Northern Ireland

What the papers say


Journalist Mike Philpott takes a look at what is making the headlines in Wednesday's newspapers.

The leadership contest in the Ulster Unionist Party is the main talking point in the News Letter.

The two candidates - Tom Elliott and Basil McCrea - are pictured together on its front page, alongside a story that says they've held discussions to explore whether the vote could be avoided.

The talks apparently explored whether either man would be content to settle for the deputy leader's job.

The paper has its own view. It comments that whoever wins will need to unify the party.

The Belfast Telegraph reckons Mr Elliott is "the clear favourite".

But its main headline is provided by senior politicians from another unionist party.

Electricity split

It talks of a split between Peter Robinson and Arlene Foster of the DUP over the future of Northern Ireland Electricity, after Mr Robinson said it would be wrong for the ESB in the Republic to acquire the Northern Ireland grid.

The story says he has been accused of leaving the enterprise minister "high and dry" after she said the ESB had a proven track record.

The Irish News is more interested in the economy, and carries a dire prediction that up to 40,000 jobs in Northern Ireland could be lost when the government's cuts begin to bite. The paper says the public sector will be worst affected.

Two politicians trying to hold on to their jobs are under the spotlight in Dublin.

Brian Cowen makes the front page of the Irish Times once again after his comment that he planned to lead his government to the end of its term.

The paper says he attempted to put the controversy over his disastrous radio interview behind him as he insisted there wouldn't be an election within six months - a prediction made by the Fine Gael leader, Enda Kenny.

The Irish Independent reports that Senator Ivor Callely took colleagues by surprise on Tuesday by turning up to a committee meeting, despite being suspended.

The story says that as he attended that meeting, another committee next door was discussing the controversy over his expenses - an investigation that could now be passed to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

'Steady Vince'

Vince Cable's speech to the Lib Dem conference is being seen as not just an assault on bankers but on capitalism itself.

The Express says he risks shattering the unity of the coalition government with language "reminiscent of trade union militants".

The Guardian hears echoes of Denis Healey's pledge in 1974 "to squeeze property speculators until the pips squeak".

The Mail has a piece of advice: "Steady, Vince, you're in government now".

It says that in the era of coalition government, the business secretary must be "more than just a thought-provoking maverick".

The Financial Times has approached Mr Cable for a comment on the reaction to the leaked portions of his speech. He says it shouldn't be interpreted as "an outbreak of Marxism".

Finally, it seems that when we sing in the bath, we don't just get the tune wrong.

According to a survey reported in the Daily Telegraph, many of us get the words wrong, too.

In Abba's Dancing Queen, for example, people mistake the line "feel the beat from the tambourine" for "feel the beat from that tangerine".

And in Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody, "spare him his life from this monstrosity" is often rendered as "spare him his life for this one cup of tea".

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