31/03/2014 The Papers


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England, beaten by the Netherlands in their last match of the World


Twenty20 in Sportsday after the Papers.


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


bringing us tomorrow. With me are Tim Collins, political chairman at


Bell Pottinger and Paul Johnson, deputy editor of the Guardian. The


Independent looks at the sale of Royal Mail. It says the Government


and taxpayers appear to have been fleeced by sophisticated City


investors who made a quick profit on the flotation. The FT says


regulators are intensifying their investigation into alleged


foreign`exchange manipulation by banks. The Metro says the advice to


eat five portions of fruit and vegetables every day should be


doubled. It's the same story on the Telegraph, it says ten portions a


day could significantly reduce the chance of premature death. Lucky


Express readers only need to eat seven portions, the paper says. The


Guardian says doctors are concerned a major disease outbreak could kill


thousands because hospitals can't test life`saving drugs quickly


enough. The Daily Mail says the Police Federation paid a PR company


for advice on using guerilla tactics in a campaign against government


banisters. The daily miller is reporting complaints from doctors


that changes to the NHS has risked the health of cancer patients. ``


the Daily Mirror. We will start with your paper, Britain and prepared for


an outbreak of infectious disease. `` unprepared. I am glad you picked


this one out first! This is a protracted procedure, medical


research, you have to get grants, ethical approval, you have to find


hospitals and staff, patients, equipment, you have got to sign


legal agreements to protect everybody in that sense. That can


take more than a year. With things like bird flu, pandemic influenza,


that can have come and gone within eight weeks. The doctors wanting to


test patients micro, the patients will have survived all be dead. So


this is a story from the new man who has come in as director of the


welcome `` Wellcome Trust. You have got to test these drugs properly,


surely, you don't want something going wrong, surely that is the


response of many people. It is a hallelujah moment for the Guardian


to lead with a story saying there is too much form filling and red tape.


How marvellous, a paper which has never previously criticised a


bureaucratic procedure! But I think this is genuinely a very good story,


because it is inviting people to realise that there is a cost for


bureaucracy and form filling, sometimes it is just slowing down


business, but in the NHS it is costing lives. Lord Saatchi tried to


introduce a private members bill in the House of Lords a while ago the


back of the terrible experience his wife had when she was dying of


cancer, which would have made it much easier for people to test


experimental procedures, because the problem there as in this case in the


Guardian is there is such a risk averse culture, such a fear of being


sued, such a requirement to fill out forms, that they will go for the


traditional procedure even if it doesn't work, and they will have to


go with a new treatment through so many hoops that even though it may


save a life, you would not administer it because of the fear of


the consequences if it does not work 100% of the time. We have to learn


that in hospitals now were tested. They did not all work the first


time, but if they had not been tried out, a lot more people would have


died. Do you see this as the beginning of a concerted effort to


cut red tape involved, not just in this but other areas? Whether it is


red tape or not, I have not found that phrase in there! Doctors face


months of form filling and administrative checks! It is


compacting the process, so it is all set up to deal with something in


real time. That is the only way doctors can really combat some of


these pandemics that are predicted, some of the worst threats we face.


Sure, let's move on to the Financial Times, Tim, what is going on with


the Better Together campaign? Another problem for them, Number Ten


scotches Link on pound vote. This is extraordinary, the no campaign that


wants people to vote to stay in the UK was apparently doing very well


until a month or so ago, and yet now it as hit real problems. The person


who has created those problems is Alistair Darling, who was picked to


chair the no campaign on the basis that he was the safest of safe


hands. But in an interview on the Today programme, he really, I think,


got in a terrible mess. He basically said that, of course, it would be


necessary to have a further referendum if the English and Welsh


had to decide whether they wanted currency union with the Scots. The


line from Downing Street, emphatic from all the parties, that is not an


option, you cannot have a referendum on something that is not an option.


Alex Salmond thinks all this Christmas is up, once, their


campaign is falling apart, and this is on the back of an anonymous story


from an anonymous minister, quoted as having said, well, of course, we


would talk about it differently if they opted for independence. The no


campaign is still in the lead but the lead is shrinking, and Alex


Salmond came from behind to win Scottish Parliamentary elections. I


would not put money against him doing it again. Is their panic in


the Better Together campaign? I do not know if there is panic in this


sense, but it goes back to the choreography of Danny Alexander,


George Osborne and Ed Balls saying, vote yes to keep the pound, slightly


endorsed by Mark Carney. We did a story on Saturday, our chief


political correspondent spoke to a source, a minister closely involved


in this or said, look, whatever the posturing is now, this will have to


be dealt with later. The FT has caught up on this story... Following


your lead! In the sense that one person, closely involved, said the


hunt to identify the source was under way. One senior minister said


efforts are being made to identify who they are, and when we find


them, they'll be nailed to the nearest lamp post. That sounds like


Scottish justice. Those people who want the United Kingdom to stay


together, they have got to realise it could split apart very soon.


April tomorrow, it is not far off, and it could be very serious. Perry


series in France as well, the French Prime Minister. `` very serious. He


has carried the camp for suffering particularly bad local election


results. `` carried to the canon. The whole Cabinet has resigned. He


has got a great deal of difficulty year, his population plunged to an


all`time low, 150 towns lost by the Socialists. The Front National joke


a lot of towns, catastrophic polling. We now read that this is a


bold move, what do you do? It is finding a scapegoat, and low and


behold, the scapegoat has been found in the new interior minister who,


curiously enough, as opposed to fit a Blairite mould. I don't quite know


what they mean by that. More centrist than the previous guy.


Hollande is facing pressure from left and right, because the left


wrote to him saying, you must ease up, they must raise the minimum


wage, increase pensions and salaries of state employees. He is caught in


a very difficult bind. The French don't seem to give their leaders


much of a honeymoon when they get into power, and you have got to


produce results pretty damn quickly. As you were saying, if you are


having problems and you are the best scapegoat is the Prime Minister.


That has been a tradition in France for a long time to sack the Prime


Minister at the mid`term elections. When Hollande came to power, there


was a sense that this was a new dawn for the left, not just in France but


across the whole of Europe, that there would be a shift of the left


to the left, people talking bout Ed Miliband, Francois Hollande, moving


away from the Blairite model, away from free markets, being much more


traditional left, traditionally socialist. This guy has become a


French primers that, a classic Blairite, who wanted to take the


word socialist out of the party. `` French Prime Minister. He wants to


go for radical economic reforms. It seems as if the moment when the left


was going left in France has ended within two years. He's taken a duff


line on crime. People will remember Tony Blair came to prominence as


Shadow Home Secretary with the phrase ` tough on crime, tough on


the causes of crime. It seems that this guy is following the Blairite


PlayBook of taking a left of centre party much more towards the middle


ground. That has potentially implications for the UK too. Ed


Miliband has, up till now, been staking out left`wing territory. Now


will he once again follow the lead of Francois Hollande and move back


to the centre. Tony Blair wasn't centrist, he was to the right, if


you have a re`alignment, you're moving back to the centre? Yes, on


the swingometer that's slightly confusing! Those who fought Tony


Blair in the trenches and lost time and again, I promise you he was not


in the right. He demolished the right. Some on the left would argue


he's on the right. Maybe so. What is interesting, if Europe is not, if


France a massive power and significant element in European


destiny, if France does decide that having dalied with quite left`wing


politics, it's moving back to the centre, that's an important point in


European policy. When Mitterand came into power, he was in coalition with


the communists, he got rid of the communists and shifted to the right.


It happened before, that was patch the Thatcher raying an era. ``


Reagan era. It will be very interesting. Let's


go onto the Independent. Royal Mail float. How banks broke promises and


raked in a fortune. Someone suggested at the time it was under


valued. They're saying that those chickens have come host to roost.


Different views, one, that is an utter disaster. That it was


completely under valued. ?750 million was basically lost in paper


terms on day one. It was floated at 330 p. It reached 600 p eight weeks


later, can you see the book loss in terms of what the Government did.


Other people might say well, hang on, at least about 2. 4 billion was


raised from this. You could never be certain shares can go up as well as


dun onned `` down and all the usual caveats. But it reads gnatily now.


`` nasty now. If you put your house up for sale for 330,000 and sell it


at that and then about six weeks later, somebody sell it's on for


600,000, you're going to be pretty peeved. I would be MiF fed. You've


be more than that. For the first and only time in my life I'm going to


stick up for a Liberal Democrat here. I think it is worth bearing in


mind, Royal Mail privatisation was not easy. It was not something that


anybody could just come along and do it. Michael Heseltine tried to do


it. Peter Mandelson tried to do it, failed. Vince Cable was able to take


it through. And one of the factors that was very significant in the


pricing that he had to fix was that at the time, there was a threat of a


National Post strike which could easily have demolished the value of


the thing. They took independent advice. The independent advice was


that they should price it between 260 and 330 p. Vince Cable went for


the absolute highest number, 330 p. As it turned out the markets, as


Paul says, they can do strange things on individual days, they


chose to go up quite a lot. If they'd gone in the other direction,


if the sale had failed, if people had been scared off by the threat of


strike action or the fact that successive governments had failed to


carry this through, people wouldn't have been saying, you hadn't lost


several hundred million pounds, you'd lost billions. But the


loss`making bit of Royal Mail, that was take an way. It always looked


like a good bet for anyone. That was the earlier plans too, but they


still failed. What Vince has managed to do, belatedly, we should have


done it 20 years ago. Your old boss should have done it. All the offices


were privatised years before the Royal Mail and are stronger as a


result, and competing across Europe. The Royal Mail now is run by private


sector management who is doing a fantastic job. Going to go on and


ovenlt I see next month, they have to appear again before the Select


Committee that Margaret Hodge shares. They're not going to be


looking forward to that. She's a tough one. Paul, Tim, you're back in


an hour for another look at some of the stories behind the headlines.


Thanks for that. Stay with us here. At the top of the hour, more on all


the stories from the day. Now it's time for Sportsday.


Welcome to Sportsday. Here's what's on the way: Sunderland stutter at


home again, as relegation looms for Gus Poyet's side.


David Moyes


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