Newspaper review: Payday lending and sex in the news

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Media captionFay Schlesinger, home news editor of the Times, and Oliver Duff, who edits the i newspaper, review Tuesday's front pages for the BBC News Channel.

Measures to place a cap on the annual interest rates charged by payday lenders divide opinion among the UK press.

The Daily Mirror claims victory for forcing George Osborne into a "U-turn", on the basis it's been campaigning since 2010 under the banner "End Legal Loan Sharking". It finds an unlikely ally in the Daily Mail, which compares the short-term loan market to "the wild West... it needs taming".

The Times agrees that the high interest rates typically charged by lenders are a problem but argues "it would be better to flood the market with competition than cap prices".

"There is a delicate trade-off between the libertarian impulse to allow people to make their own decision, and an understandable desire to shield consumers from harm," notes the Financial Times. But it criticises Mr Osborne for "passing the buck" on the level of the cap to the Financial Conduct Authority.

And the Daily Telegraph goes further, arguing that the cap could "backfire on the Tories". Referring to Labour leader Ed Miliband's pledge to cap energy prices, it adds: "This looks remarkably like an attempt to replicate the sort of political stunt for which Mr Miliband was criticised."

Meanwhile, Steve Richards, in the Independent, sees a new strategic challenge to Mr Miliband in Mr Osborne's "leftward" move to intervene in the free market: "Labour risks losing part of its distinctive pitch."

Talk about sex

The National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles provided plenty for editors to get excited about.

The Independent declares the UK a "Lesbian nation" on its front page. Inside, with a still from the film Blue is the Warmest Colour - a lesbian romance - its coverage reveals "four times as many women admit to sexual encounters with other women than 20 years ago". (That's 16%.)

The Daily Mail also focuses on women, and "Mrs Average's sex life", saying she's "losing her virginity younger, having more lovers than ever and is increasingly adventurous in bed". The Daily Star notes that "women romp for 60 years of their life", under a headline: "Bed-hop Brits enjoying more sex than ever."

Others contradict that somewhat. Under the headline "50 shades of greyer", the Sun notes: "We're having sex later in life (in our 70s)... but sadly not as often."

And the Telegraph knows why: the distractions of technology. "Not tonight dear, I've got the iPad," it declares on page one, noting that Britons are having sex only three times every four weeks. In a similar vein, the Times's front page announces "Less sex please, we're too busy on the web."

The Guardian focuses on a more worrying statistic from the report, saying 10% of women have been forced into sex against their will.

Trott out

The early departure of Jonathan Trott from England's Ashes cricket tour, citing stress, spills into the news section. It makes the front page of the Guardian, where Mark Rice-Oxley asks whether the game has a problem, citing a Professional Cricketers' Association survey in which 500 past and current players said they had sought help for mental health problems.

The Independent queries whether cricket's banter has descended into a "sledge too far", given the invective both on the pitch and in the media surrounding the current tour. And Steve James - in the Telegraph - suggests: "Trott's plight... might just bring some perspective now. It is only a game."

The Daily Mirror recruits another sportsman who's suffered depression - Professional Footballers' Association chairman Clarke Carlisle - for his analysis. Applauding the support Trott is receiving from his sport's authorities, Carlisle writes: "Football clubs and cricket teams have a duty of care to look after the mental wellbeing of their athletes as well as the physical side."

Too right?

The Times's front page, which carries a warning to David Cameron from backbench modernisers that he might split the party if he abandons "green" policies to appease those on the right, leads its opinion editor Tim Montgomerie to list the PM's "big ideas that failed to gain momentum".

Alongside a pledge to be the "greenest government ever", are promises not to impose top-down reorganisation on the NHS or to allow a third runway at Heathrow, and an aspiration that a third of his cabinet should be female. The decision of Laura Sandys, one of the unhappy Conservative MPs, to step down at the next election "fuelled concerns that Mr Cameron has all-but abandoned his attempts to modernise his party," the paper notes.

But Janan Ganesh, writing in the Financial Times, reckons that's a "folly of existential consequences" for the party. Swing voters respond not to rational economic thought but to the "general aroma emitted by a party", he says. "That, being modernisation's central insight, is being forgotten. And so the Tory brand continues to reek."

Reviewing the papers for the BBC News Channel, the Times's home news editor, Fay Schlesinger, said the PM's stance on eco-policies posed a problem away from Westminster. "This creates a massive amount of uncertainty within the green [energy] sector," she said, noting the Guardian's front page reporting an energy supplier pulling out of a £4bn plan to create offshore wind farms.

Co-panellist Oliver Duff, who edits the i newspaper, agreed: "David Cameron has been wavering a lot. Ed Miliband has called for a price freeze. All this creates uncertainty ahead of the next general election."

Judging judges

Supreme Court president Lord Neuberger makes the Daily Mail's front page, which reports he "provoked fury" by criticising short jail sentences and saying they "can be disruptive for the prisoner's job and home life". The paper says: "Critics accused the judge of seeing things 'entirely from the point of view of the criminal'."

"Earlier this year Lord Neuberger refused to answer questions at a press conference, warning it was inappropriate for judges to give opinions publicly on solely political matters," the paper writes, before pointing out his comments on a series of matters.

A Supreme Court spokesman, the paper points out, said Lord Neuberger was "simply reporting informal conversations he had with probation officers and other prison staff" during a visit to Holloway Prison and his reflections were in no way intended as statements on sentencing policy.

Meanwhile, the Telegraph has news of District Judge Ann Sawetz who - when quoted some Morrissey lyrics - declared: "I don't even know who Morrissey is," adding: "That's bad, isn't it?"