The Distiller — today’s UK headlines, summarised and analysed.

Tuesday 5th September, 2017

Good morning

Brief overview: We have a third royal baby on the way. Theresa May is set to lift the public sector pay cap. Somehow life has continued after Big Ben has fallen silent.

Outside of the headlines: After a month long vacation, congress returns today in the USA. In the UK, MP’s likewise return to Westminster after enjoying their summer holidays. Colombia’s last remaining rebel group, the ELN, agreed to a bilateral ceasefire with the government.

Article of the day: What it’s like to return to Runescape after a decade apart . (link)

An exploration into the nostalgia surrounding perhaps the greatest online MMORPG ever created.

Comic of the day: via The Times

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Top trending stories online

Al Jeezera

Owned by: Government of Qatar

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

Top article: Myanmar faces international condemnation over Rohingya (link)

As the persecution of the Rohingya’s continues and the international community watches on, Aung San Suu Kyi has so far remained silent on the issue. A good article to get a beginners idea of what is going on.


Owned by: The British public

Political leaning: Depends on the day, usually accused of being left

Top article: Forest Gate shooting: Boys, 14 and 17, seriously injured (link)

Gun crime is relatively uncommon in the UK, so this story is garnering a fair bit of attention.

Guido Fawkes

Owned by: Paul Staines, a libertarian political blogger.

Political leaning: Right/far right

Views per day: 100–250k

Top article: Corbyn: I’m Becoming a Vegan (link)

The top trending article on Guido today regards Jeremy Corbyn’s choice to start being a vegan. Riveting stuff

The Canary

Owned by: 5 owners with a team of thirty editors

Political leaning: Left/far left. Very pro Corbyn.

Top article: Scottish police accused of acting on behalf of a ‘racist’ foreign government (link)

August 30th saw a spate of raids in the capital city of Scotland, Edinburgh. However, none of these raids led to arrests, and The Canary now accuses the Scottish police of acting on behalf of the Turkish government.

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

Today’s leading headline: We just can’t wait to meet baby number three!

Today’s Mail chooses to divert its attention from the apparent looming nuclear war, instead focussing on the news that the royal couple are expecting a third child. The paper offers a free pull-out picture to commemorate the occasion.

Afterthought: Another royal baby is on the way. Regardless of your feelings towards the royals, the news of a new child is always fantastic. Best of luck to the couple.

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

Today’s leading headline: Oxford head in attack on ‘pay lies’ of ministers

A pay row leads todays Telegraph’s coverage. Oxford University have come under fire for the amount they pay some of their professors. The university has retaliated and accused ministers of deliberately engaging in ‘mendacious’ behaviour.

Afterthought: Listening to any MP talk about other people being overpaid is a level of irony I am not prepared to engage in at 10 o clock on a Tuesday morning.

The Times

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

Editor: John Witherow

Political leaning: Right

Daily circulation: circa. 446,000

Today’s leading headline: University secrets are stolen by cybergangs

Today’s Times today covers the news that various leading British universities are being targeted by cybergangs keen on stealing information. This apparently includes information on weaponry, fuel and medical records. Oxford, Warwick and the University College London have been targeted among others.

Afterthought: Feel free to hack into my university records and remove my student debt. Pretty please.

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

Today’s leading headline: North Korea is begging for war, warns US

Today’s Guardian continues to cover the escalating North Korea crisis. As countries across the globe react to the mounting nuclear crisis, the USA has taken an aggressive-defensive stance, warning that the increasingly hostile rhetoric could have severe implications.

Afterthought: In a series of tweets yesterday, Elon Musk of Tesla fame shrugged off the chances of a nuclear attack from Korea, claiming that to do so would lead to the instant death of the current regime as the worlds big countries retaliated. Others have suggested that this recent outburst from Kim Jong-un could be North Korea testing the USA’s reaction.

The i

Owned by: Johnston Press, whose CEO is Ashley Highfield, significant ties to the BBC

Editor: Oliver Duff

Political leaning: Centre

Daily circulation: circa. 264,000

Today’s leading headline: 1% public sector pay cap to end.

Today’s i covers May’s most recent attempt to win back some positive coverage; removing the 1% public sector pay cap. For the last seven years, the cap has frozen the earnings of many in the public sector, leading to a ‘struggle to retain and recruit nurses, teachers, doctors, police and armed forces’. May has now apparently realised the importance of the previously listed professions, and has sought to reward them as such.

Afterthought: Earlier this year, MP’s voted against raising the 1% public sector pay gap. It’s taken an appallingly dismal public relations campaign to remove it. Shameful.

Financial Times

Owner: The Nikkei, which is based in Tokyo.

Editor: Lionel Barber

Political leaning: Centre

Daily circulation: circa. 193,211

Today’s leading headline: Bell Pottinger expelled from PR body after South Africa race row

Today’s Financial Times reports that Bells Pottinger has been expelled from the industry amid claims of unethical behaviour. The leading PR firm has been accused of deliberately stirring racial tension in South Africa. The company pushed a narrative that there was an ‘economic apartheid’ in South Africa, in a deliberately provocative manner that has been labelled a ‘blatant instance of unethical practise’.

Afterthought: In a move that will shock no one, a PR firm has been found to have been manipulating data and deliberately pushing an agenda designed to inflame reactions. The punishment the firm has been given is unprecedented for a company of its size. Hopefully this will serve as a warning to others looking to appeal to the lowest common denominators of the human condition; fear and anger.

The Sun

Owner: News UK, owned by Rupert Murdoch

Editor: Tony Gallagher

Political leaning: Right / far right

Daily circulation: circa. 1,611,464

Today’s leading headline: The Warsaw act

Today’s Sun speculates that the new royal baby may have been conceived in Poland. The paper joins the other tabloids in taking a wild guess.

Afterthought: Who cares?

Scottish Papers

Daily Record

Owner: Trinity Mirror. Close ties to Scottish Labour.

Editor: Murray Foote

Political leaning: Left / far left although under Foote its allegiances have become more blurred.

Daily circulation: circa. 160,550

Today’s leading headline: Cowards

The Daily Record bears the grim picture of eight-year-old LJ Jackson and his wounds. The boy was hit by men on a moped and then left in a hit and run incident.

Afterthought: Hopefully the guilty shall be found and persecuted.

The Herald

Owner: Newsquest

Editor: Graeme Smith

Political leaning: Central / Left

Daily circulation: circa. 29,000

Today’s leading headline: UK minister questions if May will still be PM after Brexit.

Today’s Herald reports that some Scottish Tories are questioning as to whether Theresa May will remain in power after Brexit. This comes amid a tide of backlash and a lack in confidence for their party’s leader.

Afterthought: May is not a welcome figure in Scotland. Her weaknesses are apparent and her coalition with the DUP further alienated a country often starved of funding by Westminster.

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.

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