02/01/2016 The Papers


02/01/2016

No need to wait until tomorrow morning to see what's in the papers - Martine Croxall presents a lively and informed conversation about the next day's headlines.


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

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With me are Rashid Razaq, culture correspondent

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for the London Evening Standard and Caroline Wheeler,

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political editor for the Sunday Express.

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The Observer leads with the story that government budget cuts

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are almost doubling the number of homes considered as being

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at significiant risk of flooding within 20 years.

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The Sunday Times headlines an executive pay row,

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saying the Enviroment Agency's PR chief left the organisation

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with a six figure pay-off, despite a troubling week

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The Sunday Express leads with the same story,

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saying senior managers at the Environment Agency have been

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awarded bonuses worth almost ?300,000.

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Independent on Sunday's picture shows a woman in Bahrain protesting

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against Saudi Arabia's decision to execute 47 individuals -

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an act that has been condemned worldwide.

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The Sunday Telegraph reports that 11-year-olds will be expected

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to know all their times tables when they leave primary school,

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The Sunday express. The lead story here, jury at Flood fat cat bonuses.

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You have written this story, tell us about it. Flooding has been on the

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agenda for over a week since we had the terrible Boxing Day floods. As

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you just said, the country is bracing itself again tonight,

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different parts, for yet more flooding. And we have discovered

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that the flooding bash Environment Agency, which has been criticised

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for not doing enough last weekend, has awarded some of its senior staff

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around ?300,000 in performance related bonuses and I am sure many

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Flood victims out there, in fact we have spoken to some, who will find

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that not very impressive, given the fact that they are still trying to

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pump out their homes. Among those to have been given bonuses include the

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guy who is basically in charge of flooding and for flood risk

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management. He was given a bonus of more than ?10,000. We thought it was

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important to highlight this because we don't often hear about these

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kinds of bonuses being paid to the public sector? Do you think it is

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fair these people are being put on the front page when they had

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obviously done good work, potentially, in the earlier parts of

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the year. Unprecedented weather we were told from the Prime Minister,

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one day due date bonus? I think it is a great story by Caroline. I

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think we probably should have asked them to give it back. The point of

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the story was we wanted to say, the rainfall has been unprecedented but

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this is not a nice lead picture. If you look back over the last couple

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of years, we had flooding in Cumbria last Christmas and before that, we

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have the Somerset Levels. When the main job is about learning and

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strategy in terms of flooding, we have to ask whether this is

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warranted or not. It is public money, as well. These are public

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sector people and they pitifully haven't fulfilled their job duties

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here. The flood defences were not adequate. But, surely, they have

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been faced with incredible rainfall. They've only got a certain amount of

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money to play with. If it was a bottomless pit of money, we could

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have flood defences everywhere as high as we like but we don't have

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that kind of cash. That is part of the problem. The Environment Agency

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does have a limited budget and there have been questions this year about

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whether the Environment Agency has enough money to fulfil its basic

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civic duties so the question still remains, given its limited budget,

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should it be awarding performance related bonuses to people when that

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money could have been possibly diverted elsewhere to help prevent

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what we have seen devastating the country. Helpfully, the Observer

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focuses on just that, how much money that government is prepared to give

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to the Environment Agency. The suggestion is here, Rashid, that

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many, many more houses are going to be at risk of flooding because of

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decisions by the government over the next 20 years. Yes, twice as many

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households are at a significant risk. Even though you said

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unprecedented weather, I think we have to prepare for this now. The

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emphasis often gets put on climate change, which often absolves the

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authorities of responsibility because, these things are out of

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control. But, you know, we've got the forecasts, we've got the

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predictions, we've had these floods repeatedly in the last few years. It

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is peddling obvious that these flood the fences are not adequate. More

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funding probably does have to be made available. Eventually got the

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money will be found, because you can't have large areas of the

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country which I inhabit all because you got houses that nobody can

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insure because they are not probably protected. It will be a big headache

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for the government because this new insurance scheme which is due to

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come in in the coming year is not going to protect homes which are

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new-build which will make a real problem for the government with its

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whole right to buy scheme because most of those new bills. Insurance

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is one particular problem but then you still got to protect those homes

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that have been there a long time that have been built in flood

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plains, areas like Hull which are entirely built on a flood plain,

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what do you do to protect them? We do know that other countries have

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had similar problems and have come up with ingenious ways of solving it

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but they will be expensive. I know the Prime Minister has made

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available money for Cumbria, and money will be offered to Yorkshire

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in the coming hours but we have to ask is this enough and what can we

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do to stop these repeated events? I am not sure, at the moment, having

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looked at the response we have seen, that anybody yet has the answers.

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Corbyn in high-stakes reshuffle. Hilary Benn, who is he swapping

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with? It doesn't seem to give any answers. There was a bit of a power

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tussle, as I'm sure everybody is aware, last year, over the Syrian

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vote, will be have this extraordinary situation where Jeremy

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Corbyn opened the vote opposing air strikes and Hilary Benn closed it,

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basically calling for extra to happen. So, there has been a real

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spit and schism within the party there. There is talk of this

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so-called revenge reshuffle and Hilary Benn has been the focus of

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that because there is a need to bring unity to the front bench. It

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is going to be very difficult for him to move a popular figure like

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Hilary Benn from that kind of job and as it is one of the most senior

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jobs inside the Cabinet, one wonders what he could offer to him which

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would be satisfactory and which wouldn't cause all out civil war in

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the party. Yet again, we are focusing on Labour's internal

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politics, rather than putting pressure on the government in terms

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of flood defences or any other policies. I think Corbyn is dammed

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if you does, dam to be doesn't. He is acting like a leader, being said

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-- decisive, shoring up his leader, -- party, but it seems like more of

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the same with the internal wranglings of the Labour Party again

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and again. The Independent on Sunday, one of their very striking

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voters, damn you, it says. This is a tester in Bahrain, Birmingham the

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execution of the Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr ionomer. I have to say, 47 of

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them were Sunni in a Sunni kingdom. 45 of them. And two of them were

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Shia. The Independent is saying... They are calling on the British

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government to condemn these killings. All the focus is on the

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Shia cleric. But if we are condemning, what are we condemning,

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is that his killing of the other 45 alleged Al-Qaeda leader or Islamist

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terrorists? Really, we have to ask, how much of an influence can we

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possibly bring to bear on a place such as Saudi Arabia. If the

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Americans can't influence them. A lot of papers are asking how much

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influence does Britain and a lot of other countries you have a

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relationship with Saudi Arabia, how much influenced to their want to

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bring to bear because they all prize their relationship with Saudi Arabia

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for various reasons. That is the point the Independent on Sunday is

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trying to make. The whole issue of whether David Cameron condemns it

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not, but foreign and wealth office have that strongly, we oppose any

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country that has the death penalty. David Cameron made that very clear

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in October. He says he doesn't do agree at all with their punishment

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regime. This is more about the whole kind of fall out of the story

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earlier on, David Cameron, the prison contracts, how much do we

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want to be sidling up and ally ourselves to a nation that has an

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appalling human rights record Richard Mark but, as you say, where

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do you go on this. Iran doesn't have a great record itself. There was a

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focus on the fact that one of those who was executed was accused of the

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attack on Frank Gardner. One of the people executed is said to have been

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the killer of the Irish cameraman who was working with Frank Gardner

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in Saudi Arabia all those years ago. The Sunday Times, PM must go if he

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loses a U-boat. I wonder how long David Cameron will feel he can hang

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around if he didn't winds the referendum. Whichever way we are

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supposed to vote, according to him. It is almost dead the obvious. I do

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see how David Cameron could hang on. -- stating the obvious. What do you

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think? I agree. In many ways, I think it is stating the obvious. I

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think the parameter would have to go. In any main ways, he has almost

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said that to his own Cabinet, that if he does lose, he will fall on his

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own sword in many ways. And by losing, we decide to leave the

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European Union? Unless the narrative completely changes between now and

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then. He is saying that is what he is seeking to achieve, he wants to

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get to a situation where we have a relationship with Europe that has

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undergone a transformation so that it is acceptable to the British

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public and if he doesn't achieve that, he has said that he will

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support it but we are a long way off that and as long as he keeps to what

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he says, and fights to keep Britain in but in a renegotiated Europe, I

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can't see there would be any other consequence to an advert. The Sunday

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Telegraph, pupils must know times tables by the age of 11. This is

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when they leave primary school. I think a lot of people will be

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surprised that this isn't already the expectation. I don't think I

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know them by the age of 35. So I am a little bit worried. It seems like

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a very retrograde step, really. What seems retrograde? Learning

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timetables by road. Is that the way to teach mathematics in 2016? To a

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new generation of kids who are competing with international league

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tables, we are way down in terms of mathematics and -- is this a step

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forward? I think this is also about a refocus. The government has been

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very focused on that receipt and phonics for a very long time. As a

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mother who -- of a six-year-old who was expected to be reading chapter

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books by the age of five, I have seen this massive focus on the three

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ours and maths has fallen by the wayside, and it is perhaps the kind

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of China and other countries higher up the league tables, there has been

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more of an emphasis. I think this will go down like a bucket of cold

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sick with the teachers who already feel like there is enough testing

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going on within schools are particularly primary schools. But

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without times tables, so much of maths that you need to be able to do

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is closed off to you. I agree, to that extent, but as you are saying

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about rote, I think it is one thing to be able to do it by Bert but to

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do it -- to understand what it means, that is different. If this is

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going to introduce a practical element, that is welcome, but I

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think if it is going back to it a row with the teacher with a ruler

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tapping their board, I am not in favour. What is eight times seven?

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We will get back to you. 56, says a voice in my ear. Do you see that?

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The brains behind the operation. That's it for the papers this hour.

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Thank you both. You'll be back at 11.30pm

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for another look at the stories

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