What the papers said

WILLIAM HARTSTON REVIEWS THE WEEK'S PRESS

The Mirror on Thursday had a big front page headline: "First Class Child Killer", while page two reported on her "Freebie to Freedom" and the "Outrage as BA pay half of Louise's pounds 5,600 flight home". I suppose that means we won't be reading the serialisation of Louise Woodward's life story in the Mirror. Funny how the paper's attitude to convicted killers has changed in the past few weeks. Wasn't the Mirror one of those papers that bought the memoirs of a woman convicted of murdering a nurse in Saudi Arabia?

Friday's Independent had a nice, but probably unintentional comment on the return of the nation's most notorious nanny. The main story of the day was headined "Ban for baby death doctors", while opposite it we read: "Woodward to get 'Diana treatment' in BBC interview". The Mirror had a different view of the Panorama-like prominence being planned for the interview with Martin Bashir. "Louise in TV grilling," it said.

The high-profile, no-comment flight home posed a problem for journalists. Most papers mentioned that Louise was in seat 1A, next to Sir Colin Marshall in 1B while her father was behind her in 2A. (You'd have thought that the chairman of BA would have offered to swap seats.)

The Times expressed great concern about her diet: "Her meal on board was a frugal one. Spurning the delights of the first-class menu - which included chargrilled king prawns tossed in a light cilantro vinaigrette, a Thai-style lobster curry, and grilled poussin in a tomato and chili salsa - she poked at a plate of fettucine with pesto. She only drank orange juice, although her father enjoyed the Chateau Branc-Cantenac 1990."

The Guardian, in a front-page piece headed "Woodward free - at a price" said: "Louise Woodward ... is expected to return to Britain and a potential six-figure sum from the tabloid press this week, despite a judge's recommendation that she should not profit from her story." So with the Mirror apparently out of contention, which of the tabloids are still in the running? The Mail, where Linda Lee Potter wrote a piece: "Nothing to celebrate but a lot of lessons to be learned", was the most pro-Louise and critical of the bereaved parents: "There was a strong feeling that Mrs Eappen wanted revenge, not justice. She had made up her own mind about the facts." The Express headed one article "Never trust her with babies" and had the phrase "guilty Louise" on its front page, while the Sun had "Don't Let Louise Near a Baby Again" in big letters on the front and "Louise Mustn't Cash In On Death" across pages two and three.

The most extraordinary comment on the whole affair, however, was in the Independent, where Max Clifford wrote under a headline proclaiming: "Even a child-killer should be able to sell her story". His argument is for a free market in morals, which he justifies with a splendid piece of arithmetic: "The readers of the paper which published Louise's story might number as many as five million, and they would no doubt be confirmed in their belief in her. But the readers of the other papers, who might number 20 million would get a very different impression. The tabloids that missed out on the story (either by being outbid, or deciding not to make an offer) would immediately attack and rubbish her." So that's all right, then. Sun readers voted three-to-one against letting Louise babysit their children.

The Sun headline "A Disgrace to England", was not a comment on the Woodward case, but on the other main story of the week, the behaviour of England's football fans. "Shame Old Story" ran the headline on pages two and three, above a story on "England thugs in 'worst ever riots' at the World Cup". The Guardian called them "hardcore hooligans" and interviewed "Robin, a 25-year-old clerical worker" on the art of football vandalism. "Running with a firm, it's not like committing a personal crime," Robin explained. Apparently the Chelsea firm is dominant at the moment. They're friendly with Feyenoord because Feyenoord's rivals, Ajax, have a Jewish fan base.

The Daily Star called them "Vindaloonies", the Mail called them "louts", "thugs" and "mindless" and with inspired incongruity juxtaposed a photograph of "a ringleader" with "the cross of St George tattooed on his beer belly" next to a picture of the "pounds 80,000 semi he shares with his common-law wife and three children". The Express was "so ashamed of our yob fans" while the Sun found a nice angle with "Pottery expert goes potty at the footy". Apparently one of our most prolific football hooligans is an expert on Royal Doulton and has written a book on pottery.

Nobody, other than Alan Clark, had anything complimentary to say about our yobs, though the Telegraph managed to find two photographs to support his allegation that beating up rival fans is not very different from playing the Eton Wall Game. Perhaps he had not seen the pictures in the Sun of one beer-bottle-brandishing fan burning a Tunisian flag and another hurling a chair apparently directly at the cameraman. Or maybe they do that at Eton too.

Only the Scottish Daily Record could take some pride in the events in Marseilles, expressing its views under the telling headline "Mad Dogs and Englishmen" and published contrasting photographs, one showing two smiling Scottish fans draped in a St Andrew's flag, the other showing two England fans beating up a Tunisian.

Good news was in short supply last week, but the Telegraph did have one pleasure-giving story about researchers at the Institute of Neurology in London testing volunteers on a tickling machine. "Using a brain scanner and a ticklish piece of foam, they found that one region of the brian sneaks a message to the other so that the tickling is no longer a surprise." The results explained why you cannot tickle yourself: "When someone else did the tickling there was much more activity in the part of the brain that processes tactile sensations ... An area linked to pleasure sensations also lit up - when the tickling was self-administered it did not." They should try it on football hooligans.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

    £26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

    Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

    £24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

    Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

    £22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

    Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

    £16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
    Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

    Confessions of a former PR man

    The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

    Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

    Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
    London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

    The mother of all goodbyes

    Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
    Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

    Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

    The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
    Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions