Sunday Splash

The Independent on Sunday probably has the best lead of the day, running a piece about the infinite hypocrisy of Jack Mano Straw. His multiple-visage sanctimony on the Hillsborough question is clinically dissected, confirming what most of us have suspected about Black Jack for years: he is a man bereft of those personality features that separate the rest of us from sociopaths.

Newscorp’s daily Times having laboured all week to tell us that Monaco is full of tax-dodging low-life, The Sunday Times headlines that Vince Cable is going to wage war on ‘shady tax havens’. He’s going to have his work cut out on that one, but I suspect this is what Murdoch wants: Vinny fully distracted elsewhere while he gets on with waiting for the dust to settle on Hackgate.

The Telegraph insists that foreign aid is a farcical gravy train, a sure sign that it didn’t really have a  proper story to go with. It’s actually not a gravy train so much as, quite often, an obscene form of lubricant to oil the wheels of trade. And tons of the money goes full circle back to Switzerland. But let’s not expand on that one, or we’ll be here all day.

A Clegg aide thinks the Coalition’s cuts have been too deep, according to The Observer’s main headline. I’m attracted to the idea of a restorative drink called Cleggade, for when you’ve been particularly unpopular: but this too isn’t really much of a story. At best, Osborne’s cuts were too little far too late, and at worst an irrelevance in the light of (1) our bloated bureaucracy and (2) the pampered elephant in the room called QE.

In fact, the big story hidden later in this lead is that the LibDems are now in fourth place behind Ukip – not something the Observateur wants to broadcast that much. The big difference between the two Parties is that, whereas the LibDems know how to target a constituency and milk the vote (rather like George Galloway) The Farage Barrage are relatively clueless about such matters.

The Mail on Sunday goes with a tax-hike shock horror involving people with £1m homes, aka the entire population of London. ‘Owners of homes worth £1m or more will face a beefed-up squad of computer and legal experts poring over their property, savings and income as part of a new ‘anti-affluence’ crackdown by the Coalition. The move is part of a tax-dodging purge on the rich forced through by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg,’ claims the MoS.

Right then, that’s Vince purging the world’s tax havens, and safe-cracker Nick breaking into the homes of Middle England. I think we get the drift of it now: the LibDems are rotten smelly spoilsports who don’t want anyone to have any fun. Probably true, actually.

The Sunday Cu****t Bun calls its piece on cop-basher Andrew Mitchell ‘Exclusive’, but the piece seems to consist largely of the lame-gag headline ‘On yer bike’, and some pretty obvious speculation about this deeply nasty little man losing his job. The Star on Sunday reveals that Tulisa* smoked drugs at the age of 12, a revelation that will be seen by many contemporary parents as drama lite. She was also booted in the face: but this wasn’t enough for her, and thus the young lady launched into a Self-Harm Hell. This would be news, had not the BBC already revealed her proclivities in a documentary over a month ago.

“Whatever happened to Norman Baker?” I hear you think during those moments when the wallpaper has lost its appeal, to which the answer is the eccentric and at times factually confused LibDem conspiracy theorist became Minister of Transport. I know, I know – who allows this sort of blunder to happen? Search me, but Mr Baker is the subject of the Sunday Express’s front page headline, ‘Road tax to be scrapped’.

The problem with the story is that the once-great Beaverbook’s story below the line says merely that Norm thinks the tax should be scrapped, among many other things. It’s not that the hacks can’t stand the story up, so much as Norman Baker needs to go and lie down somewhere quiet for a while. “You could have a charge per mile for roads like motorways,” he began, “You could then offset that by abolishing road tax and by reducing fuel duty so that they would even out. That seems to me to be entirely equitable and sensible environmentally. People shouldn’t take fright. This isn’t about charging motorists a whole lot more money.”

Seems to me it isn’t about anything, really. Most Sunday newspapers follow that rule these days, so it’s good to see the Express catching up at last.

* Tulisa Contostavlos is in a band called N-Dubz, which I’d be willing to bet is something you didn’t know. I certainly didn’t.