Newspaper headlines: Sun's choice and Brand interview

With a nod to the expected royal baby, the Sun declares which party it will be supporting in the general election.

"It's a Tory!" the paper says, as it depicts David Cameron as a newborn babe in arms.

The Sun gives three main reasons for making its choice: keeping the UK economy on track, stopping the SNP running the country, and the guarantee of a referendum on the EU.

The paper says: "Today, after a gruelling five-year wait and an appalling Labour, the Sun is proud to deliver our choice for the election a week from now.

"It's the Tories. The Tories who rebuilt the economy wrecked by Labour - and transformed lives. The Tories who alone are committed to an EU referendum.

"The Tories who alone can prevent a nightmarish Labour government propped up by the saboteurs of the SNP."

The Scottish edition of the Sun, though, throws its hat into the ring for Nicola Sturgeon and her Scottish National Party.

The paper pictures her as Princess Leia, with the headline "Stur Wars".

It says: "We believe the Nats will fight harder for Scotland's interests at Westminster, offering a new hope for our country. Nicola has been the star of the election campaign north and south of the border."


Floating voters

Elsewhere on the campaign trail, the Guardian leads with a claim by the coalition's Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, that the Conservatives planned to make £8bn worth of welfare cuts, later dropped, while the two parties were in power.

The paper says: "Previous hints of the cuts being considered by the Conservatives have been brushed aside by senior cabinet members, but it will be harder for the Conservative Party to refute the accusations of Alexander, a man who has been at the centre of the government and has been in possession of the relevant documents.

"The decision by Alexander to make the allegations is also a sign of the personal frustration he feels over what he regards as Conservative evasion."

Mr Alexander says his party blocked the move - the Conservatives say they do not recognise the proposals.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Many voters still seem to be undecided with just days to go

The Daily Mail has an interesting poll that suggests 10 million people who plan to vote - that is 40% - are totally undecided or could switch parties.

The paper says the extraordinary number of swing voters suggests the parties have everything to fight for over the next seven days.

Tom Mludzinski of pollsters ComRes tells the Mail: "There is still plenty left to play for. In this election, like no other in recent memory, even small shifts could be significant to the final outcome.

"However, the lack of a clear outcome raises big questions for what happens in the days and weeks after the election."


'Nodding tolerantly'

The sketch writers reflect on Russell Brand's much talked about interview with Labour leader Ed Miliband.

Michael Deacon in the Telegraph says: "Ed Miliband was nodding tolerantly, as though a lunatic had just sat down next to him on the bus and embarked without preamble on a detailed explanation of how the moon landings were faked by Rupert Murdoch.

"A lot of the video was like this. It had been billed as an interview: Russell Brand, comedian turned thinker, interrogating the leader of the Labour Party.

"In the event, however, it was more like a series of mini-lectures, delivered by Brand, with Mr Miliband his polite and largely silent audience."

Ann Treneman in the Times describes what happened in case you missed it: "Like all major events in this election, it takes place in a kitchen. It's Russell's kitchen. It looks shiny and unused.

"The two men sit in front of a sink with a giant industrial-sized hose twirling above and behind them. It is the Loch Ness monster of hoses. It is shaped like a noose and slightly threatening."

"The whole place looks, tragically, like a bachelor pad on a date night. All that's missing is the shaggy rug.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Another election event held in a kitchen

"There are a bunch of flowers. There are candles flickering on the kitchen 'island' behind them. The juicer is very much on show. I can almost hear the Barry White soundtrack."

Commenting in the Telegraph, James Kirkup says there were two million reasons for Mr Miliband to chat to Brand - the comedian's YouTube audience.

"Pay no attention to Mr Brand. He's not what's important here," he writes.

"What matters are the people watching him with Mr Miliband, people who wouldn't normally give a politician 15 seconds of their skittish attention, never mind the 16 minutes of footage Mr Brand uploaded yesterday."

The Guardian's Marina Hyde says fair play to Mr Miliband for having a crack at taking on Brand.

"Arguably the boldest move of this preposterously defensive campaign so far - and that tells its own depressing story - the Brand/Miliband encounter is probably as close as we are going to get to what the Americans call an October surprise.

"A splashy news event in the final stage of an election campaign designed to swing it one way."

Andy McSmith in the Independent says although it was billed "Miliband: The Interview", the exchange between the Labour leader and the comic could as well have been entitled "Russell Brand: The monologue, with occasional observations from Ed Miliband."


Robotic humanoid

"Yangyang sounds like another of China's panda diplomats, a cute animal transferred to a foreign zoo worldwide to project Beijing's image abroad," says the Times.

"But this particular foreign envoy is a very different creature. She greets you with a smile, shakes your hand and accepts a hug, all day and all night. She'll respond to you in several languages, and show happiness, anger and everything in between."

The paper explains that Yangyang is the very latest in robotic humanoids, stealing the limelight this week at a mobile internet exhibition in China's capital.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption A hotel receptionist of the future?

The Times says she wowed the audience with her presentation in Mandarin Chinese, and greeted fans with her mechanically firm handshake.

The Guardian devotes its centre-spread Eyewitness feature to Yangyang showing off a series of human-like facial expressions.

The Mail notes her "uncanny resemblance" to the former Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin. The paper says it is hoped that one day such robots could be used as hotel receptionists, or even to care for the elderly.


Raise a pint

For anyone who has seen their local pub torn down by a developer to make way for a block of luxury flats here is a decision to raise a pint to, says the Independent.

The paper reports that a company which bulldozed a nearly century-old pub in north London without planning permission has been ordered to recreate the building brick by brick.

The Carlton Tavern disappeared almost overnight but Westminster Council is set to order that the pub must be restored to a "facsimile" of its former glory.

The paper says soaring property prices have driven speculators to seek out ways to create new building sites, often by getting rid of small businesses such as pubs, regardless of the impact on the local community.

Council deputy leader Robert Davis tells the Telegraph he had been "absolutely horrified" at the destruction.

"Raise your glass!" urges the Mail, which says sales of British wine are surging as vineyards deliver vintage crops to rival those of France.

One supermarket said it had seen a 177% rise in sales this week compared with the same period last year.

The Mail says that while changing weather patterns may be partly responsible for the increase in grape cultivation and wine production, expertise in the industry is growing.

The English are particularly good at making sparkling wines that have regularly beaten French champagnes in blind taste tests, the paper remarks.


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