WHAT THE PAPERS SAID

NICHOLAS FEARN REVIEWS THE WEEK'S PRESS

THE WEEK began with the tales of two capitalists, one receiving perhaps more obloquy, and the other perhaps more praise, than he deserved. While some have been urging cuts in interest rates, Gavyn Davies - Goldman Sachs economist and friend of the Chancellor - suggested a more original stave against economic gloom. "Unemployment will probably have to rise by at least half a million before wage pressures ease," he argued. Though Mr Davies stands to make pounds 60m from the floatation of Goldman Sachs, he stressed that it was only rises in average earnings that posed the threat. Paul Foot's response in the Guardian was swift: "Altogether, the directors and top shareholders in Goldman Sachs will get enough, I calculate, to pay a living wage for a year to all those 50,000 extra people whom Gavyn wants to throw on the dole". Gavyn Davies may well be right, but would he feel comfortable informing Mr Foot that he was missing the point here?

History may be kinder to Mr Davies, judging by the homages paid to Tiny Rowland, himself once famously described as "the unacceptable face of capitalism". The papers all recognised his faults, with Tom Bower in the Mail reminding us that Rowland's empire was built on "lies, bribery and the charm of a super salesman". But to the former Zambian President, Kenneth Kaunda, he was a man "full of compassion", infused with "love for fellow human beings". Moreover, according to Nelson Mandela, "He made an enormous contribution, not only to South Africa but to the whole of Africa. We will remember him as a long-standing friend in the struggle against apartheid". Somewhere, far away, camels were stampeding through the eyes of needles.

"Speak no ill of the dead," quoted Nicholas Morrell, Vice-President of Lonrho. No such constraint can be expected of the dead themselves, however. Certain victims of the Cabinet reshuffle wasted no time in apportioning blame. Frank Field pointed the finger at Gordon Brown for the failure to reform welfare. To this responded the Mirror's Paul Routledge, "Nothing shows the nature of a man more than his leaving of a job," and "In his self-pitying display of petulance, Frank Field showed why he is not the man to reform the welfare state".

The Conservative press remained loyal to the ex-minister. The Times said that "Mr Field's resignation may be represented as an act of pique at not securing a seat in Cabinet.

It was, however, a principled stand rare in contemporary politics". The Telegraph reported Mr Field "striding purposefully" into Downing Street and complained that "the most important appointment is a disappointment, with the departure of Frank Field".

If only Derek Draper were still on hand to report from "Inside the mind of New Labour". Instead, the press had to impute the motives of the baby- faced executioner.

For the Mail's David Hughes, the Prime Minister's primary aim was to curb the power of the Chancellor, and he "used not so much an axe as a scalpel to cut Gordon Brown down to size". Peter Oborne in the Express called the reshuffle "a cold, methodical and chilling retribution upon Gordon Brown". The Chancellor's ally, Nick Brown, found himself "promoted" from Chief Whip to Minister for Agriculture. As Oborne pointed out though, "When Stalin ran Russia, out-of-favour ministers were despatched to run power stations in Siberia. In modern Britain they get promoted to agriculture".

But what of the future of welfare reform? To the Telegraph's Janet Daley, "The myth of Blairite radicalism is extinguished. To smash any remaining hope of serious welfare reform, Alastair Darling will now presumably run the Department of Social Security on approved Brownite lines".

David Aaronovitch in the Independent acknowledged that perhaps "a more incremental approach headed by the new, cool, silvery Social Security Secretary, Alastair Darling, stands more chance of delivering real change," but asked whether the latter "believes, as Mr Field did, that there is something called 'welfare dependency'?" Frank Field not only believed but also cared, and it will be difficult for Mr Darling to measure up to him on that account.

Great fun was had by all following the deal made by Monica Lewinsky to trade a full testimony on her alleged relationship with Bill Clinton in exchange for immunity from prosecution. Clinton's reaction was subject to much speculation, but few saw a clear escape route for the President.

The Independent outlined several future histories, including: "Clinton the lying perv. A vindicated Lewinsky holds a publishers' auction of Monica: The Untold Story, with Hollywood queuing up to make the movie. Clinton retires to write his memoirs; Hillary is professionally more successful than ever".

This permutation may be less likely given that it first required the President to confess to the nation. We will have to wait and see whether he takes the advice of the Guardian's Jonathan Freedland: "He might argue that, under his definition, oral sex is not sex at all - and that therefore he never committed perjury. It would be an eerie parallel of Clinton's 'I didn't inhale' defence on dope smoking".

Whatever happens to Clinton, he will still be forgiven in shorter time than the 45 years endured by the family of the executed Derek Bentley. As Bentley was belatedly cleared by the Lord Chief Justice Bingham, the Express called the case "The worst miscarriage of justice in history". But as one person is forgiven, another is blamed.

For Bernard Levin in the Times, the culprit was the original trial judge, Lord Goddard, calling him "a savage man". The Independent fingered, among others, former Home Secretary Kenneth Clarke, who turned down calls for a pardon in 1993. The Guardian led and, on behalf of everyone, finished with the moving account of Bentley's final hours written by the hangman, Albert Pierrepoint. It began: "When you go to hang a boy of 19 years old, it does not matter that he is tall and broad-shouldered, for at nine o'clock on the morning he is to die, he still looks only a boy".

News
people

Arts and Entertainment
JJ Abrams' seventh Star Wars, The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of Episode VII has gone online after weeks of anticipation
News
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
people
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
art

Presents unwrapped, turkey gobbled... it's time to relax

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
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

    h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Manager -Healthcare Software-£70,000 OTE

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + £60,000 OTE+Car+Mobile: h2 Recruit Ltd: Business D...

    Cancer Research UK: Volunteer Area Manager Mentor/Coach

    Voluntary : Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for volunteers who will use thei...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive

    £18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

    Recruitment Genius: National Commercial Manager - Buyer

    £25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This waste services provider is...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

    Christmas Appeal

    Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
    Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

    Is it always right to try to prolong life?

    Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

    What does it take for women to get to the top?

    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
    Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

    Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

    Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
    French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

    French chefs campaign against bullying

    A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

    Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
    Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

    Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

    Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
    Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

    Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

    Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
    Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

    Paul Scholes column

    I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
    Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game