Newspaper headlines: Flooding anger, NHS 'wall of silence' and France's 'fascist uprising'

The unprecedented deluge of water caused by Storm Desmond "caught ministers by surprise", the Telegraph says, as Tuesday's papers continue to focus on flooding.

Ministers have admitted they underestimated the potential strength of severe weather, and said barriers built after 2005 floods "may not have been strong enough", the paper says.

"No defence" is the headline for the Daily Mirror, which says the Conservative government cut flood defence funding by £116m this year.

It says people in flood-hit areas are furious, and David Cameron showed "some cheek to visit communities washed out of their homes". The prime minister must now "spend what it takes" to protect homes and businesses, it adds.

Image copyright Reuters

The Financial Times says spending on flood defences was cut soon after the coalition government came to power in 2010. It contrasts Britain with the Netherlands, a "world leader" on flood protection, where it says flooding has always been seen as a national security issue.

Spending on flood defences has now moved up the political agenda in Britain, where "one in six homes is at risk of flooding", the paper adds.

The weather forecasts in Tuesday's papers vary, but there is general agreement that more rain is expected in the coming days.

The Daily Express says these forecasts came as residents forced from their homes were told they may not be able to return for up to eight months.

Environment Secretary Liz Truss said the extreme weather was "consistent with the trends we're seeing in terms of climate change", the Times says.

The Metro's report includes a quote from the Met Office's chief scientist, who says climate change is "potentially playing a role".

Writing in the Times, Patrick Kidd says Ms Truss gave MPs a "rather soggy" statement on flooding then looked out of her depth when responding to questions. Her statement was so full of military references that "one wondered if we were about to bomb Carlisle", he adds.

Also in the Times, farmers from Braithwaite in Cumbria say they ignored a police order to stop after officers found them struggling to "rip away broken trees and debris blocking Coledale Beck" using ropes and tractors.

A local volunteer says: "We had one guy in the bucket of a JCB in the middle of the river, trying to put a chain round a huge piece of wood."

What the commentators say

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Media captionPolitical commentator Miranda Green and Christopher Hope, chief political correspondent at the Daily Telegraph, join the BBC News Channel to review Tuesday's papers.

'Wall of silence'

Grieving families who complain about medical blunders after a relative dies are often "fobbed off with impenetrable reports that absolve the NHS of blame and are often written by the medics at fault", the Daily Mail says.

A report from the health ombudsman says families are met with a "wall of silence" when they ask why their loved one died or was harmed, it adds.

Ombudsman Julie Mellor examined 150 cases where managers found no failings - but errors were found in 73% of those cases, the Sun says.


The Times reports on a study which claims certain music genres complement different cuisines, resulting in the headline: "Chinese tastes better with Taylor Swift."

It says 700 volunteers ordered takeaways and listened to songs from six genres, and researchers concluded that classical music goes well with pasta, indie/rock with spicy Indian food and jazz with sushi.

Though Justin Bieber and other pop musicians were said to go well with Chinese food, the professor behind the study warns people not to listen to Bieber when ordering, as the singer "turned people off food".

The paper includes a cartoon of a woman telling a waiter: "I found the accompaniment a bit stringy" as a man plays the violin nearby.

Image caption Queen and a curry may be an ideal combination, the Times suggests

Eye-catching headlines

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  • Waterfall back "after centuries" - Following recent heavy rain, water has flowed over a Yorkshire waterfall for the first time in centuries, the Express reports.
  • Jar Jar is out on his ear from Star Wars - Jar Jar Binks will not feature in the new Star Wars film because the character "irritated fans", the Sun says.
Image copyright AP
Image caption Chewbacca and Han Solo are back, but there's no place for Jar Jar Binks

France's 'fascist uprising'

A mood of "near-panic" has seized mainstream French political parties in the face of the "rampant" National Front (FN), the Independent reports.

It says the far-right party received almost a third of votes cast in the first round of regional elections on Sunday. The ruling Socialist party has withdrawn candidates in three areas to help centre-right candidates and "barricade" the far-right from power, the paper adds.

Like several papers, the Sun links FN's rise to last month's Paris attacks. Its headline is "le backlash".

France's regional governments are "not especially powerful", the Financial Times comments, but the election results show the growing appeal of FN leader Marine Le Pen's "dangerous and divisive movement".

A victory for Ms Le Pen in France's 2017 presidential election is "not inconceivable", the paper adds, and it would be "a disaster for France and for Europe".

FN has capitalised on the mainstream parties' failure to address France's "many social and economic ailments", Natalie Nougayrede writes in the Guardian.

She says Ms Le Pen is selling "an illusion", adding: "It's only because so little else is on offer that people are buying."

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Marine Le Pen is the leader of France's far-right National Front

Shakespeare in trouble?

Court documents about the "riotous" theft of a London theatre in 1598 - a crime in which William Shakespeare himself is not beyond suspicion - are to go on public display, the Times reports.

It says a venue known as The Theatre was "secretly dismantled" while the landlord was away and the timber was taken across the Thames to build the Globe theatre.

Shakespeare is not mentioned in the court papers - but he was one of five people who bought shares in the Globe for £10, the paper says.

Curiously caring thieves feature in the Daily Express, which says burglars who knocked over a goldfish bowl during a break-in stopped to put the fish in the kitchen sink.

Freddie the goldfish is pictured in the paper, now safely back in his bowl.

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