02/01/2016 The Papers


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


With me are Rashid Razaq, culture correspondent


for the London Evening Standard and Caroline Wheeler,


political editor for the Sunday Express.


The Observer leads with the story that government budget cuts


are almost doubling the number of homes considered as being


at significiant risk of flooding within 20 years.


The Sunday Times headlines an executive pay row,


saying the Enviroment Agency's PR chief left the organisation


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


The Sunday Express leads with the same story,


saying senior managers at the Environment Agency have been


awarded bonuses worth almost ?300,000.


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


against Saudi Arabia's decision to execute 47 individuals -


an act that has been condemned worldwide.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


that the flooding bash Environment Agency, which has been criticised


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


whether the Environment Agency has enough money to fulfil its basic


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


should it be awarding performance related bonuses to people when that


money could have been possibly diverted elsewhere to help prevent


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


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


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


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


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


households are at a significant risk. Even though you said


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


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


authorities of responsibility because, these things are out of


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


vote, will be have this extraordinary situation where Jeremy


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


politics, rather than putting pressure on the government in terms


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


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


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


the same with the internal wranglings of the Labour Party again


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


European Union? Unless the narrative completely changes between now and


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


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


undergone a transformation so that it is acceptable to the British


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


new generation of kids who are competing with international league


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


going on within schools are particularly primary schools. But


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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