The papers: D-Day's lessons and 'monsoon Britain'

After the commemorations of D-Day held yesterday in Normandy, Saturday's papers are in reflective mood on the war, its legacy and the heroism of those who served.

"Glory lives on as ranks get thinner" is how the Daily Mirror's leader comment reflects on the event.

It points out that today's generation "owe a debt that can never be repaid" to those who served in World War 2.

"Yes, we are humbled. But let us also be inspired by the best of the best," the comment adds.

The Daily Express echoes those sentiments in its leader column, pointing out "today we live in a Britain that is not perfect, but it is a Britain of freedom, justice and tolerance.

"These are all traits that a victorious Hitler would have banished from these islands and from the rest of the continent".

Its columnist James Delingpole says the biggest lesson of war, is how "senseless slaughter" can bring out the good qualities in so many.

Image copyright AP

"Courage, duty, discipline, self-sacrifice, friendship, devotion, love: These are things we experience in civilian life too. But rarely with the same intensity as we do in times of war," he says.

The Daily Telegraph's Neil Tweedie witnessed the ceremony, held at Sword Beach, and remarks that if temperatures were "red hot on the beach" they were at times "ice cold on the VIP stand".

A split shot of President Obama next to President Putin on one of the ceremony's giant TV screens had the US leader squirming with awkward body language, and the Kremlin chief - and "pantomime villain" - turning away "infuriated".

The Times reports on the "troubling choreography" necessary for the event's organisers in keeping Mr Putin apart from Mr Obama, and the Prince of Wales, who recently compared the Russian leader to Hitler.

However, some diplomacy went on, amid the awkwardness of the formal ceremony.

"Obama tells the Russian leader that a deal with the new Kiev regime can end East-West chill", is the paper's summary of the American position.

The international tensions lead The Independent to ask on its front page: "What, if anything, have we learned?"

Saying that the world faces "the most fractious international climate for years", the paper said the national leaders assembled at Sword, failed to convince that the "legacy" of wartime sacrifice was "in good hands".

The paper's commentary section notes that one lesson of the world war was that "an alliance of East and West" made victory possible.

"Simpler times, when rivals could set aside their differences to achieve so much. If only one could say as much today," it concludes.


'Bubble trouble'

The International Monetary Fund's warning that Britain must take steps to avoid a housing price "bubble" is reported in many papers.

The Daily Mail characterises IMF head Christine Lagarde's advice to the UK to cut "unnecessary" planning regulations, as "build more houses in the countryside".

It says Mme Lagarde's intervention - complete with advice on possible VAT and rate rises - has infuriated Conservative MPs.

The paper quotes backbencher Douglas Carswell as saying "We elect our own government to decide on our own budget, thank you very much".

The Sun's editorial says that the IMF are "not wrong" about the threat from what the paper calls "bubble trouble".

Pointing out that even with relaxed planning regulations, new homes will still take years to materialise the paper has two suggestions.

"Banks must cut down on their high loan-to-income mortgages", it says, adding "it is crucial too for foreign investors in UK property to be taxed on their profits".

The Independent carries a two-page spread on the issue, complete with a pictorial look at some of what it calls the "quirkier" (ie: minute) properties currently being advertised to Londoners.

The paper quotes Labour's Margaret Hodge who says the perception that immigrants have "jumped the queue" for local authority housing has been "used" by the far-right to "racialise" the issue of shortage of supply.

"Given social housing is a scarce resource there have been issues around the allocation of it. The issue isn't going away," she added.

The Guardian's analysis notes that the IMF does not think a credit bubble has developed yet in the UK, but it has "put down markers" so if "things go pear-shaped" they can say "we told you so".

The paper says housing demand should be the top item at the Bank of England's financial policy committee meeting, the week after next.

'Not vetted'

The issue of the alleged "Trojan Horse" plot to impose a radical Islamist agenda in some schools in Birmingham rumbles on in the press, ahead of Ofsted's official report on the affair.

The Guardian says it has seen a leaked version of the report which it says will condemn Park View academy, one of the "Trojan Horse" schools as "inadequate" where it had previously been rated as "outstanding".

The paper understands that Ofsted will say that teachers "have not received enough training in the government's anti-extremism Prevent programme".

Among the findings, it adds, are that external Islamic speakers at the school were "not vetted"; students were "not prepared properly for life in a diverse and multicultural society"; staff were "fearful of speaking out" and sex and relationship education was "ineffective".

The Daily Mail says Education Secretary Michael Gove is "expected to remove heads or governors of schools where inspectors have identified concerns".

The paper says some of the 21 Midlands schools being investigated by Ofsted have narrowed their curriculums "to such an extent that music is being banned".

The Times quotes a teacher at Golden Hillock School, another of the schools under investigation, as saying that boys and girls in the school chose to sit apart because of their "culture".

Maths teacher Bikram Singh said critics of the school were trying to impose their own values because "a lot of English people have become detached from religious upbringing".

The paper says Golden Hillock is expected to be put into special measures.

Charles Moore writing in The Daily Telegraph says that "politicians are so busy squabbling over extremism that they are failing to tackle it".

He continues that he suspects that "in the past Ofsted "didn't do its job properly" when looking into these schools, its inspectors didn't "ask searching questions"; its habit of warning in advance of visits was "foolish" and teachers backgrounds were not investigated.

The squabbling in question, the political row between Mr Gove and Home Secretary Theresa May over whether their respective departments should bear any blame for extremism in schools, is examined in the FT.

The paper says Mr Gove's job may be in jeopardy after "erratic behaviour" has "tested ties with the PM".

The paper's leader column says the row should be "a lesson" for Mr Gove, that he is best not to make comments on "counter terrorism strategy" as his approach is "misguided".

The Sun says that Labour have accused the education secretary of "gross negligence" for "refusing to act" on reports of extremist teaching in Birmingham schools, from as far back as 2010.

'Seriously weird'

The British love to discuss the weather, it is said, and by that measure the Daily Express is the most British of all papers.

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Wet weather is expected to hit the South Coast of England and spread northwards on Saturday

Headlining its front page Monsoon Britain, the paper warns its readers that they face a deluge with "half a month's rain falling in just an hour" on Saturday.

It carries warnings from the Met Office that flash flooding could be expected in some parts today with "urban areas and small rivers" the most likely to be affected.

But in spite of the rain, the south of England could experience the hottest day of the year, with temperatures set to hit 82F.

The Daily Mirror quotes Channel 4 weatherman Liam Dutton as saying the heat had created a "loaded gun" situation with an incoming cold front likely to "pull the trigger".

The paper also speaks to Friends of the Earth climate campaigner Guy Shrubsole, who says: "After the wettest winter ever recorded it's clear something is seriously weird with our weather."

More than 100 low-risk flooding warnings have been issued, the paper notes.

Thundery showers could last into next week, it adds.

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