Newspaper review: Blair's warning to Miliband explored


In a week when British politics has been dominated by a former prime minister, several newspapers pick up on another one making his presence felt.

The Times calls Tony Blair's assessment of Ed Miliband's Labour leadership in a magazine article his "boldest foray into politics" since leaving office.

For the Daily Mail it is "devastating attack" which could trigger another civil war, while the Sun writes of splits deepening over Labour's direction.

The Daily Express says Labour responded to what it calls a damning assessment with an extraordinary retort that it was time to move on from the mistakes Mr Blair made in power.

However, the Independent's editorial warns the former Labour leader that backseat driving is a "risky business" and says Baroness Thatcher set a "disgraceful example" of disloyalty to her successor John Major.

Chart row

The events following the death of Baroness Thatcher continue to occupy the papers, with the Guardian reporting that Buckingham Palace has raised concerns about the military pomp at her funeral.

It says there are doubts at the highest levels about whether such a "controversial figure" should be escorted on her final journey by 700 military personnel.

Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail lead with the row over whether the BBC should play a song from the The Wizard of Oz which is rising up the charts because of a campaign by critics of the former prime minister.

The Telegraph says her friends think it would be a serious dereliction of duty by BBC director general Lord Hall if the corporation were to play "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead".

A senior Conservative MP, John Whittingdale, tells the Mail that most people will find it offensive that the chart is being manipulated to make a political point and the corporation should not play the song.

The Daily Mirror quotes BBC "insiders" as saying a final decision will not be taken until sales figures are collated on Sunday itself.

In its editorial, the Sun says the BBC and other broadcasters should play the song "but clearly disassociate themselves from the sentiment behind it".

Brewers' appeal

The Guardian carries an exclusive on its front page on an investigation in Egypt it says has discovered that senior army doctors at a military hospital in Cairo were ordered to operate without anaesthetic on wounded demonstrators during protests against military rule last year.

The paper says a report into malpractice since the start of the 2011 uprising also alleges that doctors, soldiers and other medics assaulted protesters inside the hospital.

The Daily Mirrror leads with pictures which it says show the full horror of the regime in North Korea. The paper says video images sneaked out of the country include one of a child apparently starving to death in the street.

The Daily Telegraph reports that leading members of the brewing industry are urging David Cameron to stick to his plans to introduce a minimum unit price for alcohol.

A dozen chief executives have written to the paper saying they think the measure would save pubs as well as lives.

'Late-life crisis'

After the damning criticism of three senior HBOS executives by the Parliamentary commission on banking, the Financial Times says focus is now turning to the pensions paid to two of them.

The Guardian says MPs are calling for an inquiry into why seven directors at HBOS were given bonuses of almost £1m.

Finally, the Times has chastening news for those who have survived the mid-life crisis - just wait until the late-life version hits you.

The paper says that research suggests that, far from being a time to wind down, see the world or spend more time on the allotment, the years between 60 and 69 are just as tricky to navigate.

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