Vow to 'smash' Islamic State, 'bedroom tax' revolt and more Calais chaos

Tough talk from Nato leaders about tackling the threat from Islamic State extremists makes it into Saturday's front-page headlines.

But threats made at the Newport summit to "degrade and destroy" the militant group do little to impress most commentators.

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The Daily Mail's editorial complains that we've heard much "lofty rhetoric" from US President Barack Obama and British PM David Cameron. "But as for practical answers to the crises in eastern Ukraine, Syria and Iraq, neither they nor the leaders of the other 60-odd nations represented at the Nato summit in South Wales appeared to have any sense of urgency or common purpose...

"Truly, it is hard to remember a time when the free world was so uncertain about what to do next."

Noting that Mr Cameron still hasn't committed to air strikes, the Sun says: "Similar hesitancy two years ago led to this disaster. A plan was put to David Cameron both to topple Syria's murderous President Assad and allow the crushing of IS too. He didn't have the stomach for it... How much further do IS have to go before we show some steel?"

In Times sketchwriter Ann Treneman's view: "The PM said that we were going to proceed 'carefully and methodically' over Isis. These are not words to thrill: even though you know it's all very sensible, it makes your heart sink. Basically he explained that we are going to implement a plan to implement a plan. (Brace!)"

As the Telegraph's Michael Deacon saw it: "[Mr Cameron] didn't say exactly what the plan was, but it's reassuring to hear that there is one, or might at some stage be one. At the very least, we're planning to have a plan. That's the plan, anyway."

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Times cartoonist Morten Morland has a similar opinion of the way Nato resolved to bolster the defences of eastern European countries in light of Russia's actions in eastern Ukraine. He draws an eight-section cartoon strip, the first featuring David Cameron suggesting: "A Nato rapid reaction force?" Nothing happens for six frames, before President Obama finally responds: "Yes."

"If it wasn't obvious already, this week made clear that we have entered a post-American age," writes the Independent's Amol Rajan in his Letter from the Editor. "With crises erupting all around the world, we can no longer rely on America to be our chief negotiator, policeman and protector rolled into one."


'Outrageous hypocrisy'

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Image caption Critics have dubbed the policy the "bedroom tax". Ministers called it removal of the "spare room subsidy".

The Independent leads on the Lib Dem rebellion to back a bill aimed at watering down housing benefit changes that imposed an "under occupancy charge" on council tenants deemed to have more rooms than they need.

And it suggests the result of the vote - aimed at ensuring existing tenants are not penalised when smaller accommodation is unavailable in their locality - means one of the coalition's "most unpopular and punitive policies" is "almost certainly doomed". The headline in the Times, meanwhile, suggests it's the Lib Dem-Tory relationship that's had its day. It quotes Conservative backbencher Philip Davies saying the vote "shows the coalition government has come to an end".

The Daily Mail quotes another Tory MP, David Nuttall, accusing Lib Dem cabinet ministers Vince Cable and Danny Alexander of "outrageous hypocrisy", given they backed the original policy two years ago. The paper's Scottish edition quotes Labour MPs talking in similar terms about their SNP counterparts who didn't turn up to vote, despite campaigning against the government's policy.

Even so, the outcome was predictable, says the Guardian, pointing to official analysis showing "hardly any tenants are downsizing in line with the plan, whereas very many are sinking into poverty or arrears".

"On previous attempts to scrap the vile policy, the government has loved voting for it," recalls the Mirror's Ros Wynne-Jones. "Now, you could see it slowly dawning on them this could be Cameron's Poll Tax. The Bedroom Tax has been dealt a killer blow - and with it a body blow to its creators."


'Dreaming of England'

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Stories highlighting the desperation of migrants from parts of Africa and Asia to reach the UK from Calais, France, once again fill several pages. The Sun reports that a stowaway clung to a motorhome axle for more than 100 miles before clambering out when the motorist got stuck in traffic on the M25.

The Mail's Richard Pendlebury waits by a Calais petrol station where lorries refuel to see the situation for himself: "Once the driver was busy at the pumps, it took one of the migrants a matter of seconds to open the rear doors of the container. Six of the loiterers climbed aboard before the doors were closed again."

One 24-year-old from Sudan - "eyes full of excitement" - tells the Financial Times: "This is our dream to be in England. In France they don't give you anything but it is easy to get documents in England."

The Guardian's Alexandra Topping describes how many in the port town feel "embattled", one telling her: "Before they were kind of concentrated in one place, but now they are just everywhere." It's prompted a demonstration by far-right group Sauvons Calais (Let's Save Calais), says the Times, raising fears of clashes. Migrants demonstrated about their living conditions on Friday.

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The town's mayor is demanding David Cameron come to the town to address the migrants, reports the Daily Star. However, the Telegraph says the PM hit back, with Downing Street saying it had offered £3m to improve security but was "awaiting approval from Calais chamber of commerce".

The crisis "has been years in the making, caused by prevarication and weakness" on the part of government, complains UKIP migration spokesman Steven Woolfe in the Express. "The EU is still without a practical policy to deal with illegal migration... the government needs to back up the noise it makes about illegal migration with tough actions."

"Most [migrants] come to work. They stand a chance of finding it in Britain, but almost none in France, Spain, Greece or Italy," says the Times, adding that little will change until the "map of economic opportunity" changes fundamentally. "In the long run this tide must be reversed by investing in growth in the countries that fuel economic migration. Britain is doing this already. Europe must pitch in."


Leaving of England?

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"Could the decision as to whether Scotland leaves the UK ultimately rest with the English?" wonders the Independent. It points out that 370,000 of them get a vote - unlike the 830,000 expat Scots living south of the border.

A poll in May suggested two-thirds of English voters would vote "no" to an independent Scotland, although the Yes campaign has since stepped up efforts to win their support, says the paper as it hears from some of those who've already been convinced.

However, the Mail's Guy Adams speaks to an English couple who are leaving Scotland, claiming to have been "driven out" by an atmosphere of "anti-Englishness". He describes No campaigners being called "traitors" on doorsteps, in examples of what the Mail calls: "The savage racism turning Scotland into a no-go zone for the English."

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The Telegraph's James Kirkup catches up with one No campaigner, Labour's Jim Murphy, who was "heckled, sworn at, and pelted with eggs" during his tour of 100 public meetings in 100 towns and villages of Scotland. However, the MP offers a "remarkably cheery description" of the campaign as "a really good advertisement for passionate politics".

The result, says the Guardian's Deborah Orr, is that if the Scottish referendum could talk it would be saying: "Well, hello, United Kingdom. How nice it is finally to have your attention." However, she says: "The debate has intoxicated Scotland. Feeling involved in something BIG has intoxicated Scotland. People have seen the opportunity to seize power."


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