Newspaper review: Dacre speaks out over Miliband row


The editor of the Daily Mail, Paul Dacre, has broken his silence in the row over the paper's accusation that Ed Miliband's father Ralph "hated Britain".

He has done it, of all places, in the Guardian, even though the two papers have been attacking each other on several fronts lately.

Mr Dacre writes: "Our point was simply this: Ralph Miliband was, as a Marxist, committed to smashing the institutions that make Britain distinctively British - and, with them, the liberties and democracy those institutions have fostered."

"We accept," he adds, "that Ralph Miliband cherished this country's traditions of tolerance and freedom - while, in a troubling paradox typical of the left, detesting the very institutions and political system that made those traditions possible."

Mr Dacre's article, in which he also attacks BBC coverage of the issue, also appears in his own paper.

The Daily Telegraph claims the armed forces are suffering unnecessary cuts, while the Ministry of Defence sits on a pile of cash.

The paper says it has been told by senior military sources that an over-zealous austerity drive has left £2bn of the MoD's shrinking budget unspent.

They blame Defence Secretary Phillip Hammond - but he tells the paper his critics are "financially illiterate" and have no idea how the defence budget now works.

Stamp of approval

It has been a funny old week for the British taxpayer, according to the Independent.

The paper says new figures show that one pound in every 10 of corporation tax is spirited away from the taxman, while Royal Mail has been sold for £650m less than it was worth.

Those tax figures are reported in several of the papers.

According to the Daily Mirror, they show that "tax avoidance has risen to an eye watering £35bn under David Cameron, despite promises to crack down on the problem".

There are mixed views on the Royal Mail floatation.

It was a sad but necessary step, according to the Daily Express, and the privatisation deserves a stamp of approval.

Its success, says the Times, will be judged by a better service not a quick profit.

The rush for shares, says the Independent, does not automatically mean the government has sold out too cheaply.

The Daily Mirror fears we will now pay twice, as the service gets worse and stamp prices rise to fill the bank accounts of the new owners.

Money laundering

Britain and Germany are involved in a secret pact to defy EU laws, according to the Times.

The paper claims Downing Street is negotiating a deal to shield Germany's luxury car industry from new EU rules on carbon emissions - in return for Berlin's help to protect Britain's banking sector from new regulations.

The Daily Express tells readers to expect the worst winter in decades.

It predicts record snowfall next month - and says forecasters have warned the entire country is set for a "horror freeze" which will bring brutal winds and fierce blizzards.

Finally, the Guardian's money section tells the story of a man who changed bank accounts recently - and discovered he was still paying a monthly direct debit for insurance on a washing machine he last used 20 years ago.

The paper estimates he has paid the equivalent of £3,000 and advises readers to take a close look at their bank statements every now and then for direct debits they ought to have cancelled.

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