Newspaper headlines: 'Edging toward the EU exit?'

The EU budget row that left David Cameron red-faced with anger, according to the Guardian, is Saturday's lead story for most papers.

The paper says the PM had been "left in the dark for two days" by George Osborne over the community's demand that the UK pay an extra £1.7bn into the European budget.

Jonathan Freedland, writing in the paper, said the PM was not merely red but "puce".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption David Cameron expressing his anger at a press conference about the EU budgetary recalculation

"He couldn't afford to be out-angered by Nigel Farage," he says.

The Guardian's opinion column says either Mr Cameron sought this row - as a "synthetic and cynical" attempt to appear a "strong anti-European" - or he was "asleep on the job" when the figures came in.

The Daily Mirror's James Lyons is in no doubt that the prime minister should be blaming himself.

"He and his team have once again taken their eye off the Brussels ball and ended up being surprised by a budget recalculation that has been going on for months," he says.

The "costly blunder" is also "a timely gift to UKIP that takes us another lurch towards the EU exit - something that would cost us all dear," he adds.

That prospect does not faze the Daily Express, which has long expressed reservations about the EU.

Its leader column opines: "When the EU acts so unreasonably in demanding this money it does not bode well for Mr Cameron's proposed renegotiation of our relationship with Brussels.

"The only way to end our subservience to Brussels' rulings is to leave the EU once and for all."

The Times, which notes that Britain could face fines of £42.5m a month if it does not make the EU's December 1 deadline for paying the £1.7bn, says Mr Cameron "Has little choice but to fight this demand and delay it for as long as possible.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Nine of the EU's 28 members face additional bills under the new budgetary arrangements

"If the commission tries to impose fines, he would be wise to refuse to pay until a deal has been worked out.

"There are votes in standing up to Brussels, as Margaret Thatcher discovered in her bloody-minded battle to secure a budget rebate in 1984."

The Financial Times is less sure, saying the PM's stance is an "overreaction" to a "modest EU matter".

"The £1.7bn figure is a one-off payment which accounts for less than 0.1% of UK gross national income," it explains.

"Since it is a top-up to UK contributions covering 11 years, Britain is being asked to pay an extra £150m a year over the period. A sum like this would barely deserve a footnote in the UK's annual accounts."

By picking a row on the matter, the paper's opinion column says, "Mr Cameron looks like someone who will do anything to save his premiership and his party, whatever the cost to his country."


Wilderness

It is not Mr Cameron, but his opposite number Ed Miliband who is the subject of the Daily Telegraph's lead story.

Image copyright EPA

The paper reports that Tony Blair has told "political allies" that Mr Miliband will fail to win the next general election because he "has failed to connect with voters".

The former premier is said to have made the remarks in a private talk. The Telegraph says one person present has given it an account of what Mr Blair said.

"Many of Mr Blair's allies fear Mr Miliband is not doing enough to appeal to voters in the centre," the paper continues.

The Telegraph's leader column says "the New Labour leader probably has a long memory of how the party's left-wing tendency left it wandering in the political wilderness for 18 years".

It should be pointed out that Mr Blair has dismissed the Telegraph story.

A spokeswoman has said: "This is not his view. He wants and hopes to see a Labour victory [at the next election] and believes Labour can indeed win under Ed's leadership."

However the Telegraph reckons "a browse through his past remarks suggests this is far from a vote of confidence".


Flunkey

It was one small tweet for an 88-year-old computer user, but it was a giant social media leap for the British monarchy.

The story, of course, is the Queen's inaugural message on Twitter.

The Times says the regal tweet - "It is a pleasure to open the Information Age exhibition today at the @sciencemuseum and I hope people will enjoy visiting. Elizabeth R" - was not "a classic of the genre".

Polite applause greeted the monarch pressing the tab on a Science Museum iPad, the paper reports.

Image copyright British Monarchy
Image caption The Queen - dressed in "Twitter blue" - about to send her first tweet. Or possibly not.

But doubts as to whether the tweeting was actually the Queen's work as the message appeared to say it had been sent from an iPhone, not via an iPad.

Despite the, erm, twitter of speculation around cyberspace that a "junior flunkey" (as the Times puts it) had sent the tweet, the paper notes the message had been retweeted 20,000 times in an hour and favourited by a similar number.

"If, however, it really was not her, then at least the Queen will have earned the approval of Prince Harry, who told children in July that he 'hates' Twitter because he regards the messages and pictures of him posted there as an invasion of his privacy," the Times adds.

Someone who is less keen on the Queen than Twitter has become the "first troll" according to the Daily Mail.

Noting that four minutes after the "royal tweet" it was replied to by one user saying, "Welcome to Twitter! Abdicate."

"Soon other Twitter users had joined in sending abusive messages, some of which are too unpleasant to publish here," the Mail continues.

The paper quotes Andrew Rosindell, Tory MP for Romford, who said the republican tweets were "an insult: We have a monarchy that's living in the modern world and for anyone to respond in that way is scandalous".

The Sun - which headlines its report Coronation Tweet - may have its editorial tongue in its cheek when it suggests the "mindless idiots" who "trolled" the Queen should be sent to the Tower.

"They're obviously guilty of tweeson."


'Ecstatic hypomania'

Comedian and TV presenter Russell Brand's appearance on the BBC's Newsnight has gathered such newspaper rage that he might be left feeling like Her Majesty should she ever attend a gathering of anti-monarchist Twitter trolls.

The Daily Mail claims Brand "sparked fury" by using his appearance on the programme to suggest the 9/11 attacks could have been planned by the US government.

"The controversial comedian was given a 17-minute slot on the flagship current affairs programme to promote his new book and his absurd conspiracy theories," the paper thunders.

Image caption Russell Brand: "A man tangled up in his own manifesto" according to the Guardian

Stephen Glover, in an accompanying article, declares the Essex-born star "a ludicrous charlatan - whose new book preaching revolution is one of the silliest ever written".

Glover says the comedian is "lionised" in the Guardian, but this alleged instruction does not seem to have reached columnist Hadley Freeman.

Writing in the Guardian, she says Brand "displayed the kind of ecstatic hypomania you'd expect of a celebrity who long ago exceeded the outer limits of his knowledge on this particular subject and is now coasting on the adrenaline of his own messiah complex".

Nor does the 39-year-old get an easier ride in the tabloids, the Daily Star notes a series of Twitter users who brand Brand (among other things) "a ranting idiot" and proof "drugs really do mess your head up".

Writing in the Independent, psychologist and body language expert Dr David Cohen dissects the interview.

"The confident can become overconfident and Russell, reclining in his chair, knees spread apart, was a bit too 'Lord of the Universe'.

"Bravado Brand will go down though as a memorable interview where the interviewee was in complete control," he says.


Berlin

The times they are a-changing - at least they are this weekend, when the clocks go back and BST goes into hibernation.

This slight manipulation of the fourth dimension is the subject of some newspaper analysis.

The Daily Telegraph carries a front page story claiming that the change to GMT costs a typical household £24.

Analysis by B&Q suggests the darker evenings makes the nation spend £630m more on electricity.

The retailer recommends households switch to LED light bulbs to save money.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Scottish farmers have traditionally been the most ardent opponents of changing the UK's existing time zone arrangements

The clocks change is still the source of fierce political debate, and the Times says that William Hague is preparing plans that could see Scotland having a different time zone to the rest of the UK.

Scots have traditionally been the source of the strongest opposition to the UK joining central European time, whereas MPs and academics south of the border have argued that such a move will prevent accidents, the paper notes.

Mr Hague, who is chairing the committee on the devolution of more powers to the Scottish government, is being lobbied by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and the AA, the paper says.

In its leader column, the Times calls for the change to central European time to be made (at least in England and Wales), saying "inertia" has prevented it happening before.

"Opponents call the reform 'Berlin time'.

"Yet the lighter evenings policy was used in the Second World War because it boosted manufacturing. And the outcome of the war worked out pretty well in the end," the paper notes.

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