09/02/2014 The Papers


09/02/2014

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despite exchanges of gunfire. Jenny Jones becomes the first Briton

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to win an Olympic medal on snow. She got bronze in snow style -- the snow

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style at Saatchi. Welcome to our look at head to what

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the newspapers were bringing tomorrow. With me is Tim Stanley

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from the Telegraph and Nigel Nelson, the political editor for the

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Sunday People. The quick sneak preview first. The Daily Telegraph

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has a picture of Jenny Jones celebrating her medal win in Sochi.

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The lead story is the flooding. What it calls a winter storm crisis. In

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an interview, in independent, the shadow education minister says

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social media has ruined children's education Battention spans. The

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Times says spy agencies regard the border between Turkey and Syria as a

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threat to the West. And the Daily Express says a cure for the common

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cold is on the way. Good news for you! We dragged him off his sick bed

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to get here. A good read of the Express for you later. Some top

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tips. I prefer to drink whiskey! It is Lemsip in the newsroom. I know

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you want to look at the stories in the Guardian but we will start with

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a political storm that we knew was brewing over the last 48 hours. Eric

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Pickles on the Andrew Marr Show today. Chris Smith hits back at

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ministers as the flood crisis intensifies. We are in a blame game,

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aren't we? We are indeed and it was a matter of time before Chris Smith

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would have his own say. He has done it very quickly. The moment Eric

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Pickles gets on television and has a go at him, he has a go back at him

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in the Guardian. It comes down to a question of money. Chris Smith seems

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to be saying that he was restricted with the amount of money he could

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spend on dredging. He says Treasury rules meant he had a maximum of

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?400,000 and that was it. That is the territory we are about to enter,

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I think. Could dredging have taken place earlier? Clearly it could have

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according to Eric Pickles. Did they have the money? That is the

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question. I remember serious flooding in 2003, sitting in my

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waders in Kent, with Nick Owen, reporting on a lack of Government

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spending, a lack of flood defence and dredging. A lot has been done

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since then, but clearly not enough. The Government did make some putts,

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that is undeniable and they are bad on that front. I think Smith has got

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to take the lion's share of the responsibility. His budget has been

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badly handled. They spent 1.35 million, with 95 million on staffing

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costs. It is not being handled well. Some people thought he had

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made a cultural decision not to do dredging because he sees the agency

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as more about protecting wildlife than the interests of people living

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in those areas. It is alleged, for example, that he did not act to

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protect the Dawlish train line in the South West, apparently until he

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had been allowed to carry out a study of the impact of protecting it

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on the birdlife. If this is true, if you made a conscious decision not to

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dredge not because of the money but because of bad management but

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because they are more concerned with birds than people, that makes him

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look like the culprit. David Cameron did receive letters from the local

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authorities on the Somerset Levels two years ago suggesting dredging

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and who did not go for it. Yes, and nothing seems to happen. Who is to

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blame for that? The Environment Agency for not doing it? In

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fairness, there has been a lot since. Chris Smith makes the point

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that they are playing politics with the whole thing. We still have

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Environment Agency workers who have not had a proper night's sleep since

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this started. For weeks. We have got into the blame game here. If it was

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the Government, and at the end of the day it is the Government through

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DEFRA who is responsible, and if they decided not to do it because it

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would cost too much, then the people in Somerset are rightly very angry

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about it. The Times also reports on the spread of flooding. We are now

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looking at the River Thames, where in a number of places there is a

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severe flood warning meaning a risk to property and to life as well. Yes

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and it is frightening. What is interesting is the expansion of the

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political argument. Why are we ring fencing foreign aid? Sending ?250

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million to India when it is building a rocket to go to Mars but we can't

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spend that money on people here? We need to invest in infrastructure.

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Obviously a mistake has been made and the story will only get worse as

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the weather gets worse. In other news, the West faces a new terror

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threat from the Syrian border. A fascinating article from The Times

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suggesting that there are CIA and six macro intelligence officers on

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the border. -- MI6 intelligence officers. Fascinating. People are

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coming from all over the place. In this piece, fighters from 50

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countries, but certainly around 400 that we know of have gone there from

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Britain. They're go into Turkey. The board is very porous and they slip

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into Syria. We know what they are doing because they put this stuff on

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their Facebook pages. There are actually Jihadi Facebook pages. Come

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and join us, it is a great fight. They talk about luxury living in

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apartments with swimming pools. Of course a lot of them are being

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killed as well. The important thing from our point of view is to find a

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way of identifying them and monitoring them when they come back

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to this country. The police are questioning people travelling to

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Syria, potentially through Turkey, and coming back as well, I imagine.

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A number of arrests have been made. This is why we have so many spies in

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that part of the world now. You have to identify them going in so that

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you can then pick them up coming back. Don't you think that you have

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to investigate what draws them there in the first place? Why are British

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men and women, because we know females have been arrested as well,

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why are they getting involved in the so-called jihad in Syria? Well, it

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is radicalisation, what they feel is happening to brothers and sisters

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overseas. It is a generational experience, people discovering a

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radical form of Islam. The other question that have to be raised is

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why the terror is directed towards us. Why is it possible for people to

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go and join camps? It is because we sat by. President Assad was not

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challenged early enough. There was little nervousness over Syria. There

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has been and we have never been quite sure. We don't like either

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side very much and we have never been sure what to do about it. The

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problem is that we are now going to inherit from this the domestic

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problem because it is the battle to go and fight. If you are young

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Muslim Jihadi, that is where you go. And then of course you come back

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here. An issue very close to home that keeps re-emerging, particularly

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in the press this week. In the Daily Telegraph, the front page, split

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over smoking ban in cars carrying children. Of course smoking in

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public service card is banned. You can't smoke in a taxi, bus, company

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car. This argument emerged last week and it keeps coming back. There is a

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vote coming up in the House of Commons this week. At the moment

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politicians are completely split on this. They are worried about

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becoming a nanny state? Yes, whether or not the state is really delving

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too deeply into our personal lives. Personally, I would have thought, if

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you have kids in the car and you are smoker, what you don't do is smoke

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when the children are there. This will be difficult to enforce but the

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way the vote will go at the moment is that Labour MPs will back this.

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The coalition MPs have been given a free vote. They will decide which

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way to go. You shouldn't do it, it is immoral, you are a joke if you do

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it. But where does one draw the line between private spaces? If this is a

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private space in your car with your kids, so is a room in your house.

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Why can police invade that private space but not another? It is a war

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on smokers, and smoking is a bad thing, but it is also wore on

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privacy. You are saying that parents have common sense? I don't actually

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trust the parents. But it have to be down to the parents. We don't send

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people into people's houses when it comes to seeing if they are smoking

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in the room with children. It is interesting that this has

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cross-party support because this is a class issue. This is about

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middle-class weekends, anti-smoking, who want the

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Government to tell people how to leave our lives and doing compulsory

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yoga. It is also about young children not having a say. Of course

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they don't have a say, but they don't in a private room in our

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house. This is nannying at the most officious level. There has to be a

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common-sense approach. To enclose children in a smoky environment in a

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car is wrong. Do have a law against it is not a problem. If adults are

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being banned from smoking in cars, I take your document. The same would

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apply if we were arguing about whether you can smoke in your own

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home but we are not. There is clearly a serious health risk for

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children who have no say. There is a health issue as well. It is quite

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dangerous to smoke in a car because it can cause an accident. Why are we

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always looking for ways to dull the individual what to do? This

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conversation is finding justifications were telling

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individuals how to run their lives. Perhaps this is why politicians are

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so divided! Children need lessons in how to concentrate. Shall we just

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move on to the Telegraph? ! This is because of social media. Some

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schools ban mobile phones and the iPad. It is a difficult thing to do.

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My general feeling is that children now intellectually because they have

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so much technology to deal with are probably better equipped than in our

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day. I think scare stories like this are bit worrying. The more they get

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to know how a computer works and are able to work it, the better their

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working life will be in the future. This is coming from Tristram Hunt

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and he has been caught cheating, stealing someone else's idea. The

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chief of Ofsted said this back in December, that there is low-level

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disruption in classrooms. Michael Gove is pushing reforms that give

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teachers the power to instil discipline in classrooms. Labour is

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desperately trying to come up with the policy and trying to sound hit

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by proving they know what Twitter and Facebook are. And now the power

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to oust headteachers. Ed Miliband in general election mode, very much. He

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would like to give parents more power. It is part of a wider thing.

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We have heard this before from everyone. You probably have! You

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would call into hits broad -- a hit squad, separate to the schools, but

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it is a wider thing that Ed Miliband will be outlining during the week

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with his shadow ministers. It is the idea of taking power, winning the

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election to give it back to people. So he will call in manger

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inspections credit-macro Ninja inspectors. He wants to give parents

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the power of hamster wheels to make the electricity come on. Support

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free schools and faith schools if he wants to give people power. It is

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Labour doing what the Tories are doing but with different words to

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describe it. Very much about general election pledges, we are hearing

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slowly but surely. They are coming up with announcements fetching on a

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daily basis. Thank you to our guests.

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At 11pm we'll have more on the imminent threat of flooding to homes

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on some parts of the Thames. But coming up next it's time for Click.

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