Israel’s invasion of Gaza leads the broadsheets
Last night’s entry of Israeli ground forces into Gaza leads most of the Sunday newspapers, although the Mail on Sunday chooses instead to highlight the UK waste paper mountain. The Times, Telegraph, Observer and Independent all feature the stepping up in military operations by Israel, after several days of air strikes.
With Knesset elections still scheduled for 10th February, and Defense Minister Barak and Foreign Minister Livni leading Labor and Kadima into the elections, the domestic political angle is explored too, with the Telegraph examining the Israeli leadership’s “gamble of enormous proportions” over Gaza, as well as a profile of Tzipi Livni who is described as the “rising star of Israeli politics”, although she may well face a squeeze at the election between the (so far) improving Ehud Barak’s Labor and Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud waiting on the right.
Back in the UK, the Times reports that Brown is set to unveil a crisis jobs package, including massive spending on transport infrastructure (with a strong hint that Heathrow runway 3 will go ahead) and green jobs. Meanwhile the Telegraph reports on opposition to the plans for a second bank bailout, while Dominic Grieve has broken cover to attack the increase in the top rate of income tax.
The Observer has an interview with the Prime Minister who is described as being in a “determinedly upbeat mood” ahead of a three-day tour of recession blackspots and a jobs crisis summit with union bosses and business leaders. Away from the economic crisis, the Times reports that the Home Office has quietly adopted a new plan to allow police to hack into personal computers without a warrant.
Among the columnists, Michael Portillo declares that Peter Mandelson has opened a euro trap for Gordon Brown, while Matthew D’Ancona warns that like Winston Churchill in 1945, Brown might win the war, but lose the peace: “his shrewder strategists, especially Peter Mandelson, grasp that the perception of robust competence in a crisis is not enough to secure a fresh electoral mandate for the future”.
Alan Watkins focuses on a subject that is likely to keep commentators and PB’ers alike busy for a while, the timing of the next election, always a hardy perennial in a floating-term polity like the UK. By calling an early election, says Watkins, “Brown can save his party from total ignominy and leave No 10 with his head held high”.
“Mr Brown might, however, try to save his party, not simply from defeat. He might suffer a worse defeat still if he were to go on and on. This theory is gaining acceptance or, at any rate, a certain plausibility in government circles. Far better, these Labour people say, for Mr Brown to take an exalted post in the World Bank or some body of that kind after saving his party by maintaining a respectable, though not a winning, position.”
Later today on PB – the 2008 Forecaster of the Year results