The Distiller

Today’s headlines, summarised and analysed.

Monday 16th October, 2017

Good morning

Brief overview: Theresa May flies to Brussels today in a bid to breathe some life back into Brexit negotiations. A lorry bomb in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu has left hundreds dead and even more injured. More women have come forward to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault and harassment.

Outside of the headlines: Hurricane Ophelia heads towards the UK, with an Amber weather warning being issued in Ireland. Sebastian Kurz is due to become the Austrian chancellor and the world’s youngest national leader after Sunday’s election aged 31.

Statistic of the day: 62% of Brits believe religion does more harm than good.

via Statista

Cartoon of the day:

via Morton Morland

The Daily Mail

Owned by: Daily Mail and General Trust, owned by Jonathan Harmsworth, 4th Viscount Rothermere

Editor: Paul Dacre

Political leaning: Right / far right

Daily circulation: circa 1,490,000 (10 million views per month from personal computer and 20 million from mobiles)

Brexit stance: Pro-Brexit

Today’s leading headline: The cold calling convicts

Today’s Mail reveals in an exclusive scoop that some inmates are being paid to cold call landlines. The paper reports that some prisoners are being paid up to £3.50 a day to scam homeowners by asking various questions about their properties, before selling the information on.

Afterthought: A large portion of this article rests on a singular source: a conman who served seven years for running a £5.7 million telemarketing scheme.

Cold calling is a significant problem, especially for the elderly: there were 250 million scam calls in 2015 leading to pensions fraud of almost £19m. It’s also on the rise, although the government is in the process of drafting in legislation to increase the punishment for those who attempt to scam the elderly out of their pensions.

The Daily Telegraph

Owned by: Telegraph Media Group, owned by Sir David Barclay and Sir Frederick Barclay

Editor: Chris Evans

Political leaning: Right

Daily circulation: circa. 460,000

Brexit stance: Pro-Brexit

Today’s leading headline: Hammond’s ‘tax on age’ Budget

The Telegraph today offers a breakdown of Philip Hammond’s proposed Budget, which it dubs a ‘tax on age’. The paper reports that the Budget is the Chancellor’s attempt to ‘save his job gambling on reforms aimed at ‘intergenerational fairness’’. It goes on to summarise briefly what this means: ‘a Budget raid on older workers to find tax breaks for younger people’.

The tax cuts, aimed at people in their twenties and thirties, would be paid for by cutting tax relief for ‘older and wealthier workers’.

Afterthought: The Telegraph’s stance on this issue is apparent as it continues to commit to its character assassination of Hammond.

House ownership, the millennial dream: source

It’s not all doom and gloom, but perhaps a tax break on those earning their first proper wages is not such a terrible idea, given the tax breaks that are handed out elsewhere in the country and the numerous and well documented problems facing millennials coming into the work force and trying to buy their first property.

Maybe a slight tax increase on companies paying criminally little tax in the UK could be the way forward?

The Times

Owned by: News UK, Rupert Murdoch’s company.

Editor: John Witherow

Political leaning: Centre right

Daily circulation: circa. 446,000

Brexit stance: Neutral / slightly pro-Brexit

Today’s leading headline: May dash to break Brexit deadlock

The Times today leads with the news that Theresa May has been forced to take charge of the faltering Brexit negotiations as the country edges towards a ‘no deal’ split from the EU. May and Davis will fly to Brussels today to meet Jean-Claude Juncker and Michel Barnier.

The article lays out May’s problems; externally, negotiations have ground to a halt as Britain refuses to pay the divorce bill demanded by various EU officials led by France and Germany. Internally, May faces a Cabinet of warring contradictions, with pro and anti-Brexit factions continually battling for superiority.

Afterthought: The time frame of the ‘no deal’ outcome has been fascinating to watch. Floated early last week by various papers as a potential worst case scenario, it continued to grow in legitimacy to the point that Andrew Marr discussed it as an inevitability on his show yesterday morning.

Steve Baker. Source

To this end, take note this man. Steve Baker has been announced quietly by the Government as the minister in charge of ‘contingency planning’. Promoted to a minister at the Department for Exiting the European Union back in July, his responsibilities include:

We will no doubt be seeing a lot of his work over the coming weeks.

The Guardian

Owned by: Scott Trust Limited, run by a board with a policy of non-interference.

Editor: Katharine Viner

Political leaning: Left

Daily circulation: circa. 161,000

Brexit stance: Anti-Brexit

Today’s leading headline: Somalia reeling as terror attack leaves 500 casualties

The Guardian today reports on the deadliest terror attack to take place in Somalia since the outbreak of the troubles in 1991. A truck rammed full of explosives crashed into a fuel tanker, creating a fireball that killed at least 239 people and injured hundreds more. Multiple countries came forward to condemn the attack, thought to have been carried out by Al-Shabaab.

Afterthought: The death toll continues to rise from one of deadliest bombing in recent memory, and the deadliest in Somalia’s history. The attack took place in the capital Mogadishu at Zoobe junction, a bustling area of the city with many shops, hotels and offices.

The i

Owned by: Johnston Press, whose CEO is Ashley Highfield

Editor: Oliver Duff

Political leaning: Centre

Daily circulation: circa. 264,000

Brexit stance: Neutral

Today’s leading headline: Victory on dangerous driving

Following media pressure and activists campaigns, a life sentence is set to be imposed for those who kill someone as a result of dangerous driving, reports the i. The paper quotes a mother whose son was killed by a dangerous driver; “finally, this is justice.”

Afterthought: Sentencing for dangerous driving had previously been limited to 14 years. Should a driver hit and kill a person whilst on their phone or speeding they will now face a life sentence.

The Daily Mirror

Owner: Trinity Mirror. Its chairman is David Grigson, formerly the chief financial officer at Reuters

Editor: Lloyd Embley

Political leaning: Left

Daily circulation: circa. 716,900

Brexit stance: Anti-Brexit

Today’s leading headline: Brit star: I’ll face sex beast in court

Hollyoaks actress Lysette Anthony has pledged that she will see disgraced mogul Harvey Weinstein in court, after accusing him of raping her. The police are continuing to investigate three further claims of sexual harassment and rape against the Hollywood director.

Afterthought: Expect to see more Weinstein coverage as women continue to come forward.

via Ben Jennings

Woody Allen’s quoted response to the allegations went viral yesterday, picking up traction across Twitter and Facebook. The controversial Hollywood director said he was ‘sad’ for Harvey Weinstein. Full quote via the BBC:

“The whole Harvey Weinstein thing is very sad for everybody involved,” he added. “Tragic for the poor women that were involved, sad for Harvey that [his] life is so messed up.
“There’s no winners in that, it’s just very, very sad and tragic for those poor women that had to go through that.”

Separately, British comedian and darling of the American talk show scene James Corden came under heavy criticism for making light of the situation. Hosting a charity gala, the comedian opened up by describing the beautiful LA night as being

“so beautiful, Harvey Weinstein has already asked tonight up to his hotel to give him a massage”

He later apologised for his jokes. He is a (sub-par) comedian. His career is about making jokes. Even the Guardian seemed exasperated:

The condemnation of Corden for making jokes followed the condemnation of Saturday Night Live over a week ago for not making jokes and for ignoring the story altogether.

Financial Times

Owner: The Nikkei, which is based in Tokyo.

Editor: Lionel Barber

Political leaning: Centre

Daily circulation: circa. 193,211

Brexit stance: Neutral/slight anti-Brexit

Today’s leading headline: May pressed Merkel to end Brexit impasse as EU position hardens

Insider sources told the Financial Times that May has asked Angela Merkel to help her ease the Brexit standoff. May called the German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday to urge an end to the deadlock in Brexit negotiations ahead of the European Council summit later this week.

It came amid another breakdown in negotiations and the approaching scenario of a ‘no-deal’ exit being reached. Both France and Germany have continued to press for the UK to pay a divorce bill before further negotiations can take place.

The Prime Minister’s team fear that businesses will lose faith in the UK’s ability to barter an economically strong exit, and will begin exporting their employees elsewhere in the EU.

Afterthought: Separately it emerged today that the UK is £490bn poorer than previously thought according to revised ONS figures. This is a significant difference — the net deficit now stands at £22bn rather than £469bn.

The Sun

Owner: News UK, owned by Rupert Murdoch

Editor: Tony Gallagher

Political leaning: Right / far right

Daily circulation: circa. 1,611,464

Brexit stance: Pro-Brexit

Today’s leading headline: Crime waive

A proposed £400m cost-cutting drive across the police force could lead to crimes including burglaries, thefts and minor assaults being ignored, according to the Sun. The paper reports that the cuts will mean ‘hundreds of thousands of crimes will now be carried out without repercussions across the nation.

Afterthought: In news that will shock absolutely no-one, cuts in police funding directly correlates with the ability that police can successfully do their job.

Top trending stories from across the web

Al Jeezera

Owned by: Government of Qatar.

Political leaning: Often accused of having the state interests overshadow their independent integrity.

Top article: Iraqi forces launch ‘major’ Kirkuk operation (link)


Owned by: The British public.

Political leaning: Strict regulation to make it impartial. Centre.

Views: 70 million unique views per week.

Top article: Hurricane Ophelia: Warnings as storm heads to UK (link)

Guido Fawkes

Owned by: Paul Staines, a libertarian political blogger, also writes for the Sun on Sunday.

Political leaning: Right/far right. Read by anyone and everyone in Westminster.

Views: 100–250 thousand views per day.


The Canary

Owned by: Six editors and around 25 writers. Editor-in-chief is Kerry-anne Mendoza, prior ties to the Guardian.

Political leaning: Left/far left. Very pro Corbyn. Clickbait — pays its writers on a click per pay basis, encouraging them to produce work that will go viral.

Top article: Police have been accused of ‘barbaric’ behaviour as people’s only homes are destroyed [TWEETS] (link)

Final Thought

News shouldn’t tell you how to feel. The news should present facts, and allow you to formulate your own opinion. Regardless of your political affiliation, try and read beyond the headlines that most of these papers push on you, from the left and the right.