Paper review: Reaction fuels energy debate


Reaction to Ed Miliband's pledge to freeze energy prices continues to be explored in the papers.

The Times thinks the Labour leader's idea is a triumph of naive hope against all knowledge of how markets work.

And the paper leads with a story about the concerns of senior Labour figure Lord Mandelson and his warning that Mr Miliband risks accusations of taking the party backwards.

The Guardian says Lord Mandelson fears his own carefully crafted legacy of "industrial activism", built up during his two years as business secretary, is under threat.

The Daily Mail reports what it calls a brutal backlash against the announcement, with energy investors warning that the 1970s-style policies will lead to economic shutdown.

For the Sun, the plan has more holes than a Swiss cheese, while the Daily Express dismisses it as one of the most gimmicky and breathtakingly cynical policies of modern times.

But the Daily Mirror believes the announcement shows Mr Miliband has turned "up the heat" on the energy firms whom he accuses of resorting to "threats and scare stories" about the risk of power outages.

An editorial in the paper says whose side you are on will define the election battle lines, and says Mr Miliband is siding with families.

Back to work

The Daily Mirror's lead story concerns claims that the government's NHS reforms in England are allowing hospitals to charge patients for operations that used to be free.

It says the "scandal" has hospitals making millions from care now rationed by the NHS because of cuts.

An official study, which suggests more stay-at-home mothers have been "forced" back into employment in the past two years than in the previous 15 years combined, makes the front page of the Daily Telegraph.

The paper says the rush back to the workplace follows cuts in child benefit.

A report in the Times says random bag searches at shopping centres in Britain are being considered as security is stepped up amid fears of copycat terror attacks after the atrocity in Kenya.

Exploitation concerns

The huge fine for the City brokers, ICAP, for its part in the Libor rate-fixing scandal, makes the lead for the Independent and the Financial Times.

The fine sees ICAP walk away £55m lighter of pocket, having settled with regulators. The FT's Lombard column says the enemies of the City - notably Labour - have taken delivery of another crate of free ammunition.

According to the Guardian's main story, dozens of Nepalese labourers have died in Qatar in recent weeks, and thousands more are enduring appalling labour abuses, raising serious questions about Qatar's future preparations to host the World Cup in 2022.

The Qatari labour ministry tells the paper that strict rules governing employment conditions are in force.

Selling the dream

The Sun says it can reveal that a packed UK-bound plane was left flying on autopilot - with both pilots asleep in the cockpit.

Under the headline "this is your captains sleeping", it reports that one of the exhausted pair eventually woke up and roused the other but neither knew how long they had been dozing. The airline is not named, but, according to the Sun, passengers on the Airbus A330 were unaware.

Finally, a British estate agent has opened an office in Moscow to deal with the demand for properties by wealthy Russians in the exclusive Sandbanks peninsula in Dorset.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Lloyds Property Services has also employed a Russian speaking member of staff at one of its offices in Sandbanks.

Tom Doyle, managing director of Lloyds, tells the paper: "England is seen as a safe place for them, and it's all about selling the dream."

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