Newspaper review: Papers analyse parties' prospects


Remembering the recent fine weather, perhaps, the Guardian talks of the Eastleigh by-election having put a "spring" in the step of the Liberal Democrats.

The paper talks of party members arriving in Brighton "like convicts reprieved from death row".

But a photograph on the front of the Times shows Chris Huhne sheltering behind an umbrella "as the storm clouds close in".

The Independent is one of several expecting him and his ex-wife to be jailed on Monday - what it calls "a chaotic end to a sorry and long drawn out case".

The party's conference should have been "a victory parade", says the Daily Mirror, but "it has been overshadowed" by scandal.

From now until the next election, the paper predicts "an uphill struggle all the way".

Iron lady

The prospects for the Conservatives seem no smoother, if there is anything in the opinion poll reported by the Times.

The paper says the research suggests that just seven per cent of Tory members expect the party to win an outright majority - and three-quarters think Labour will form the next government.

The Sun, and others, looks at David Cameron's latest problem, being, in its words, "caught fiddling the figures on the economy by his own forecaster".

The Independent wonders whether Theresa May does not find herself well positioned as a possible successor - an "iron lady in waiting."

But the Guardian says right-wing Tories believe all such talk is put about by George Osborne as a strategem to undermine ministers who are trying to resist further spending cuts.

Break bread

The Financial Times takes a look at the appeal of Nigel Farage of UKIP.

Its profile defines him as "a jovial insurgent, dispensing bar room wisdom with remorseless good cheer".

But, "behind the jokey facade," it sees a man "with a deadly serious intent - to smash open the British political system and lead the UK out of the European Union".

And while he may use the bar of his local pub "as a testing ground for UKIP policies", it reckons he has an "uncanny ability to articulate Britain's 21st Century concerns".

The Daily Mail argues that Mr Cameron might be better advised to emulate Rupert Murdoch, and break bread with Mr Farage too.

UKIP, it says, are precisely the people Mr Cameron should reach out to.

Writing challenge

Even the best can face problems, as the restaurant judged the finest in the world is finding out.

The Independent reports that more than 60 customers of Noma in Copenhagen came down with a vomiting virus.

The Guardian says its delicacies, such as Nordic ants, live shrimp and carrots in malt soil, have won it a cult following.

But the Financial Times notes that being rated as the best "says relatively little, it seems, about standards of hygiene".

Of all the challenges a writer can take on, penning a novel in the style of PG Wodehouse must rank high on the list.

But that is what Sebastian Faulks is doing - and Matthew Norman in the Daily Telegraph calls it "the single most courageous decision the world of letters has ever known", one that will deserve "the literary Victoria Cross" if he succeeds.

In the Independent, Philip Hensher agrees it is a "daunting" task - but also a joy, as the writer tries to dream up lines that bear comparison with such gems of Wodehouse's as: "Ice formed on the butler's upper slopes."

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