The papers: The advance of IS - and UKIP

Once again, the war in Iraq and Syria against Islamic State (IS) extremists is the top story in our newspapers.

The Independent says IS advances in the besieged town of Kobane in Syria, and against the Iraqis west of Baghdad, means the US-led plan to destroy the group is "in ruins".

Image copyright AP
Image caption Haider al-Abadi

Patrick Cockburn's analysis in the paper says that the only victories against IS have been won north of Baghdad by "highly sectarian Shia militia who "speak openly of getting rid of Sunni in mixed provinces.

"The result is that Sunni in Iraq have no alternative but to stick with IS or flee, if they want to survive."

The Sunday Times says Iraqi officials have "issued a desperate plea" for American ground troops as IS moved "within striking distance" of their capital.

However the paper notes the plea is not echoed by the country's new prime minister Haider al-Abadi, who "has repeatedly refused to countenance the return of foreign troops".

The People has a harrowing account of life in Kobane from one of its Kurdish residents who has recently fled the frontline for Turkey.

Ekram Ahmet, said his knowledge of Arabic had allowed him to pass IS roadblocks. Had he been exposed as a Kurd he could have faced beheading.

"They are filthy, with straggly beards and long black nails.

"They have lots of pills with them that they all keep taking. It seems to make them more crazy if anything."

The Sunday Mirror quotes Labour MP Khalid Mahmoud who says official estimates that 500 Britons are fighting with IS are "a huge understatement" and the true figure is nearer 2,000.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The battle for Kobane

In its editorial, the Mirror links the number to the halving of expenditure on the government's Prevent, anti-radicalisation programme.

The Daily Star Sunday says efforts to rescue western hostages held by the extremists were dealt a blow when Allied jets bombed an IS communication centre.

"Spooks had been monitoring mobile phones used by the senior members of the terror group.

"The British spy agency GCHQ had also intercepted emails and texts sent between terrorist leaders and was hoping to pinpoint the location of the hostages."


Wide open space

The Sunday Telegraph's cartoonist Matt - who pictures an flatbed truck carrying beer-drinking UKIP members to Rochester and Strood jihadi style - is not the only commentator who draws parallels between the party's groundswell success, and the IS insurgency.

The Sunday Times' leader column says a "UKIP earthquake has shaken the political landscape".

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mark Reckless hopes he can emulate UKIP's Clacton triumph in his Rochester and Strood constituency

The paper interviews new UKIP MP Douglas Carswell who, as well as revealing he has been in contact with a potential Labour MP defector, says "UKIP, far from being an angry reaction against modernity, is an expression of modernity."

The paper's lead highlights research undertaken on behalf of Tory grandee Lord Ashcroft which suggests UKIP could take all 25 of its top target seats if it continues to gain momentum by winning the by-election in Kent.

A Mail on Sunday features its own poll which suggests an "astounding" 25% support for UKIP, which the paper says would see them win 128 seats in the next general election.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage writes his analysis of his party's rise in the paper.

"There is a great whoosh of energy around UKIP these days," he writes, "The metropolitan media, which has hitherto been desperately slow on the uptake, turned out in enormous numbers in Clacton on Friday morning.

"They had just discovered what millions of voters have known for ages: the People's Army is on the march."

The Observer's opinion column says "the big two" parties have helped propagate UKIP's growth.

"The failure of either party to produce a convincing positive vision for Britain has left space wide open for challengers championing a populist, anti-politics-as-usual narrative.

"Growing support for UKIP is... reflective of the fact that neither of the main parties has succeeded in building a convincing and positive vision for Britain in the wake of the financial crisis.

"Chasing UKIP's tail on immigration and Europe is an implicit admission that they have given up on this most important of tasks."

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Farage's tweedy style apes the aristocracy, the Independent reckons

The Independent on Sunday has the most unusual UKIP analysis.

Its fashion editor Alexander Fury dissects MR Farage's personal style.

His verdict: "Farage doesn't want to be mistaken for the gentry. But his clothes are consciously aping those of the upper classes.

"And the allusion Farage is desperate to imbue his attire with, and therefore his person and his party, is the respectability that is somehow still seated deep in those upper-class pretensions.

"In clothes like this, so expressive as they are of long-held values and ethics, Farage can't be getting up to anything untoward, right?"


Eagles

The Sunday Telegraph leads with a call from former environment secretary Owen Paterson to "tear up" the Climate Change Act which he supported when he was in government.

The paper explains the former minister, returned to the backbenches in this summer's reshuffle, "has considered the effect of the legislation and has decided that Britain has to change course."

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Wind turbines have been accused of killing wildlife

Mr Paterson is particularly worried that the target of cutting carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 will require the building of "4,500 wind turbines every year for 36 years".

His solution for meeting future energy needs is a mix of fracked shale gas, small-scale "local" nuclear reactors and getting used to "temporary power cuts - cutting the electricity to appliances such as fridges for two hours at a time, for example - to conserve energy".

"We must be prepared to stand up to the bullies in the environmental movement and their subsidy hungry allies," he tells the paper.

The government's Energy and Climate Change Minister Ed Davey said Mr Paterson's proposals were "economically stupid".

"The overwhelming majority of scientists agree that climate change exists while most leading British businesses and City investment funds agree... that taking out an 'insurance policy' now will protect the UK against astronomical future costs caused by a changing climate," he argues.

In the Mail on Sunday, Mr Paterson says the policies of building on-shore wind turbines has "devastated landscapes, blighted views, killed eagles and carpeted the very wilderness that [greens] claim to love".

He also says that by adopting his idea the Conservatives could steal a march on UKIP.

"UKIP's opposition to green energy targets and wind is tapping a tremendous tide of anger felt across the country," he tells the paper.

Mr Paterson's views on a campaign reported in the Independent on Sunday are not sought.

The paper says campaigners are hoping to have "ecocide", the worst type of environmental destruction, ranked alongside genocide and war.

They want perpetrators of major oil spills, for example, to face action at the International Criminal Court.

The issue will be presented to MEPs shortly in the hope that the European Commission will issue a directive.


Anger in Coventry

On a Sunday notable for a dearth of "lighter" stories in the press, two items of historical interest catch the eye.

The Independent on Sunday runs a large article about attempts to find the grave of King Harold II, known to most as the chap who caught an arrow in his eye at the Battle of Hastings.

But as ever, what we think we know could be wrong, as the team set to scan an Essex churchyard for the king's remains believe the Saxon overlord survived the battle.

Image caption The Essex investigation could be one in the eye for conventional history books

Amateur historian Peter Burke is the man funding the project - which will use similar scanning techniques as those used to find the bones of King Richard III in a Leicester car-park.

Mr Burke says the arrow-in-the-eye is the "Norman version" of Harold's demise, but an alternative 12th Century account sees king live on for 40 years after the conflict, living as a hermit in seclusion.

"You put things together and it begins to build a picture that is quite solid. If everything backs you up in history, you should look at it. You shouldn't just leave it," he says.

Scanning will start at Waltham Abbey, the reputed last resting place of Harold, soon, although permission from the government would be needed before consecrated soil was dug up.

A more tangled tale involving a prominent Saxon features in the Mail on Sunday.

It says a Belgian chocolate maker, who have a range of Godiva sweets named after the semi-mythical noblewoman whose naked tax protest in 11th Century Mercia is still the talk of Coventry, have registered the name as a intellectual property.

The group has been sending out warning letters to other users of the Godiva name, including the landlord of a British pub in Geneva.

Glen Simons tells the Mail, "My pub has nothing to do with chocolates so I don't see how anyone could be confused."

The Belgian firm, owned by a Turkish conglomerate, says, "in addition to our chocolates and the shops that sell them, we also have a growing line of Godiva cafes.

"Clearly, it is important for us to ensure that consumers are not confused by a place serving food and drink using the Godiva name and imagery when that place has nothing to do with us."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Belgian chocolatiers named their brand after the heroine after being impressed on a visit to Coventry

However, Colin Walker, vice-chairman of the Coventry Society, retorts, "This is an absolute travesty. No one should be allowed to hijack the identity of historical figures for their own commercial interests.

"If the Belgians try to enforce this in Coventry, there will be angry protests. We are very proud of Lady Godiva, and she is known and loved around the world."

And Pru Porretta, who has portrayed Lady Godiva in the city's annual processions commemorating its famous daughter, adds, "It doesn't leave a sweet taste in the mouth, does it?"

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