Newspaper headlines: Jeremy Clarkson hint and Ed Miliband's kitchens

Readers tiring of the fallout from Jeremy Clarkson's alleged "fracas" with a Top Gear producer would do well to avoid Saturday's red-tops.

It's once again the lead story for the Sun and Daily Mirror, with the former reading between the lines of its weekly column from the presenter to find a "hint" that he might quit the role he's held with the BBC for 27 years.

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Clarkson does not refer directly to his predicament in the main section of his page which, this week, appears with the label: "NOT suspended by the Sun." But the paper says he "compares himself to a dinosaur" in saying: "These big imposing creatures have no place in a world that has moved on." Meanwhile, a reference to a "risk averse world of health and safety" is interpreted by the paper as a "thinly-veiled attack on BBC chiefs".

Others continue to report accounts of the incident, said to have arisen when the presenter was offered a cold platter instead of the hotel steak he'd expected. The Daily Mirror suggests producer Oisin Tymon, who was allegedly punched by Clarkson, went to hospital for treatment. Mr Tymon has since been targeted by "angry Top Gear fans who blame him for its possible cancellation", according to the Daily Mail, while the Daily Star reports that Clarkson has thanked those who've signed a petition - numbering almost one million names - urging the BBC to keep him on air.

One winner in the whole affair is Clarkson's French equivalent, reports the Times. It says the French version of the show launches next week and - as a result of the controversy surrounding the original - Philippe Lellouche "is receiving the sort of media interest of which he could only dream".

As for Clarkson, he perhaps speaks for more than a few readers when suggesting in the Sun: "I'm sure you're as fed up with the story as I am." However, he does take time to correct one "wildly inaccurate" report. "The Times newspaper said I had been seen using a bus. I can assure you that things are bad. But they are not that bloody bad," he writes.


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'Bravery and determination'

Newspapers capture the solemn atmosphere in St Paul's Cathedral, where hundreds of veterans of the war in Afghanistan joined relatives of the 453 British servicemen and women who died during the 13-year conflict for a service of commemoration.

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The Daily Telegraph focuses on Kerry Ashworth - wearing the Victoria Cross posthumously awarded to her Grenadier Guardsman son, James - saying her "voice never faltered" as she offered a prayer "to peacemakers and peacekeepers" to keep the world "secure and free".

"At the end of a long war, it was a noble hope," says the paper, which notes: "As the organ played Messe de Requiem, some among the quietly reflective 2,000-strong congregation began to cry. Some gave each other tissues; others clutched on to their orders of service. For them, yesterday was a day to recall the pride of kinship, and its pain."

The Mirror quotes the partner of one fallen soldier speaking of how she felt comforted while listening to the choir. "It allowed me to think... what I usually block out. I could think of him. It wasn't in vain, him giving his life. I just hope it has done some good for the future." However, it also hears from Royal Marine Ben McBean, who argues that while "kids are going to school now", Afghanistan "has not changed enough".

Other papers focus on the involvement of the Royal Family, with the Sun describing how Prince Harry - who served two tours in Afghanistan - "led the nation's salute". At a Guildhall reception after the service, it says, Cheryl Routledge thanked Harry for a "beautiful" letter he wrote after her son, Cpl Liam Riley, was killed by a Taliban bomb. "His letter brought me enormous comfort at the time," she said.

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Noting that the service came hours after England had beaten Afghanistan at cricket's World Cup, the Times describes how the sport can be "a unifying force", offering a "symbol of hope". It argues: "The match... will not be especially important in the history of cricket. It is, though, a landmark in the history of Afghanistan."

In its editorial, the Guardian notes the "measured" tone of Archbishop Justin Welby's sermon, honouring "faithfulness and courage" with "scarcely a note of triumphalism" and says it reflects "a general national inclination to move on". However, pointing its pre-war concerns that the conflict risked "handing the terrorists the 'holy war' they had tried so hard to provoke", the paper says: "The scars it leaves and the lessons it teaches must not be forgotten."

Meanwhile, the Mirror's editorial questions whether the war was "worth the human cost". It adds: "On that, even those who served in Afghanistan are divided."

"Historians and politicians will still be debating the merits of the Afghan project years from now," writes Robert Hardman in the Daily Mail. But, having noted that "several children were wearing the medals of fathers who never returned", he adds: "The bravery and determination of those called upon to serve there has never been in question."


Kitchen-sink drama

After a week that has seen an unlikely level of scrutiny of Ed Miliband's kitchen facilities, the Daily Mail sums up the Labour leader's position with the headline: "I've got two, but only use the small one." The Conservative-supporting Sun isn't impressed. "Cameron doesn't pretend he's anything but a posh Old Etonian," it argues. "Miliband, by contrast, stokes up hatred against rich Tories while trying to play down his own millions and the mansion we now know is vast enough to accommodate a spare kitchen."

It gives the cartoonists inspiration, with the Telegraph's Bob imagining Mr Miliband talking about ordinary people's "excessive energy bills" while surrounded by two fridge-freezers, two toasters, a pair of cookers, two microwaves etc.

Peter Brookes, of the Times, recalls a previous publicity misadventure by picturing the Labour leader surrounded by a mess of ketchup, saying: "SLURRRP!... and THIS is the kitchen where I make my bacon sandwiches." However, in a cartoon entitled How to Neutralise the Media, the Guardian's Martin Rowson has Mr Miliband cowering, while being read a list of commandments such as: "Don't have ANY kitchens, don't eat ANY food... don't speak out... do have a fracas."

The Independent leaves tongue firmly in cheek when describing the "new home front" in the election battle. "Is it possible to be neutral on such a charged issue as this?" it wonders. "We all know where this is heading, of course: demands to see the Camerons' various kitchens in Downing Street and their constituency; then the same for the Cleggs; for Nicola Sturgeon, and all the other party leaders. Who has the best taste in tea towels?"

"There's no winning in the kitchen comparison game," argues the Daily Telegraph. "The greatest mystery is why spin-doctors persevere in presenting politicians in kitchen settings to make them seem more normal."

"Out with the policies, in with pedal bins," suggests Marina Hyde in the Guardian. Complaining of the "absurd" focus on lifestyle, she points out that even before the 2010 election: "We literally saw more of David Cameron's north Kensington kitchen than of his policy to entirely reorganise the NHS. The latter was never even mentioned in the Tory manifesto."

Political commentator Carol Sarler notes in the Daily Express that for both leaders "wives, children, dogs, you name it, [are] all wheeled out in the hungry search for votes". She says: "It's matter of taste, I suppose. Or lack of it... It is a peculiar irony that we've spent so long trying to get women - and their images - out of the kitchen, only to turn around and plonk men, and their images, in them instead."


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