behaviour and a tendency to degrade women." The study concluded: "Men holding more patriarchal views may be more inclined to reinforce their dominance by growing facial hair".
Meanwhile, the Sun quotes from a poll suggesting that men's annual spending on their partners drops from £2,200 to £1,900 once they are married, as the number of romantic texts drops off and married women are treated to fewer bunches of flowers. No indication is given of the effect of facial hair on intra-marital spending.
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