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Papers analyse e-mail row

June 7, 2002 

Politics is sliding down a slippery downwards spiral, according to the Daily Telegraph.

First there was sleaze, then spin and now smear, the paper claims.

Smear is the word many of the papers use to describe the latest e-mail scandal to hit the Department of Transport.

The Daily Mail calls those responsible "The Smear Merchants" and claims they "set out to destroy" the woman who headed the Paddington Survivors Group.

Pam Warren, who is pictured on the front page with the clear plastic mask she wore after the train crash, was not politically motivated, the paper says, and had always been a floating voter.

The Independent argues the affair betrays Labour's "obsession with presentation rather than substance".

But the Guardian argues the publication of the actual e-mails shows the target was not Warren, and Labour insiders are blaming Railtrack shareholders for stirring up trouble.

Nuclear war?

The threat of a "nuclear showdown" in Kashmir remains the focus of many of the broadsheets.

Britain and America "are ready to send troops" to avert a conflict, the Times insists.

It is a proposal India and Pakistan have both so far rejected - but British Defence sources have indicated to the paper that in private both countries are singing a very different tune.

The paper's foreign editor insists that a nuclear war is "still the least likely finale".

But the Daily Mail suggests a tit-for-tat nuclear exchange would wipe out 12 million people in Asia, and that the nuclear fallout would hit Europe.

The Financial Times suggests Western governments are considering withholding economic aid to Pakistan.

And the Guardian argues the war has already begun, and describes how one man dozing in the village of Garkwal was shocked when a "shell plunged through the air, killing two of his cows".

Rate wait

The fallout of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington is still affecting the global economy, according to the Times.

It welcomes the decision of the Monetary Policy Committee to leave interest rates at four percent.

The Independent agrees that "it makes sense to wait and see what shape the economy is really in".

Sven songs

Several papers burst into song to urge the team on in their match against Argentina.

"Don't cry for me Argentina, The truth is we've got you baffled," claims the Daily Mail, with the help of lyricist Tim Rice.

Sven Goran Eriksson is offered some Swedish inspiration by the Mirror in some reworked Abba songs.

They include "The Winner Takes it All... But we'll take a draw" or "Gimme gimme gimme a goal after midday" or even "I do I do I do I do do want to score".

And the Guardian is confident that Sven will be able to sing "I did it my way".

Hot air

Spare a thought for a judge who, in the line of duty, the Telegraph explains, "will be sampling the effects of hot air for an hour".

Judge Michael Fysh is to take a ride in a hot air balloon to decide a battle between two companies about a patent for a deflation device.

The paper observes that although it shouldn't be particularly windy "wigs will not be worn".

Source: Copyright © 2002 BBC News.

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