Northern Ireland

What the papers say


Journalist Keith Baker takes a look at what is making the headlines in Monday's newspapers.

The Belfast Telegraph front page features two north Belfast schoolgirls "about to embark on one of the most important lessons of their young lives".

Thirty years ago, the paper says, Rebekah Bradford who goes to the Girls Model would never have mixed with Nicole O'Rawe, who's a pupil at the Little Flower Girls School.

In a cross-community initiative on Monday evening, they will share a platform to speak with one voice on the way forward towards a shared future.

According to the Irish News, our schools are in for a bit of a surprise.

In fact they are going to get surprise visits from inspectors under plans to shake up the system for monitoring standards.


The paper says this will leave principals and teachers with no time to prepare and will give a truer picture of how a school operates.

There is an interview with the chief inspector who thinks this tactic will help reduce pre-inspection anxiety.

The News Letter says Jim Allister of the Traditional Unionist Voice is planning a comeback.

The paper says many pundits assumed he would leave politics after losing heavily to Ian Paisley Jnr in the general election, but he is now giving strong indications that he wants to fight in next year's Assembly elections.

Elsewhere, the new Ulster Unionist leader Tom Elliott is still attracting comment.

Several papers report that there may be changes in the Stormont line-up.

"Elliott may wield the axe on team of ministers," is the Mirror headline.

Ed Curran in the Belfast Telegraph says Mr Elliott's easy victory was no surprise.

Progressive liberal unionism may be the darling of the media, he says, but it is not a vote-catcher for the Ulster Unionists.

The Irish News takes issue with Mr Elliott's attitude to the GAA and Sunday sport in general.

It says he could learn a lot from the senior loyalist Jackie McDonald who went to Croke Park last week and has spoken in positive terms about the experience.

'Wrong man'

Meanwhile, the election of Ed Miliband as Labour Party leader is attracting a lot of attention.

Many of the papers believed it would be David Miliband and not Ed who would get the job.

The Express says Labour has made a "historic error" by choosing the wrong brother.

The Times says Labour has chosen the wrong man in the wrong way. It awaits Ed Miliband's speech to the Labour conference on Tuesday with anxiety rather than expectation.

The Irish Times says it was Ed Miliband who had a greater sensitivity to the bruised mood of the party.

The Guardian says he was the least divisive of his rivals, and the Independent says that with him Labour has the potential to become fresher and more imaginative.


And finally, there is some shock news from France: the days of the three-course lunch are over.

The Times says it used to be the centrepiece of the French day, a social institution that propped up a flourishing restaurant trade vital to the nation's health.

Now a survey has shown that things are changing and customers are ditching the starter and sometimes the dessert as well in an attempt to save time and money.

One restaurateur, Robert Vidal, tells the paper that 30 years ago his customers were ordering foie gras, sole, scallops and fillet of beef.

Now it is something like an omelette, and the fine wines have been replaced by water or cola.

"People used to come in here to enjoy themselves. Now they don't smoke, they don't eat and they don't drink," he says.

"They'll soon stop having sex as well."

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