SubScribe: The front pages: Bieber mugs, GM fish food and outraged ex-girlfriends Google+

Friday 24 January 2014

The front pages: Bieber mugs, GM fish food and outraged ex-girlfriends

The Times and the Mail take a twin approach  to appeal to both ends of the age spectrum - a splash on cancer treatment (or non-treatment) of the elderly and pictures of Justin Bieber. The Mail wins by a mile in terms of headline. The Times misses the point: its head could refer to blunders or mistakes in treatment rather than rationing it to the under-75s.

The paper scores, however, with its treatment of the Bieber pictures. Everyone loves to see the mugshots after a celebrity arrest and we want both of them in the stark side-on, full-face format. These baffle GG, though. Why isn't he holding a placard with a number on it? And why is he smiling? Aren't suspects were required to stare blankly, passport style, at the official photographer?  But perhaps 99.9% of them scowl simply because they're ashamed or miserable, whereas for J-Beebs it was just another publicity shot.

The Independent sisters are also dressed as twins today: same splash, almost the same heading, same misinformation. Superfoods? Well, yes - for  fish. To be grown? Well, yes - if the scientists get permission after a three-month consultation period and an official inquiry. It's all a bit naughty. But still interesting. The scientists have copied fatty acid genes from the natural algae that fish eat and pasted them into a plant grown for seed oil. The modified plant should then produce a new source of omega-3 to feed to farmed fish - which might eventually be eaten by us. But not this year.

The Mirror and the Sun are in no mood for forgiveness today. The Mirror is outraged that the singer Ian Watkins is exercising his legal right to appeal against his 35-year sentence for paedophile offences. Or at least the paper is reflecting the outrage of his ex-girlfriend, who has concluded from this routine response of anyone sent down for a long time that Watkins thinks that he is the victim of the case. Not sure about that reasoning. Jo Mjadzelic is equally cross that Watkins has been moved to a prison closer to his mother, who is said to be seriously ill after a kidney transplant. Hmm. Whisper it softly, but it is quite normal for prisoners to serve their sentence near to their families. He is the criminal, not his mother. Why should she be punished with a longer journey to visit him?

The Sun, too, is taking the ex-girlfriend's side. This time in the newsprint spat between Ulrika Jonsson and Stan Collymore. Yesterday Ulrika (a sometime Sun columnist) raged against Collymore's complaints about racist abuse and death threats directed at him on Twitter. Having been on the receiving end of Collymore's temper she accused him of hypocrisy. He responded by reopening his Twitter account to deny that he had punched or kicked her. He had 'hit her once with an open hand' - he didn't use the word 'only'.
'A pro athlete, kicking and punching wildly with aggression. Why no knock out? No bleeding? No bruising? No pictures? Why?' 

The Sun and Ulrika are aghast at his audacity, with Miss J saying that his attitude is beyond belief.
'There were at least 20 witnesses there who know it certainly was not one hit with an open hand. He kicked me in the head three times.' 
Who said time was the great healer?

The Star is also wearing its outraged bikini. This is because there has apparently been a secret fix to ensure that someone called Sam wins Celebrity Big Brother.  It goes without saying that the said Sam features on the front in skimpy swimwear and again on the spread on pages 4 and 5, where the nature of the plot is revealed to us by none other than intrepid reporter Liz Jones, she of the Daily Mail.

Ms Jones, who was evicted from the house yesterday, says that the show's producers want  Sam to be the goodie-goodie golden girl. That means that when she showers in a bikini (?) with the door open, the sequence is edited out. Thank goodness we have the Star to make up for such censorship.

Sam also apparently wants to be liked by everyone and stays out of arguments (an attitude to life incomprehensible to a trained combatant like Liz  Jones) and has anyway been quiet because she has been ill. 

So this is the fix? Sam is really nice. She thinks she should  try to be naughty. But she can't because the powers-that-be want her to be nice. 

Right. Have we all got that? A 'source' explains:
'It's a fact that good people win. Anyone who has misbehaved, caused outrage or trouble never gets crowned the champ...the bosses want people to see Sam in a good light, not like Jasmine.
'They don't want her labelled the same as those other girls, so it's better to promote a more wholesome image.'
Ah, now I understand. So this is why the Star - owned by Richard Desmond, who also owns the BB franchise - is promoting Sam's wholesome image not only on pages 1 and 5, but also on page 3. Where she is seen wearing a bikini with the top half missing. 

It'll have to do better than that. With just under a week to go, slinky TOWIE girl Sam is 15-2 third favourite to win, while  paunchy old comic Jim Davidson, who for some reason doesn't feature much in the Star's coverage, is so far ahead at 5-4 on that some bookies have stopped taking bets.

On to more serious fare from the Guardian and the Telegraph and our mysterious economy in which everyone except the wealthiest is apparently better off by some government yardstick, yet the queues at food banks are still growing. 

The Telegraph reports that the Prime Minister is cautiously celebrating a 'recovery for all' and is to tell the World Economic Forum in Davos that companies will be lured to Britain by low energy prices fuelled by the fracking revolution. Low energy prices? Like those we enjoyed after the discovery of North Sea gas and North Sea oil? Excellent. 

Incidentally, bad luck on the theatre pic. Simon Russell Beale playing King Lear under the direction of Sam Mendes should be a shoo-in for a 5* review. Sadly Charles Spencer (and other critics) failed to oblige. Ah well, it's still good to see live arts being given respect on the front.

The Guardian is more concerned with interest rates.  The Governor of the Bank of England, also in Davos, says that there is no need for rates to rise just because the unemployment rate has dropped to 7.1%. Why does he need to say this? Because in August (five months ago), he offered 'forward guidance' to give business the stability and confidence to plan ahead: he would not consider raising interest rates until the jobless rate fell below 7%. 

At the time it stood at 7.8% and the Governor's view was that it would take probably until the year after next to drop those eight percentage points.

I wonder who he is predicting will win  Celebrity Big Brother.

And finally to a first (I think) for the Express. A combination of a diabetes cure AND Madeleine McCann. SubScribe doesn't recall seeing that mix before.

Today we are told to expect the first arrests in the McCann case. That's good, because we've been waiting since July 6, when the paper promised 'Maddy arrests within weeks'.

But let's be fair. Sometimes, as Mr Carney at the Bank now realises, developments come more quickly than expected. Last May the Express told us that a daily jab would beat diabetes. Now we already have a cure to end the misery of that breakthrough injection.

But I still reckon most people would  prefer Monday's chocolate remedy.

A mini review of the papers will be a feature of the new Sub-Scribe website, which should be alive and possibly kicking within the next couple of weeks. A few pages are available for a sneak preview, if you are interested, at For updates on progress, please click the button. 

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