Newspaper review: More storms to end 'wettest year'


The downpours which have hit many areas over recent days remain a focus for the Independent. It reports on what is expected to be a "weekend deluge" of storms and more rain, with "hundreds of new year flood warnings" issued.

The Sun sets this out in stark terms: "A storm brewing in the Atlantic could bring up to 50 millimetres of rain and 80-mile-an-hour winds."

The Times is in similarly gloomy mood - suggesting we "batten down the hatches" with nearly a month's rain due before Monday.

The paper says bookies could lose out, having offered odds of 100-1 during the hosepipe ban on 2012 being the wettest on record for the UK.

Just 46mm is needed between now and Monday to smash previous records.

Several papers carry pictures of a drenched and gasping David Cameron squelching his way through a river during a traditional fun run in his Oxfordshire constituency.

The Daily Express quips that even he "can't escape our wettest year".

The Daily Telegraph bids "good riddance to the wettest year on record".

Falklands files

In an editorial, the Financial Times looks ahead to what the new year may bring for Mr Cameron's government.

It suggests that despite the "naked hostility" between the Conservatives and the Lib Dems the coalition has life in it yet. Why?

Because "sheer survival instinct" means they will stay together if the alternative is a general election at a time when the polls are "bleak" for the prime minister and "existentially awful" for Nick Clegg.

Decisions taken by another government - that of Lady Thatcher - feature on many pages.

Papers released under the 30-year rule show the then prime minister considered pulling England, Scotland and Northern Ireland out of the 1982 football World Cup amid the Falklands War because of fears they would face Argentina.

The Sun makes the point that ministers "changed their minds" after warnings that Britain was likely to hand a propaganda coup to Buenos Aires.

For the Daily Express, this was a pivotal time for the then-prime minister.

"How Maggie Defied Them All" is its headline, outlining spats with her friend and ally, Ronald Reagan.

The paper details how the American president was rebuffed in his attempts to strike a last-ditch deal which would have seen the United Nations take control of the territory.

The Daily Telegraph gives context explaining how Washington was worried that being seen to support a "colonial power" would weaken ties with Latin America.

The Daily Mirror describes the episode as "Maggie's Ronnie Rocket" - which was quickly followed by a "furious telegram" warning the French leader Francois Mitterrand not to sell Exocet missiles to south American countries.

For the Financial Times, this was nothing less than "an ultimatum to Paris" which saw Britain "threaten to break off relations with France".

The Times takes a different tack on events surrounding the Thatcher family at that time - "the second biggest story of the year" is Mark Thatcher's description of being lost for six days while racing in the Algerian desert.

On its front page, the Times recalls how Lady Thatcher insisted on personally paying the bill - around £1,800 - run up by the search party sent to assist her "prodigal son".

Chaos of war

The Guardian leads on the rebels fighting Syria's President Assad.

A correspondent in Aleppo speaks of "looting, feuds and divided loyalties".

According to commanders of anti-government forces "looting has become a way of life" and in "the chaotic economics of war everything has become a commodity".

The lack of women in the "top jobs" is the lead for the Independent. It carries an interview with Frances O'Grady, who will become the first woman to lead the TUC when she takes over in the new year.

Ms O'Grady tells the paper that "frankly some of the men who are in boardrooms didn't get their on merit". She suggests that boardroom quotas are needed to address the dearth of women in such positions.

The Daily Mirror claims to have evidence of almost 1,000 doctors with a range of serious criminal convictions, including child sex offences and domestic violence, who are still working as GPs.

The Mirror explains that medical officials claim it is not possible to ban all offenders because it would "breach their human rights". The paper says patients will "be shocked".

How to qualify for other professions is the lead story in the Daily Telegraph.

It reports on the government's idea for a series of "professional apprenticeships" which may see pupils go straight from school to train as lawyers and accountants.

In an article, Matthew Hancock - the Minister for Skills - writes about what he calls "a small revolution" which has been undertaken "to ensure that everyone in Britain has the chance to reach their potential".

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