Newspaper review: Looking to future on Europe anniversary


The European Union is high on the agenda in the papers, on the 40th anniversary of the UK joining what was then the Common Market.

Both the Daily Mail and the Daily Express dismiss the suggestion that Britain could get a new form of associate membership of the EU as a "plot" by pro-Europeans. The Mail says the idea was welcomed by some Eurosceptics, but that critics saw it as being "ruled by fax" from Brussels.

Their focus quickly turns to the year ahead.

The Express says David Cameron must end his "dithering" over Europe in 2013, and decide if he is prepared to lead what it calls an unstoppable movement to restore British sovereignty.

The Sun agrees that now is the time for Mr Cameron to show "courage and leadership", as the clamour for a referendum grows louder.

The editorial in the Daily Telegraph says the prime minister's long-awaited speech on Europe in the next few weeks will show whether he can rise to the challenge of redefining Britain's relationship with its neighbours.

But the message from John Kampfner in the Guardian is rather different.

He says the Conservatives must must not pander to the UK Independence Party, by adding "red meat" to policies to try to retain the support of the Tory Right. He says David Cameron is already moving into "core-vote territory", but that he should learn a lesson from Republicans in the United States, who were - he says - resoundingly defeated after being hijacked by Tea Party activists.

'Rebuild trust'

As befits the first newspapers of the year, there are plenty of glances back over the past 12 months, and predictions for 2013.

The Times thinks the "suspended animation" of British politics will finally end, as austerity begins to bite and the leaders of the three main parties are forced to act, instead of "just waiting for something to turn up".

The Daily Mirror is worried that the living standards of working Britons will be brought down by what it calls out of touch Tory toffs, while the Independent says this is the year to rebuild trust in institutions - the Bank of England, the Church, and the BBC.

Cancer divide

The Times describes what it calls the "deadly divide" in funding for the most common cancer in men - prostate cancer - and the most common female cancer - breast cancer.

It says the amount of money per diagnosed case of prostate cancer is less than half for what it calls the female equivalent.

Campaigners tell the paper that men are dying because of the funding gap, and that they must do more to protect themselves.

Millions of drivers are facing lower speed limits, according to the Independent.

It says more than a third of local authorities have introduced 20mph zones, or are planning to do so.

The paper has carried out a poll which suggests more than 60% of people support a blanket limit of 20 in built-up areas.

Road safety campaigners have hailed the changes as as "cultural shift", away from the motorist and in favour of pedestrians and cyclists.

Rubbish story

The Daily Telegraph puts news on its front page that householders are recycling more waste than they throw away.

But many of the papers feature a man who has taken the process as far as he can.

The Mail says John Newson, from Birmingham, filled just one bag of rubbish in the whole year. With the help of home-grown food, a compost heap and fastidious recycling, he has managed to restrict himself to one black bin bag, filled mainly with plastic wrapping which has to go to landfill.

The Daily Mirror says Mr Newson has had a "totally rubbish year", but is proud of it. It says he has pledged to do even better in 2013.

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