13/03/2014 The Papers


13/03/2014

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. Presented by Martine Croxall.


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the Cheltenham Festival provided a shock in the big race, and a

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champion's tail after it. That is all after the papers.

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Hello and welcome to our look ahead to what the the papers will be

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bringing us tomorrow. With me are Amol Rajan, editor of the

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Independent, and the blogger and journalist Susie Boniface, also know

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as the Fleet Street Fox. Not Suzanne, don't want to cause a

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family upset. Let's start with tomorrow's front pages.

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The Independent leads with a story about GM crops, reporting that some

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advisers warn that European regulations are "no longer fit for

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purpose". The Financial Times reports that bad debts are on the

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rise. The Daily Express have the story that's emerged from the

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hacking trial - that Diana is alleged to have leaked royal

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secrets. The Guardian have an exclusive interview with Yoko Ono,

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but their main headline is Osborne's 1bn sweetener. It goes on to say,

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the money will help fund a series of infastructure projects. The main

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headline in the Daily Mirror refers to the story about public sector pay

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- it says "Betrayal of the NHS nurses".

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A couple of these stories are linked. We start with the Guardian,

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which says Osborne's ?1 billion sweetener, ministers squeeze NHS

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pay, but offers Budget infrastructure boost. They will not

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be paying for the infrastructure with the money they are saving by

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not giving the nurses a pay rise. This ?1 billion sweetener is not so

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sweet once you drill down into the story and find out whether money is

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coming from. Not paying the nurses there only saves ?100 million. This

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1 billion is coming from a raid on public sector pensions. Basically,

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Osborne has done a little shuffling between budget headings and found ?1

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billion which individual departments will have to come up with. Those are

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things like the Department for Education and the Department of

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Health. He has changed the way they put their pension money in the pot.

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So many will still be paid into those public sector pensions, but it

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will not come away central pot 's it is effectively coming out of the

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money that could be put into the pensions of teachers, nurses, social

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workers. That is how he has found this ?1 billion. The other

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interesting thing is that this is coming a month before the NHS -- the

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HS2 bill is coming back to Parliament. It is already have the

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billion pounds for the whole thing, and there are fears that there will

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be ministerial resignations when they find out how much it is. So he

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is trying to say he is putting money into something else, when in a

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month's time, we will have a horrible bill for HS2. They have a

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line which says a source says this is very much in George Osborne's

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BNA. It is in the DNA of all chancellors to find spare billions

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before a Budget comes out. This is in a specific political context,

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which is that lots of potential Tory voters are worried about a and HS2.

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In partial defence of Osborne, to give his version of events, he says

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this is the recommendation of a report into pensions by Lord Hutton,

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a Labour minister. So he says he is following what a New Labour figure

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would have recommended. But it does stink a bit, because it comes just

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before an election and it is a raid which has come along with a story

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about nurses. You say it stinks because it comes just before an

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election. People will realise that that is why it is the sweetener. But

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won't they be glad if they are benefiting from these infrastructure

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projects, rather than a nurse getting a 1% pay rise? It depends.

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Infrastructure is meant to be a long-term boost to the economy and

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all governments would say that if they spend money here, they have to

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cut money elsewhere. It is curious how chancellors have to go about

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manufacturing billions. As Susie says, the money Osborne is talking

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about saving is 200 million, so the money that will be saved on the NHS

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is 200 million out of a Budget of 100 billion. I think this is a

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political gesture towards disenchanted Tory voters. It has got

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to be infrastructure they are going to see. If your road is covered in

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potholes, if your trains are not running well, it does not matter if

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there is a headline saying they have put 1 billion into it. That 1

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billion does not go very far. Not far at all. We will come back to the

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Guardian later. Let's move on to the Daily Mirror, with a related story.

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Betrayal of the NHS nurses. This is Jeremy Hunt announcing that not

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everyone in the NHS will get this 1% public sector pay rise. Meanwhile,

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Jeremy Hunt himself will get 11%. He might forego it, I suppose. He

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might, but none of the party leaders have said they are going to order

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their MPs to forego this 11% pay rise. He also might not come back

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into Parliament in 2015. He will have to fall back on the 17 million

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he made from selling his company not long ago. You sound disappointed. He

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made it to Smedley. Shouldn't we wish him well? Nurses were just

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expecting a 1% pay rise, which is ?300, not a lot. In the NHS budget

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alone, it is peanuts, and there is no reason it can't be done.

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Interestingly, managers are getting 7%. Why are they still getting that?

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If you have to give rises to people, why not the front-line staff that

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the nurses and doctors and dentists is? Again, this is a political

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gesture. The NHS is still a toxic issue for the Tories. If you look at

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the areas where they are trusted, they are more trusted than Labour on

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the economy, but less on the NHS. Jeremy Hunt was put in there to be

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this fantastically ameliorative, understanding, compassionate guy who

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would get on with the nurses and bring the NHS with him. A year away

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from an election, this move disenfranchises a lot of people. It

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is not the antidote. It is pretty dumb, because the pay review body,

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the one they are ignoring, was set up by government and endorsed by

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them and has been since the 1970s as a way of making sure there is no

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strike action in public services. The government and unions both make

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representations to an independent body which is under the Department

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of Health umbrella. It has professors on it and it is

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apolitical. They find a middle suggestion and everyone goes along

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with it, in return for the government going along with it, the

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unions promised no strike is. For the government to give evidence to

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it and then go, actually, we convert bothered with this, there are

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suggestions of strikes and militancy. Aside from whether it is

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the right thing to do, it is just smart politics to give a pay rise.

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Obviously, it costs a lot of money. We have had raised to the income tax

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threshold. A gesture like this although costly, would have been a

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useful comeback when Labour say in Prime Minister's Questions and

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elsewhere that the Tories, be trusted with the NHS. But they don't

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want to be seen to be helping nurses. The ?200 million, we say it

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blithely these days, for people out there who say the cuts are the right

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way to go about getting the economy in control, they will say it has to

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be done. Something has to be done about controlling public spending,

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but 200 million in the context of tens of ileum is of pounds... And

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also, we have had immense pub exec to restraint over the last four

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years. So this would have been a relatively small amount of money

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which would be both the right thing to do and a political victory. The

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government say they have had to make these cuts, otherwise they have to

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sack 6000 nurses. But if you just sack four managers, it would be

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fine. I think your job is safe. The Independent has a story on GM

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crops. The suggestion is that there are these EU regulations which say

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they are too dangerous and not good for the environment and outdated and

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that Britain should decide for itself. The EU line is one we have

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gone on because it is the freshest. I know this is a deeply objective

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show and we have to have an interest in balance for both sides. But there

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has never been any evidence for any harm to humans or the environment by

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GM crops. There is a tremendous amount of his dairy and stupidity,

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frankly, about them. And you can get away with that in a time of plenty

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and when it is a nascent technology. We now know that we urgently need

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around the world to increase crop yields and food production, and GM

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crops are good way of doing it. It is funny to me that GM crops, which

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have split people politically, are now being stopped in Britain, not

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necessarily by the government. The Environment Secretary is behind

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them, but they are being stopped by EU regulation. You can see a UKIP

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and paint tomorrow. Vote UKIP to stop GM crops being banned. But to

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stop it, you would have to leave the EU. The whole thing is a mess. We

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would have to say goodbye to Nigel Farage, because he would not have a

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job any more. It is not the first time this has happened. A similar

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story has been repeated by the coalition over the years. Last year,

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the same scientists said much the same thing. They said, we need to

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think about GM crops. David Cameron was asked to think again about

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policy on GM crops. He was asked ten or 12 times. His advisers were

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asked, would he feed GM crop to his children, and there was no answer.

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Such hysteria, it's nonsense. Frankenstein views. And you get away

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with that if you live in a country where there's no food production. We

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urgently need to feed people and people who campaign against the

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crops are supporting the starvation of millions of people. Which is Nick

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Clegg and that's the trouble. It won't happen because Lib Dems are

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the only ones against it. A political enough criticism? Deeply.

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Financial Times. China are saying they are not going to prop up

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failing companies as much as they have in the past? There is a

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terrifying comparison, the idea of a Lehmann moment. China's been slowing

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but has since the crash of 2008 been driven by credit. Private credit's

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gone from being 140% of the economy to something like 200% in just six

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years. Not sure how you say the Chinese premier's name and I won't

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try because I'll get it wrong. He said China won't guarantee the big

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companies won't default and it's made people very jittery because the

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interdependence on the global economy means we are fantastically

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reliant on China growing fast and stable. It's certainly not done

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that. What The interesting thing about this is that it's a communist

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super power who said they want to come into the modern world and

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everything but still retain their communist ethos. They have been

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bailing out companies for a very long time because the state needed

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that. Now they are saying we'll leave you to it and stop that. For

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them to allow some of the most important businesses to fail is them

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accepting it and saying, we are as interested in making a buck as the

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next man and if you are not making a buck, you are on your way. There are

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so many other countries that desperately need China to do well.

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It's a new phenomena where people have an uncentive because they want

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to reach China's markets. Us as well. They need China, everyone

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needs China. It's on the Stock Exchange now. Very quickly, the

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Guardian. New drugs fast tracked for patients. These are drugs that

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haven't got a licence necessarily yet but are for people with

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debilitating conditions. Are you going to be the Guinea pig

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effectively? Yes. This is a case where a company says they think

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their drug will work, therefore it can be prescribed by some doctors.

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It What comeback would there be if you have agreed to take this?

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There's huge numbers of people affected by long-term conditions who

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have some hope when a drug comes on the scene an can't realise that.

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Ethiopiafully this means some people will be cured who otherwise wouldn't

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be. That's it. Gosh, it's very hard to get a word in edgeways. Then

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again, who wants to hear from me. We'll be back at 11. 30 to have a

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look at the papers making the headlines tomorrow. At 11, we'll

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have the latest on the helicopter crash in Norfolk in which four

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people are thought to have died. Next, the Sportsday.

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Welcome to Sportsday. Tottenham's problems pile

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