05/01/2014 The Papers


05/01/2014

No need to wait to see what's in the papers - tune in for a lively and informed conversation about the next day's headlines.


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His press conference was just a few minutes ago. We are not proud of our

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performance. It is a bitter pill to swallow but that is it. And coming

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up, the Film Review. Time for a look at the front pages.

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Thank you for joining us. Good evening.

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Let's have a look at some of them now. The Independent has a

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photograph of Eusebio, who has died. It also has a report on the standard

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of care in the NHS. The Financial Times says that years of economic

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uncertainty lie ahead despite the recent recovery. The Express's

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headline is that tough new rules will be put in place to stop

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migrants claiming money for family not living in the UK. The Daily Mail

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says Downing Street is in turmoil over pensions. And hardfought

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territory in southern Afghanistan will fall back into Taliban hands

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when British troops withdraw this year. The Mirror says Doreen

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Lawrence is furious following the removal of the detective leading the

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investigation into her son's death. Let's start with the Daily Mail.

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They have done some journalism of their own following David Cameron's

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appearance on the Andrew Marr Show today. The result is that there is

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turmoil over the old age pension benefits. Yes. I'm not trying to

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belittle pensioners and benefits and essential things like winter fuel

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allowance, free bus passes and television licences for people of

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pension age, but it does seem to be the wrong focus. If the government

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is looking at sweeteners to give the public in order to win votes in the

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forthcoming general election, this is the right thing to do, but when

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we look at the stories in recent weeks about one in ten young people

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in the UK feeling suicidal, that is the population that we have utterly

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failed, young people, and I find this focus on pensioners just a

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little bit distracting and essentially a vote please. People

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have been quick to point out that it degrades vote and its pensioners who

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come out and vote. -- it is the elderly vote. That is why Labour and

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the Liberal Democrats support similar pledges. But David Cameron

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refused to be drawn on whether the Conservatives would cut back on

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pension benefits like winter fuel allowance, bus passes and the

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television licence. The Daily Mail says there is some confusion over

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that. Downing Street says it is David Cameron's personal position on

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that to safeguard it. That has always been the case. He has backed

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these universal benefits and has refused to touch them for political

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reasons. These universal benefits actually only cost about ?3 billion

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maximum. They are not expensive. But it is madness that someone with an

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income over ?100,000 per year should get a winter fuel allowance, free

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television licence and a free bus pass. On a moral and ethical level,

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it should be means tested. Even if you reform those things, you still

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have so much to cover. Welfare spending is 25% of what the

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government spends and half of that is pensions. In other words, you had

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to look not just at these universal benefits but the mounting pensions

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Bill. We have to get more people getting private insurance rather

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than relying totally on the state. Later, we will be hearing from

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George Osborne. According to the Daily Telegraph, he is preparing the

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country for more cuts ahead and austerity measures even though we

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are bouncing back, slightly, it seems. Osborne's blueprint for tax

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cuts. The Chancellor is promising a permanently smaller state but it

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says that the austerity programme must continue. We are bouncing back

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because of austerity. No, we are not. It is the property boom. And

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this is not how you get a nation back on its feet. Of course it is.

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We are leading in car production. Manufacturing is up. In 15 years,

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Britain will be the second largest Western economy aside from America.

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We are coming back. It's not just housing. It's because we have got

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our finances in order. We are already the second largest economy

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but we have the most wealth inequality. Nobody is feeling the

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benefits of any effect of the supposed economic recovery

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statistics. George Osborne, not content with driving people into

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poverty with low wages... He is convinced that things are getting

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better. He wants to compound this even further by dismantling the

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state. It's completely avoidable. These are ideological cuts. There is

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no need for them. Not necessarily. Labour would have done exactly the

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same. Just slower. That just means Labour is as spineless as the

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coalition. George Osborne says that things are getting better. However,

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the Financial Times says it is years of cuts that lie ahead. How much

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more are people supposed to take. This is unsustainable. Just get the

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government back to the size it was before Labour went on its spending

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splurge. The government's target is ideological. It is to cut the

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welfare state and that is ideological driven and unnecessary

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stop it can be philosophical but it can also be necessary. We cannot

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afford it! We have ?1.2 trillion... Rachel, isn't it a case that... Why

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not chase tax evaders? We can do that as well. We have to have

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austerity. We don't have to have austerity. This is not a fringe

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view. Leading economists, leading businessmen. There are other ways

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out of a financial crisis. This austerity is pure ideology. I'm very

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happy as a Catholic to hear you say that the Pope is right on some. This

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is a purely ideological view and you are presenting it as the law. Let's

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agree to disagree on that one. The Times has a story that we mentioned

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earlier, which is quite unique, compared to other papers. The

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Taliban is poised to regain Helmand province after the UK exit. This is

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regarding Afghanistan. 447 UK soldiers lost their lives in this

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part of Afghanistan and many commanders say this is how to lose a

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war as a good example. In which case, why did we go in the first

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place? That is what the public is going to be asking. Not

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unreasonably. Firemen very reasonably. Another indication of

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how poorly it has gone is that drug production is up again. Under the

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Taliban, one good thing that they did is eradicate the opium trade.

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That is now back. One irony is that the wars on terror in Afghanistan

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and Iraq is that they have had the opposite effect. They have actually

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increased militants. There was no Al-Qaeda in Iraq before 2003, now

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they have just taken over Fallujah. So these wars have not only failed,

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they have had the opposite effect of what they set out to achieve. Do you

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think that has effect did not just the British reaction but the

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international reaction to Syria? -- affected. Of course it has. It is

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not a position of impotence or being too frightened. It's a case of not

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doing something because you have learned a lesson. But Syria is

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different to Iraq and Afghanistan. The definition of insanity is to go

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on repeating an action that hurts you. If we went on after Afghanistan

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and Iraq, that would not be courage, that would be madness. Some patients

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could be denied treatment because of overspending on NHS budgets. Doctors

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have been forced to cancel a ?15 million fund to fast track the use

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of new therapies because the NHS in England has spent too much of its

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?12 billion budget for complex care. Recently, the head of the BMA said

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that if the NHS was the country, it would not have a credit rating

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because it is so poorly managed. This is a good example. You have got

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to reform the system wholesale otherwise things like this will keep

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on happening. This is a really hard story, isn't it? Cancer care, the

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idea that people are not getting the best care that they could have and

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that there is better care available overseas... There was something

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recently about pancreatic cancer getting better treatment in

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Germany. It's just horrifying. People should be allowed to shop

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around. If you have the money, you should be able to go there and buy

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those drugs. And yet on the front page of the Independent, the

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headline is that NHS care is outstanding, according to serve

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Michael Richards, whose job is to review every single NHS Trust in

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England, and he says that he has come across fantastic care that he

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feels deserves to be highlighted as well. Good. He has come across some

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fantastic care. And it's almost certainly the majority of

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hospitals. But recent reports into GPs found that one third of

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surgeries were not up to scratch. Mid-Staffordshire Hospital. People

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died. The point of the NHS is that you might get it right in the

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majority of cases but when you get it wrong, because it's a health

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service, people die. It's not good enough. But if you keep bashing the

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NHS, people will be driven to cutting it into parts and selling it

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off, which is what the government is trying to do. I'm fascinating about

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why you think it's necessary to talk up the NHS. Negative headlines make

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good news. But the curious thing about this headline is that it is

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positive. You have to remember that this is a vocational job. They are

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not doing it for the money. This is the Daily Mail. A story you are very

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keen to do. Yes. Baldric goes to war against Michael Gove. This is coming

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off the back of Michael Gove in the same newspaper attacking the way

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that World War I is being taught in schools. He would prefer it to be

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taught in a much more jingoistic term. Neocolonial, nationalists.

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Yeah, yeah will stop upbeat. Then act this is embarrassing. We have so

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many resources, historians, teachers, capable of providing a

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really well rounded view of World War I, the arguments, the opinions,

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the different takes, and instead we have Michael Gove promoting this

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horrible, nationalistic war happy... It's like history for

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insecure idiots. I admire him as an education Secretary and he has done

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a lot of great things but this frightens me as an historian. I

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don't care about his opinion as to World War I but the idea of an

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education secretary saying that it's too left-wing and to promote an

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alternative right wing take on that and that the state should impose

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that on children and academics, that is actually frightening. That is

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very frightening. I actually agree with you for a change. Thank you. We

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will have more on the storms sweeping in from the Atlantic.

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Almost 100 warnings in place. Coming up next - the film review.

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Hello and welcome to the Film Review on BBC News. To take us through this

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week's cinema releases is Jason Solomons. Jason, amazingly good

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films out at the moment. Yes, and awards season

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