The papers: 'Bombing to start in hours'

On Friday, the recalled House of Commons voted to allow British jets to join attacks by the US-led coalition against Islamic State targets in Iraq, during a session the papers describe as "angst-ridden", "tense" and "uneasy".

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The latter adjective is from the Telegraph where sketch writer Michael Deacon says MPs were "far from happy" backing the action.

He says it was an illustration of how young idealists enter politics "determined to do the right thing", but then "realise the right thing doesn't exist. All they can do is assess the various dispiriting options, and pick the least wrong."

The Times uses "anguished" to describe the Commons' collective mood.

It quotes Conservative MP Sir Edward Leigh who said: "Never have so few been asked by so many to achieve so much with no clear aim in sight.

"We have caused this mess and we should apologise to the people of the region for it."

In his sketch for the Independent, Donald Macintyre says the debate was mercifully free of "gung-ho".

"It was as if by publicly fearing the worst, the MPs could allow themselves privately to hope for the best."

Speaking to the Sun, David Cameron stressed the struggle against the jihadists would take time.

"This is a very long term, generational struggle that we are involved in," he tells the paper, insisting that air strikes are "only one part of a strategy".

The Sun asks the prime minister if he would need to go back to the Commons if he felt British forces should take action against IS militants in Syria.

"I very clearly reserve the position that if you need to act immediately either to secure a vital British interest or to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe you would act first and go to the House of Commons afterwards," is his reply.

One of a gaggle of ex-military men analysing the likely operation for the newspapers, Maj-Gen Tim Cross tells the Independent, "This will be an "asymmetric", or "hybrid", campaign.

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Image caption RAF jets will attack IS targets from their base in Akrotiri in Cyprus

"Alongside the air will be electronic warfare - intelligence gathering, tracking and hitting Isis commanders, disrupting their ability to communicate with their people and keeping them in constant fear for their lives.

"And psychological warfare; propaganda to convince their fighters that theirs is a lost cause and convince others not to join them."

The Times says the Tornado crews in RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus have expected the call to arms for the last month, and have "built up a bank of knowledge about the terrain they will be targeting" on reconnaissance flights.

The Daily Star notes that some of Britain's 10 Tornado and Typhoon female pilots could be involved in strikes against ground targets.

The Daily Mail says Britain has bought 20, million-pound Tomahawk missiles which could be fired at IS targets from UK submarines.

"A Royal Navy hunter-killer nuclear submarine carrying Tomahawks is already in place in the region awaiting targets for attack," it notes.


'Hard-wired sectarianism'

But what do the papers' pundits think of the oncoming campaign?

Among the sceptics is the Daily Mirror's Kevin Maguire who says the vote to go to war was the result of a "stitched-up deal" and "the result is Britain's return to the scene of past disasters."

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Image caption Iraq in 2003: "Shock and Awe" in action

The Mirror points out that action could cost £1bn a year for the next three years.

Maguire writes, "funny how there's always money for war. David Cameron isn't applying austerity to military adventures.

"'Colonel' Cameron's 2011 bombing of Libya left the land overrun by bloodthirsty extremists.

"Whatever he spends, there is no guaranteed military answers to Iraq's violent sectarianism."

Also in the nay camp, Matthew Parris in the Times writes, "our strangely bellicose nation seems unable to escape the fantasy of playing with the big boys on the global stage."

Parris argues that the campaign is designed primarily to "punish" IS for its beheadings and other atrocities, which have provoked "righteous anger".

But Parris cautions, "a sustained bombing campaign against Islamic fundamentalists in a distant desert may or may not diminish the longer term threat of terrorism in the world generally, but Britain's participation will certainly not diminish the threat of terrorism in the United Kingdom.

"It will probably increase it."

Image caption Max Hastings - a "reluctant" supporter of military action in Iraq

Writing in the Financial Times, David Gardner says that at the heart of the IS "narrative" is the belief "that the Arab world is a collection of failed and rotting states.

"As well as robust military action, therefore, any chance of success against [IS] needs to find political formulas to short-circuit the hard-wiring of sectarianism and offer at least a glimmer of hope to dispel despair."

In the Daily Mail, Max Hastings writes that he is "reluctantly" supporting the military action.

He says the "consequences of doing nothing" could be IS overrunning Iraqi Kurdistan and its oilfields meaning "huge new resources will fall into the fanatics' hands.

"Success breeds success. Already more fighters are joining the jihadis, seeing them as winners," he adds.

The Times leader column also backs the action.

"This is a just and necessary campaign against an enemy that has beheaded a British citizen, enticed impressionable young people from the UK into its ranks and vowed the extinction of the West.

"Britain must see the fight through."


'The pledge'

Turning to domestic matters, UKIP's conference in Doncaster gets much attention from the analysts - and sketch writers - of the British press.

The Daily Telegraph said UKIP had "unveiled a series of populist initiatives aimed at wooing angry and disaffected Labour voters."

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Image caption Nigel Farage: "Fluent and funny" says the Guardian

The paper notes "Tory sources said UKIP's sums did not add up, having repeatedly pledged to spend money saved from leaving the European Union and abolishing overseas aid in different ways. Labour said the tax cuts would help millionaires."

The Times leader column says, "UKIP's policies are an incoherent muddle.

"According to the folk wisdom of British politics, the problem with Conservative governments is that they cut taxes too much. The problem with Labour governments is that they spend too much.

"Ukip, whose annual conference concludes this evening, want to do both," the paper argues.

The Daily Mirror brands the UKIP leader, "Farage of the trite brigade."

The paper argues that the party's pledge to scrap inheritance tax would benefit "only 4% of families in Britain" and "increase inequality".

Michael White in the Guardian jokes, "So serious has UKIP's ambition become that platform speakers at its own conference have finally stopped boasting about how many pints they sank the previous evening."

He reserves some praise for Nigel Farage ("who has not personally signed the pledge", he notes), calling his largely ad-libbed speech "confident, funny and fluent".

"An English Alex Salmond marketing hope through panacea nationalism. He does it well."


'Smart money'

If few women could resist George Clooney, it seems that the same could be said for newspaper editors, judging by the oodles of space devoted to the American star's forthcoming marriage.

The Sun devotes a page to pictures of Mr Clooney and his bride-to-be Amal Alamuddin arriving at Venice for their "three-day wedding extravaganza".

It notes that they were unable to marry in the hotel they are staying in as it had already been booked by an Italian businessman.

The businessman's mother tells the paper, "We were all just looking forward to a nice quiet wedding but now we have George Clooney to contend with. It's going to be a nightmare."

The Daily Mirror notes that at the hotel where the couple are to celebrate their marriage, the star-studded, £2m bash will include Matt Damon, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Bono, Cindy Crawford and Vogue editor Anna Wintour.

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Image caption George Clooney on his stag night: Handcuffs and an overnight train to Aberdeen are not thought to have featured

The paper says ahead of the lavish party, Mr Clooney and Ms Alamuddin will exchange "simple rings" at a town hall ceremony, as required by Italian law.

The paper has no prior knowledge of the rings, but they are unlikely to match the $450,000 price tag of Ms Alamuddin's engagement ring apparently.

If you want to know about the wedding dress, turn to the Daily Telegraph which says the "smart money" reckons Sarah Burton of London's Alexander McQueen fashion house will have created "something spectacular".

The human rights lawyer arrived in Venice in a couture gown from Dolce & Gabbana, the paper adds, reckoning that Giorgio Armani - supplying the gents' outfits for the wedding - will make an appearance at some point too.

The Guardian joins the paparazzi, who are even more thick on the ground than celebrities, in the Italian city.

One photographer, staking out the wedding party venue for celebrities, with a journalist colleague, tells the paper: "There was one person earlier today, but neither of us knew who he was."

A "glamorous Venetian" native tells the paper, she is "on the hunt".

Her target - "he's not that tall, I think" - was the U2 frontman Bono.

On learning from Facebook that the Irish star was on a tour of the waterways with his wife, the would-be huntress unleashes "a long line of angry orange emoticons". That's amore!

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