21/09/2016 The Papers


21/09/2016

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.


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

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With me are Jack Blanchard, deputy political editor

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of The Mirror and Hugh Muir, columnist for The Guardian.

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Let's have a look at tomorrow's front pages.

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The Telegraph reports that British troops who served in Afghanistan

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could face criminal investigation over alleged abuse in the war

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after an inquiry was set up by the Ministry of Defence.

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The Mirror splashes on allegations that thousands of breast cancer

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patients are being denied a crucial pill which costs 34p

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The Times says MI6 is on a recruitment drive,

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hiring hundreds more spies to fight global terrorism and exploit

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The Guardian leads on the economy, saying that gloomy pre-referendum

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predictions have been confounded by the initial post

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The Express also reports on recent economic figures,

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saying "Britain is thriving" after the vote to leave the EU.

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The FT highlights divisions within the US Federal Reserve over

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The Metro carries the the headline "King Con" on a story

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about a fraudster who is believed to have taken

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more than ?100 million from 750 firms.

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And The Sun continues its coverage of the break-up of Angelina Jolie

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Continues its coverage! That is going to go on for some time. The

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Telegraph, Jack, Afghanistan veterans facing investigation into

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Taliban claims and a lot of controversy over potential

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prosecutions and the suggestion that former Iraq soldiers are being

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treated unfairly as regards lawsuits and so forth. Afghanistan, too?

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Apparently so. We have known for some time that the soldiers involved

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in Iraq have faced investigation, the Iraq historic litigation steam

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has been subject of a lot of controversy the quite the years. --

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historic allegations team. The Telegraph says the Ministry of

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Defence has set up a June in quarry into even older cases, some cases

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even older, allegations against troops in Afghanistan. It is big

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numbers, they are saying more than 550 allegations of war crimes in

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Afghanistan are being investigated by the MOD, taking the total to 2200

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cases across the two complex. It is a big deal involving a lot of people

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with millions of pounds in investigations and people are

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getting very upset. Some of the right-wing newspapers have been

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campaigning against this for years. Tory MPs are quoted and former army

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colonels who are upset that the scale of this is going on. But Hugh,

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one can't ignore serious allegations, can one, about the

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Armed Forces if there are allegations that they may have been

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involved in activity that is less than suitable? Of course not, so it

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is about striking the balance, isn't it? We woke up to Theresa May saying

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she won't stand by while spurious claims are made against soldiers and

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I think everyone agrees that you have to protect the soldiers because

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we send people into harm's way. But at the same time, there is a

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balance. You can't absolve them of responsibility if there is

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behaviour, if they behave in a way they oughtn't. I think what

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surprises one about this row and the number of cases is that there does

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not seem to be a filtering system that everyone can be confident

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about. If these were normal criminal cases then obviously, the police

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investigate, they go to the CPS and they would decide whether or not

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there is a valid case or whether it is spurious and that they would not

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let it go forward. There does not seem, from what they are saying, to

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be a parallel structure for these cases and so you then get into the

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situation where cases that reasonable people might say should

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not go forward seem to be going ahead. OK, the corollary of this is

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the story on the front of the Daily Mail, 200 soldiers going to war with

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MOD, hounded heroes plan to take top brass to court, soldiers handed over

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incidents in the Iraq war threatening to take the MOD to

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court. This is a very similar story but this is the soldiers fighting

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back, if you like. They are grouping together and they have got their own

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law firm and they are threatening to take the MOD to court for what they

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say is harassment. I guess every individual case is going to be

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different but if an allegation is made, presumably the MOD feel they

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have to make some kind of basic investigation, which might be no

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more than speaking to the soldier involved and it might not go any

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further. We talk about large numbers of investigations but we don't know

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how specific each one is and how detailed it is and how much risk

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there ever was of that person being prosecuted. But the 200 soldiers

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going to war with the MOD, presumably they believe they have

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been produced or hounded or whatever, in a way that does not

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want it? Again, you have to worry if they feel they have no option but

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for them to go to the law as well. It seems that the way things are

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panning out, the only people benefiting from this are the lawyers

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who can take on a lot of cases. You wonder if maybe MPs should not look

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at the structures involved here as to whether or not there is a way to

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look at some of these cases, as I say, to sift out the spurious ones

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but also to have some kind of protections for soldiers to ensure

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they are not subject to dubious claims. Has the armed services

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committee heard anything on this? It has been discussed in Parliament

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endlessly for the last few years. It is a very big issue and some MPs

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feel incredibly vexed about it. You can understand why. But I think at

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the same time, we should be proud that we live in a country where we

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do scrutinise these things. And there is the rule of law. And we

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take it seriously because it does not happen in plenty of countries

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and I don't think we should push back so far that we turn a blind eye

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to things that happen in any conflict. Let's go to your paper

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comes you, UK economy defies gloom after EU shock, it is just one day

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of good news after another following the Brexit Road, at least following

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the decision to leave the Union, Brexit actually has not happened

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yet. You have hit the nail on the head because they are all looking

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for signs as to whether the vote in June was a terrible thing or a good

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thing. Looking at various indicators and the problem is they have been

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going off in different directions. In an attempt to try to make sense

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of it, we have this Brexit Watch exercise at the Guardian. We have

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looked at various indicators and what it says is that there were

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fears we would plunge into a post-referendum recession and that

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does not seem to be happening. But there is a very good set of

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indicators, consumer spending is strong, unemployment is low and the

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housing market is holding steady. At the same time, the OECD, who were

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quite worried about the immediate prospects, seem to be a lot calmer

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about things as well. Government borrowing was slightly higher than

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economists expected but again, nothing to worry about. So far, so

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good but I think that is about as far as you can go at the moment.

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What we are trying to do is say here is a snapshot of where we are at the

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moment but it does not tell you where we will be in a few months'

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time goes as you say, we not triggered Article 50 yet. Will the

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sky fall in as soon as Theresa May prices the Article 50 button? I have

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long do not making predictions in this game! As you say, so far it

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hasn't happened but all of those predictions, as we were saying

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before we came in, all of those predictions that were made about an

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instant economic crash were made on the basis that David Cameron says he

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would trigger -- said he would trigger article 50 the day after the

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vote to leave the EU. That is what he said he was going to do. So all

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the predictions suggesting everything was going to go wrong was

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based on the fact we were going to leave, or the suggestion was we

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would leave as soon as we lost the vote? That is what the Prime

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Minister said he would do. He also said he was not going to resign. He

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said a lot of things but obviously that hasn't happened and most people

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are pretty glad because Britain needed a bit of time to get its

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house in order. But that is going to happen probably early next year, we

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are expecting it in January or February and at that point, there

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will be some fluctuation, I would imagine. But I think the idea of

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tracking this as it goes is a very good one. As you says, there are

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many different measures of how the economy is doing. There are certain

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newspapers who have been very keen to give a good reflection of how it

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is doing since we voted to leave the EU. Nice to see the Guardian joining

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them! It is too early to say and it is worth saying that the OECD has

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still got a pretty grim economic forecast for Britain next year. It

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reckons the Eurozone is going to have higher growth than we are in

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Britain. It's not a catastrophe but it is pretty sluggish. But these

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people are wrong a lot of the time. Indeed, and let's hope the economy

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continues to motor. The Financial Times, Theresa May is pushed to

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publish pay ratios. This is an interesting story, particularly

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comparing Goldman Sachs and Waitrose. Before she took over, she

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said she would have a Britain that works for everyone. Boardroom pay

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and company pay was one of the things that she decided to focus on

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and wanted to make sure that the differentials within a company were

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not too huge, that the people at the top were not earning massively more

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or outrageously more than the people at the bottom. And so, she promised

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the figures would be transparent, that she would publish them. What

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this story says is that there is a warning to her that if she does

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that, she might not get the results she likes. The assumption would be

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that banks, for example, would come out of this very badly, that the

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ratio between those at the bottom and that would be very high in terms

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of banks. What this is warning is that if you look at a company like

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John Lewis, actually, the ratio might not be so good, there. The

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rationale is that within banks, someone is being pay phenomenal

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amounts of the top but also, in the middle, you have people being paid

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very well. So the ratio was not so high whereas somewhere like John

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Lewis, you have someone being paid a lot of money but people on the shop

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for not being paid very much. That ratio figure might not tell us what

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Theresa May hoped it would and might not give her the kind of political

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leveraged, the ammunition she hoped for. But won't people understand

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that there would probably be a difference between Goldman Sachs and

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Waitrose, that you are going to have people who are on a lower salary,

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much lower because they do a very different job in relation to many of

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those people who might be above them in the pecking order of the company?

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To some extent, yes, definitely although I would argue it is quite

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outrageous that there is such a pay differential at Waitrose but they

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and others are seen as more of a model company than Goldman Sachs in

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the way they are set up. I was at the talk that Vince Cable, the

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former Business Secretary gave the other day when he said some of this

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stuff and he was quite scathing about this as an idea. He said they

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looked at it when he was in government... Publishing the

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figures? Yes, and he said the problem is it makes people like

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Goldman Sachs lookalike bastions of virtue when no one would think that

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was the. I suspect this is more about Theresa May trying to signal

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she's doing something very serious about corporate pay than actually

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doing it and frankly, the idea you can shame these guys and senior

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women into reducing their pay rate is unproven, I would say. Symbols

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are important but one of the consequences of the Brexit vote was

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that Theresa May have to show all of those people who voted to leave that

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she is on their side and things like this, clamping down on outrageous

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pay is one of those symbols. All right. Apparently we are going to

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get more spies because MI6 is hiring hundreds more in the war against

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terror. Theresa May Lars Spies. We have learned that after six years of

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having her in the Home Office! -- loves spies. She's a big fan of

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spooks and to be fair, they seem to be doing a very good job keeping

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Britain protected domestic league and better what we have seen in

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other parts of Europe so I think there will be lots of public support

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for this. I think it was announced last year in broad brushstrokes by

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George Osborne but we are starting to see it filtering through, how it

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will affect different services. It is a huge increase in the number

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that MI6, 40% increase in the number of spies which is a massive increase

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in manpower at a time when most of the public sector is being strained.

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But I think people basically believe in this and think it is a good idea.

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Very briefly, the Telegraph, Mark Zuckerberg is going to spend ?3

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billion apparently getting rid of all of the world's diseases. Is that

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going to be enough? ?3 million? One thinks not if you bear in mind in

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January, the government and Bill Gates of Microsoft pledged ?3

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billion to fight malaria alone. I can't see all disease being wiped

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out with ?3 billion from Mark Zuckerberg. But I can see what they

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want to do it but I'm sure there an altruistic motive as well, without

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wanting to be cynical, God forbid! You work for the Guardian! Greg blue

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when you hear about tech firms at the moment, you hear about

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multinationals who are beyond the control of governments, worries

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about their tax arrangements and things like that. This is the kind

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of publicity that they need. Good news story, at least on the of it.

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Thank you for joining us. Don't forget all the front pages

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are online on the BBC News website, where you can read a detailed review

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of the papers. It's all there for you, seven days

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a week at bbc.co.uk/papers. And you can see us there,

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too, with each night's edition of The Papers

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being posted on the page shortly A full weather forecast

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coming up next. A chilly night across parts of the

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North West and a warm night across parts of the South

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