09/02/2014 The Papers


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despite exchanges of gunfire. Jenny Jones becomes the first Briton


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


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


the newspapers were bringing tomorrow. With me is Tim Stanley


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


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


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


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


an interview, in independent, the shadow education minister says


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


as more about protecting wildlife than the interests of people living


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


authorities on the Somerset Levels two years ago suggesting dredging


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


suggesting that there are CIA and six macro intelligence officers on


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


way of identifying them and monitoring them when they come back


to this country. The police are questioning people travelling to


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


overseas. It is a generational experience, people discovering a


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


politicians are completely split on this. They are worried about


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


conversation is finding justifications were telling


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


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


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


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


My general feeling is that children now intellectually because they have


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


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


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


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


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


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


disruption in classrooms. Michael Gove is pushing reforms that give


teachers the power to instil discipline in classrooms. Labour is


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


daily basis. Thank you to our guests.


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


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


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