Newspaper review: Fracking demo gets short shrift


The Daily Telegraph has no sympathy for the anti-fracking demonstrators who blockaded a drilling site in West Sussex on Monday.

It brands them "eco-loonies" and "enemies of progress" and says they have succeeded in drowning out any rational debate.

The Sun says it cannot understand why campaigners are targeting the site, at Balcombe, where there has been no fracking - just exploratory drilling.

It sent its photographers to eight other locations where the controversial process is due to be used and found "no sniff of protest".

'Macho fixation'

The Times' reporter at Balcombe says the day "risked becoming a re-run of Monty Python's battle between the People's Front of Judea and the Judean People's Front".

He found climate change activists, anti-fracking protesters, trade unionists, anti-capitalists and Greens all vying to get their messages across.

But George Monbiot, writing in the Guardian, sides with the demonstrators.

He believes the government's enthusiasm for fracking is nothing to do with jobs or securing energy supplies but a "macho fixation with extractive industries".

'Urgent investigation'

"The return of Section 28" is the front page headline in the Independent.

It highlights research by the British Humanist Association, suggesting at least 48 schools have adopted sex education policies echoing the law introduced by Margaret Thatcher, in 1988.

The legislation, overturned by Tony Blair's administration, stated that a local authority should not "promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship".

The Independent says the schools are to be "urgently investigated" by the government.

Maria Sugarpova

The Times says Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova is considering changing her name for US Open fortnight.

It says that, in an "extraordinary ruse", she would be known as Maria Sugarpova after a brand of sweets she owns.

Sharapova - as she would revert to after the tournament - is the highest-paid female athlete in the world, with earnings last year exceeding £18m.

But the Times says that, even if she obtains the legal paperwork to change her name, she may still need the permission of the grand slam committee.

'Polling miserably'

A poll commissioned by the Daily Mirror makes grim reading for Ed Miliband.

It suggests only 45% of Labour voters are satisfied with the way he is leading the party - and only 46% believe he should lead Labour into the next general election.

A spokesman for ICM, which carried out the survey, tells the Mirror Mr Miliband is "polling miserably".

The paper's associate editor, Kevin Maguire, says it is time the Labour leader "refound the fight" that saw him beat his brother to the leadership.

But David Cameron is not having everything his own way after revealing in a BBC interview that he has a "phenomenally bad back".

Several papers report that a protruding disc prevented him from stalking deer while he was on holiday on the Scottish island of Jura.

The Mirror is delighted, declaring "Bambi is safe"!

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