25/11/2015 The Papers


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

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game against PSV. And Manchester City goes to Juventus. That's all in


Sportsday in 15 minutes, after the papers.


Hello and welcome to our look ahead to what the papers


With me are Isabel Hardman, assistant editor at the Spectator


magazine, and Ben Chu, the Independent's economics editor.


Tomorrow's front pages, starting with: The Mail has a


question for the Chancellor, asking whatever happened to austerity?


Millions are saved from a life of misery, claims the Daily Mirror,


thanks to the Chancellor's U-turn on tax credits.


The Independent highlights criticisms of


The paper says it is based on forecasts that might not come to


The Chancellor got lucky, says the Sun, with a windfall that allowed


The Tories are for turning, says the Metro, with


The Spending Review indicates a change of course for the UK,


Councils are to bear the brunt of Spending Review changes,


Tax rises will pay for foreign aid, says the Daily Express.


We start with the Daily Mail, whatever happened with austerity,


George Osborne ducks welfare casts and increases spending -- cuts. It


is interesting because if you look at the black headings above the


headline that says your Council tax is set to soar, and to the buy to


let dream. Those are measures which will hit people in the pocket, some


might say they look like austerity measures. There is your austerity. I


was thinking about this on the break and what they mean is whatever


happened to austerity? Their vision of austerity is something that


happens to other people, not Daily Mail readers. What they are


essentially saying is that the Chancellor should have cut spending


for all those undeserving causes and all those things we don't like, and


he should have cut welfare for people we don't like, but he should


have left Middle England alone, which is... That is where the Daily


Mail has always come from, so perhaps not that surprising. Is it


true that he has all of a sudden turned into Mr nice guy? He is no


longer the big bad guy who is chopping this and that? Is that


actually the case when we do see tax increases taking place? I think he


has covered some of his political problems by not cutting police


spending, for instance, by reversing the tax credit cuts. He has overcome


some of the lines of attack that Labour were going to use. His


opponents within his own party were using them as well. I don't think


this means he is giving away all sorts of things and it is a free


rein for everyone but he has been very clever in that in the weeks


leading up to the Spending Review he has been very severe in his rhetoric


and therefore today it has appeared a much kinder Spending Review but I


suspect that the those who read the Daily Mail they will be quite


worried about the effects of the local government cuts, actually.


Conservative council leaders have been warning about the impact on


council budgets of what has happened today, and while they may not be the


most dramatic headlines from today, you may see stories appearing over


the next few months about services disappearing that Middle England


notices. OK, so that is the Daily Mail appeared appealing to its


readers with its front page. -- Daily Mail appealing to its readers.


On the Mirror, the Chancellor being forced into U-turn. It is a puzzling


front page of a couple of grounds, first of all because they are saying


it was their campaign, whereas I think anyone... I think Isabel will


back me up on this, anyone in Westminster will say it was the


campaign by the Sun which forced a lot of the pace on this. So they are


claiming credit for a campaign which wasn't associated with them all that


much. It also says, despite the great victory, Europe, our Mirror


readers are going to be hit anyway by the fearful Osborne Budget and


working families will lose an average of ?3000 a week which is


suspiciously similar to the amount that they said working families


would lose because of the tax credit cuts in summer. I'm not sure it


entirely adds up as a piece of journalism. We know that the Daily


Mirror is left of centre, and all that, is that because those on the


left are having trouble dealing with not just the Autumn Statement today,


and the Spending Review, but also the fact that there is no direction


on the left in terms of the Labour Party? And where it is managing to


position itself in dealing with a majority Conservative government?


Absolutely, and I think every publication wants to claim credit


for its campaign winning in a Budget or economic statement but the Labour


Party trying to claim credit for the tax credits U-turn is actually more


audacious than any publication doing so. Because even though Chris Leslie


when he was interim Shadow Chancellor gave us those figures


about families being affected by the tax credit cuts on day of the


emergency Budget, the party disappeared into its own leadership


contest and what made the running in terms of the tax credits row were


upset Tory backbenchers talking to the Times, the Sun coming out


against the changes, and that is what catalyse the rebellion in the


House of Lords. Peers would not have voted against those changes had it


not been for those two elements. They had nothing to do with Labour.


In a sense of the real opposition at the moment are Tory opposition


backbenchers because the party is such a small majority in government


and I suspect after the Spending Review it will be Tory council


leaders as well. The worst time to judge a Budget is on the day of the


Budget. The effects of these things takes a few days to dribble out, it


is only then when people will start to realise how it affects them and


how the fact that distribution around the country. So we have a


great write up in the summer Budget, all those tax credits, fantastic


front pages as far as George Osborne and the Treasury were concerned, and


it soon evaporated. Let's not get too carried away. We will talk about


Labour and their potential problems with all this towards the end of the


show. But regardless of who takes credit for this, he did perform a


U-turn. The Metro and the I. The Tories are for turning, and U-turn


if you want to. What does this say about his political nous and


character? The fact that he is willing, we all remember his face of


thunder the Lords throughout the changes to working tax credits. What


does it say about him, the person, a politician, that he is willing to do


this now? I think it shows us that he is a politician. He is not


someone who will pursue a policy right to the bitter end through


furious opposition. In that case he is very different to Thatcher, then,


if you think about it. He is, she U-turn on some things, but less


towards the end of her career. When he was interviewing Charles Moore,


Thatcher's via Ghfar, he asked Charles Moore how politicians can


get out of policy messes. -- biographer. He is not someone who


will stick to something if it is politically difficult and he has


realised over the last few months that even though Labour I read a


tremendous mess at the moment, that doesn't mean you can get away with


anything, partly because of the small majority has party has, partly


because the press is also going to cause troubles. Even though Labour


might complain about a rightleaning press, it was then he went after him


on tax credits. You can't get away with anything even in this


situation, and he wants the Tories to be the workers' party and the tax


credit cuts quite obviously contradicted that, though they had


to go. Going on to the Independent, Osborne's balancing act. We talked


about his character, but is there a sense that he has read the rooms and


the British public have made it clear that they are fed up with


austerity? -- read the runes. If it is not too much of a contradiction


here is a pragmatic idealism in -- idealist, in the sense that he is


not so set in his ideological vision that he can't change. He does have a


view of where he wants to go, and it is a smaller state, and it is pretty


Thatcherite and the sense of the private sector doing more, the State


doing less for people, lower welfare, all these things. He


doesn't come out and sell that vision directly to the British


public was very pragmatically he judges that is not going to be


particularly popular. But you can see it through a lot of the


underlying policies which emerged very early on that that is where he


wants to go. Running a surplus, his latest wheeze, if you like, many


economists say it is not necessarily a good thing, because it excludes


capital spending which helped the economy grow. He has said that he


understands that as a good benchmark if you want to drive down the GDP.


So he will do things like today which look like a huge U-turn but


actually, if you look at it, in 2019/2020, he still has that surplus


banked. Maybe it is not about his political genius and being pragmatic


or ideological or whatever, he is just lucky? The front page of the


Sun, born lucky. We -- with an e on the end. It is not just that he has


found extra money, it is also that the office of Budget responsibility


foundered for him. It is an independent organisation and if the


OBR didn't exist, and this is something that those around Osborne


are pretty aware of, I don't think people would have believed him when


he said he found it down the back of the sofa. It is handy that someone


else has found that for him and written about it an independent


booklet. I cover the public finances month in, month out. It looked like


we were overshooting for this fiscal year so this 27 billion windfall


came as a huge surprise the city of London analyst and anyone who has


been watching it. It is basically methodological changes that the OBR


has decided on. It has obviously been in train for some time but no


one had wind of it and they decided this was the moment to throw them


all on the back. I think the independence of the OBR is


impeccable and I have huge respect for the guys who run it so I don't


think this is a political ploy. It is just tremendously lucky for


Osborne that they have done it at this point. Very good headline,


Borne Lucky. There has been slashed funding to local councils. I want to


go back to Labour. Mao and the great leap backwards. He produced a copy


of the Little Red Look in the Commons and tried to suggest they


were getting too close to the Chinese, and all that kind of stuff


but it has backfired massively against the Labour Party, and they


look stranded -- Book. It has backfired, because nobody got the


joke about Osborne, they thought he was talking about his own political


beliefs. And the fact it was his personal, well thumbed copy. And


George Osborne now has that book and the Treasury, along with the famous


note about there being no money. You can see him deciding which one to


brandish on which day. It was a poor response to the Spending Review


already, but those responses are very difficult for Shadow


chancellors to do. At that stunt was so bad that not even his front bench


have defended it. -- but that stunt. And when McDonald -- McDonnell


tweeted a response, funnily enough the Mao stunt was not in that. He


was selected highlights, so he hadn't removed that bit alone, to be


fair, but the one big joke wasn't in it. What should McDonnell had said


today? I think it was set up for him to knock it down. There is a


Chancellor who in July had come up with this great plan to cut working


welfare, one of the centrepieces of it was cutting tax credits, only a


matter of months later he is forced into a full on retreat, not a fudged


retreat but in absolute back to the enemy had to the Hills retreat. You


just have to simply point out what has happened, and take credit in a


way it the Mirror does, and the Sun do. What better way to squander that


political capital than make a prize idiot out of yourself by waving a


copy of the book by a man who is responsible for the death of 20


million Chinese people. There is that, I had forgotten about that.


Are we seeing Thomas Vanek, through the failure of the stunt, just a


lack of direction -- are we seeing, then, through this stunt, a lack of


direction to hit the Conservatives with any punches in terms of dealing


with the economy? Not just the economy, everything. At the moment


the Labour leadership, John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn, have a


different stance given to the Labour front bench, let alone the Labour


backbenchers. The party is in a very sad mess at the moment and it is bad


politics because it means that there is no official opposition that is


functioning. That is something that Labour MPs who are quite keen on the


whole scrutiny role of the opposition are saying mournfully


over the last few days. We are not acting like an opposition, they say,


That's it for The say, because they are not. Papers this


Coming up next, it is time for Sportsday.


Hello and welcome to Sportsday, with me, Will Perry.


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