Two Times front pages – can you spot the difference?

21st March, 2014 9:10 am

Last night the Times released two versions of their front page. Here’s the first one:

Times version 1 2014-03-21 09-07-12


And here’s the second one (which you will see in newsagents this morning). Can you spot the difference?

times 2 2014-03-21 09-09-02


No doubt The Times will claim that a poll came out between the two versions – but it seems very odd to change a front page headline from a damning one to a praising one off the back of a poll in a different newspaper…

Update: An eagle eyed reader notes that this isn’t the first time an updated Times front page has benefitted the Tories:


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  • JoeDM

    Oh dear. Labour sour grapes !!!

    The pensions reforms are the one reason this Budget will be remembered and celebrated for many years to come.

    • Mike McMonagle

      JoeDM – I hardly think it’s the budget that is the story here. It’s the sudden change of tack that is the point you are missing. The story could be any political subject, It’s the fact that someone has done a General Franco and changed the face of the news with a well aimed slap to editorial heads.

      I deduce from your comment that you don’t mind press interference as long as you can get a bit of tax relief.

      • JoeDM

        Aren’t conspiracy theories wonderful.

        • Mike McMonagle

          Not really! No. I see no conspiracy. I see press interference. Read my words, not your assumptions.

          • Doug Smith

            Murdoch is interfering in favour of the Tories. It wasn’t long ago when he interfered on behalf of Blair’s New Labour. Indeed, Murdoch was a major cheerleader for Blair’s disastrous wars.

            I don’t recall any Labour MPs resigning their seats and forcing by-elections in opposition to such disastrous interference. On the whole Labour seemed happy to accept interference as long as they thought it worked in their favour.

          • Mike McMonagle

            That’s OK then. Let Murdoch decide what we should read and let’s stop bothering about the truth. Is that your suggestion here? Should these things NOT be pointed out? Is that your point?

          • Doug Smith

            Is Labour planning to curtail the influence of Murdoch?

            To me it seems that Murdoch and other media barons will become more powerful once Labour has removed all but residual trade union internal involvement in the LP by 2019. Who then will counter the great corporate power brokers?

            I can’t see that Miliband’s generation of PLP careerist, non-executive director wannabes are up to the job.

          • Mike McMonagle

            I have no party affiliations. I am one of many who point at naked emperors. As long as we, as organised parties or individuals, are all free to point it out we at least have a semblence of a say in matters.

          • Doug Smith

            You may as well shout at the wind.

            What I believe is important is building/supporting an alternative to the LIbLabCon.

            The LibLabCon are in decline. Cameron couldn’t even win a majority after major rebranding and the 2008 financial crisis. Labour is desperately trying to pretend it is somehow different to the Tories and the LibDems are only interested in ministerial limousines.

            There’s nothing to choose between them. Though the danger is in thinking that one is an alternative to the other.

            BTW – I am a Labour Party member. I’ve done my best within Labour to make the world a better place but the elite don’t like ordinary people and want to limit participation. When my membership expires I won’t be renewing it.

          • BillFrancisOConnor


          • David Simpson

            That is complete crap as i have been a member for nearly 50 years and at the moment the “elite” as you call them have never been more receptive to new ideas so what you say is a complete lie. To let me see if you are REALLLY a member quote the first digit of your membership number

          • Derek Robinson

            ” There’s nothing to choose between them. And the danger is in thinking that one is an alternative to the other. ”

            You only have to look at what Labour did achieve even under Blair to know how stupid that statement is….
            Camron and his chums love people to say that. I surprised the media doesn’t run it as a headline every week.

          • Doug Smith

            “look at what Labour did achieve even under Blair”

            You mean disastrous wars, privatisation of the NHS, PFI and a major finanacial crisis that had its origin in the mayhem resulting from the Iraq catastrophe (see nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz explain this on youtube).

            A fine old list of achievements.

          • reformist lickspittle

            Um, you are aware of Ed’s past record re Murdoch aren’t you?

            A major reason the mainstream media is mostly so hostile to him is they realise he will owe them no favours if elected PM.

          • Doug Smith

            Yes, I understand that perfectly. It has become personal between Murdoch and Miliband but that makes no difference to the politics – which are my primary concern.

          • reformist lickspittle

            As with much else, you just don’t get it.

            If Miliband becomes PM, he will NOT be beholden to the media. The contrast with Blair is utterly stark.

          • Doug Smith

            There’s no liberation for Miliband in being free from obligation to Murdoch.

            Blair had a fantastic mandate but still opted to back corporate priorities. If Miliband wins in 2015, no matter how large his majority, there is no indication of him wanting to pursue anything other than corporate priorities.

            The opportunity to institute a stakeholder economy was wasted by Blair. In far less favourable circumstances Miliband won’t be able to pull it off, even if he wanted to.

          • David Simpson

            you are just making assumptions without knowing any facts. I have seen many attempts at spin but yours take the biscuit in non information

          • treborc1

            It’s really funny how people can mention the Tories and Murdock after Blair and New labour love affair.
            I’d love to see the front pages which were thrown away when we went into war zones or told the disabled and sick they were scroungers.

            The issue today is from knowing which party is in power they are all so similar it hard to know

          • Derek Robinson

            Well vote tory then and loose the NHS forever !
            Vote Tory and sell of every public asset we have.
            Vote Tory and ensure your grandchildren will be no more than slaves.

          • treborc1

            Shortly after the last general election, health secretary Patricia
            Hewitt announced that the use of the private sector to carry out NHS
            operations will double in the next five years. She wants between 10% and
            15% of operations to be carried out by the private sector – rising from around 5% now.

            This is being done in the name of reducing waiting lists and patient choice. But the British Medical Association has already warned that this could destabilise the NHS. The private sector will only be interested in taking on the most straightforward cases.

            The professor of clinical biochemistry at the University of Surrey
            put it more bluntly: “This is really the destruction of the NHS.
            Once you start farming it off into private enterprises the NHS as we
            understood it will gradually disintegrate.”

            The full implications of this policy have begun to be revealed.
            Confidential documents have been leaked which spell out Labour’s
            sell-off plans. Private sector bidders are being invited to bid for
            contracts worth £3 billion to treat NHS patients.

            The contracts being offered include:

            Running all surgical facilities at the new NHS treatment centre in
            Birmingham – up to 9,500 operations a year.

            Turning Ravenscourt Park hospital in west London into a
            “surgical hub” for a network of diagnostic and treatment
            centres. Ravenscourt Park was bought to be run by Charing Cross hospital
            as a specialist centre for joint replacements. Campaigners fighting for
            the future of Charing Cross have identified this purchase as a factor
            leading to Charing Cross’s financial crisis.

            Leasing off part of the new New Forest Lymington hospital, which is a
            PFI scheme anyway. This will be used to carry out 5,000 operations a

            These documents reveal another government ‘U’ turn. There were rules
            to prevent the poaching of NHS staff by private companies. These have
            now been shelved, except where there are staff shortages.

            The chair of the BMA consultants committee told The Guardian:”…we are moving quickly towards a position where a lot of NHS staff will have to work for private firms or lose their jobs. This is being done without any real debate.”

            Cleaning service out sources to many firms, aqnd of course internal mail and I had to have my MRI scan read in Spain it came back and I swear to god it stated I was not pregnant, I then had to go to BUPA paid £500 to have another scan done. I also had a operation on my back done in a BUPA hospital.

            Then lets not forget the sale of the Royal mail the Royal Mint and the Post office all Labour sales.

            Your not have to worry about my grand kids they will live as we all tend to do at the bottom of the pile on the min wage.

          • Derek Robinson

            So let’s keep this shower of shit then …… get a grip

          • treborc1

            Truth interesting you would think the press is interested in the truth, I doubt the Sun would know what your talking about.

            The simple fact for a long time the Murdock’s had a hold over our Politics with Blair and to a degree over Thatcher.
            Like it or not the BBC has more interest in political parties then it does with facts. Political parties can of course give it funding, pay it top brass Millions , as they did again under Blair.

            Maxwell was a warning we totally ignored Black was another and surely the Murdock empire is a warning what power can do.

          • Mike McMonagle

            The man’s name is Murdoch. Just for clarity. Murdoch owns the Sun so not sure what point you are making there.

            Also, in the interests of clarity I will repeat, I support no party in matters of press interference. Whether it was Blair, Thatcher or the current Eton mafia I strongly support the exposure of press interference.

            It would appear you are advocating we simply accept press interference. I am happy for you to feel free to ignore it when it favours your party political views. I’ll choose to point it out regardless of beneficiary. That’s my non-party-political prerogative.

            You seem to just like arguing with anything that doesn’t endorse Conservative party policy. Just an observation.

            So, in case you are truly as impenetrable as you appear to be I will repeat. I support no party in matters of press interference. I am happy for you to disagree but your views are of little value to me.

          • JoeDM

            If you don’t like it, buy another newspaper.

          • treborc1

            I find page three has good political views from some great political, active people, they tend to have other assets as well.

            I tend to buy the Daily Mirror because the sport are better.

          • Mike McMonagle

            What a naive and inane statement. Sorry, I am allergic to stupidity.

          • JoeDM

            Yep. I was adding the further comments as you replied.

          • Graemeyh

            Mike. Have you not come across our friend JoeDM before? No point trying to engage. A serial poster who rubbishes everything about Labour and the left and praising everything Tories and ukip do. Strange for one so right wing to spend so much time on left of centre sites such as this, I know, but he usually skips the actual article and goes straight to comments section.

          • Mike McMonagle

            Thanks for the ‘Heads up’ Graeme but I am socially inclusive and I believe even the blind and stupid deserve education. 🙂

          • treborc1

            Oh god not another Pratt

          • Mike McMonagle

            Found your level. Well done!

          • treborc1

            But surely the simple issue is when is labour going to show the left credentials, crossing picket lines and then hammering Union funding you cannot live without, then this morning after the issue of some labour saying the pension changes from the budget are wrong this morning labour comes out in agreement with the Tories plans, some polls must show the public agrees with it.

            Welfare caps and god knows what else I do not think says anything about the left it’s more to do with the Progress right

        • reformist lickspittle

          So you approve of press manipulation, then – as long as it is done by the “side” you agree with. Good to know 😉

          And more proof of what I have long suspected – despite their hypocritical rhetoric, many on the right have an at best skin deep commitment to GENUINE freedom, pluralism and democracy. No wonder so many of them admire Putin 🙂

          • treborc1

            Is Putin that different then the EU then, after all at least in the Crimea they have had a vote on the issue, I had a vote on some pretend common market, Putin or Blair.

          • At the barrel of a gun, with 10 days lead time, no ‘No’ option favouring the status quo, all Ukrainian television channels blocked and replaced with pro-Kremlin Russian television, hysterical ‘They’re all Nazies!’ anti-Kiev propaganda plastered all over the place and the general asymmetry of the opposing campaigns…? I think even the EU or (to stay vaguely on topic) Murdoch would blush at such a blatant power/land grab by an ally.

            In fact, given the abundance of blind ideological rhetoric and propaganda and lack of honest debates, it looks like a UK referendum. All it’s missing is Putin blaming the cost of the referendum, given the state of Ukraine’s economy/finances, on Kiev.

          • treborc1

            I think you will find take the guns out, the Crimea would have voted to go into Russia not the EU, I mean how long did the Crimea not have some other country running it..
            if you look at the history it’s lucky the British did not invade at sometime it been invaded by nearly everyone. I forget the battle of the light brigade of course.

            But like it or not nearly 60% of the Crimea is of course Russian expats.

            As for the gun of course we cannot moan about changing government or politicians or head of government we did it in Iraq and tried to do it in Afghanistan and in both countries they now have American puppet leaders with American funding.

          • “I think you will find take the guns out, the Crimea would have voted to go into Russia not the EU”

            Well we’ll never know now, will we. In any case, the choice was not one between association with the EU or reunion with Russia, but between continued association with Ukraine or reunion with Russia. The EU decision is (or rather was) a matter for the Ukraine as a whole.

            I should make clear, I’m not opposed in principle to a Crimean referendum of this nature, and I tend to discount constitutionalists who rule referendums invalid simply because the Ukrainian constitution rules them out or requires approval from the top. I’m very much in favour of botton-up political movements and the right to self-determination on such a basis. However, a referendum held under these circumstances can never be considered valid. You say the Crimea would have chosen reunion with Russia if given an appropriate selection of ballot options and all of the facts. As I said, we’ll never no, but I’ve certainly seen and read the opinions of many young ethnic Russian Crimean’s who expressed concern over Russia’s issues with corruption and Putin’s attitude.

            I expect it’s all a fait acompli by this point though. 🙁

            “I forget the battle of the light brigade of course.”

            Not so much a British invasion, as an early French-British entente intervention (the French and Ottoman contingents greatly outnumbered the British contingent during that war if memory serves) on behalf of the Ottoman empire, which was by that time their puppet and the original ‘sick man of Europe’. The intent being to prevent Russian hegemony in the region (we seeing the resurgence of the same aims now of course, although this time it’s Russian and the EU/NATO tussling to assert hegemony, and I’ve got to say, Russia looks to be the worse of the two for the moment)

            “As for the gun of course we cannot moan about changing government or politicians or head of government we did it in Iraq and tried to do it in Afghanistan and in both countries they now have American puppet leaders with American funding.”

            *I* can moan, *I* didn’t support regime change (the dirtiest word in history), and I’m acutely aware of the history of Western intervention (both overt and covert) in the affairs of other nations and peoples (often toppling legitimate, democratically elected governments). Hypocrisy aside, I think it foolish to discount Western condemnation of such actions (what of countries like France and Germany who didn’t support Iraq War 2?) because we’ll quickly end up in a situation were nobody of any official standing can criticise anyone, even if the criticism is valid. That will no doubt lead to a rather dire world, ruled by dysfunctional diplomacy.

            “Afghanistan and in both countries they now have American puppet leaders with American funding”

            If you knew anything about the current Afghan and Iraqi governments you wouldn’t call them American ‘puppets’. They’ve willing taken America’s money (especially Afghanistan – with chronic corruption still a problem), but they’re scathing in their criticism of America. Khazii (sp?) want’s America out, for example.

            Anyway, this is all very off topic, so I’ll leave it there. I shan’t respond to this thread of though any further, but feel free to respond.

      • treborc1

        Well is that Cameron or the owners of the papers I do not think it would be to hard to say that on many occasion these news papers will have many different front pages making sure they cover the whole gambit.

        But to accuse the Tories after Blair’s love affair with the Murdock press is a bit rich.

        • Mike McMonagle

          Again – you make assumptions. Where did I accuse the Tories of anything? You are blinded by the depth of your entrenchment. The article and my comments relate to press interference. You seem to think it’s ok as long as it fits a party bias. I disagree with it on all matters. I have no party but I do have a desire to see a press with a free will.

          Who is scared of the truth?

          • treborc1

            Obvious Political parties are scared of the truths, otherwise why would you bother becoming the god father of one of the biggest piles of Sh*t in the media empire.

            Labour love affair with the media empire of Maxwell was due to believing they are so powerful they can elect or help get elected leaders.

            You then sell your self to this empire and you stay silent on say the sale of sport to the Sky empire.

          • Mike McMonagle

            Do you even know what you are talking about? I know this is a difficult concept for you because you still make assumptions but I must repeat (yet again) I am not party political. Is that hard to understand? It’s like free-thinking you know. Thinking without a party line. Is that hard to deal with?

            If you are saying Maxwell and Murdoch interference in the press is wrong I agree with you. If you are saying it’s OK in certain circumstances I disagree with you. It’s not difficult.

      • Sue Wilson

        Mike it’s impossible to reason with a Tory.. Joe is obviously a delusional blue. Sadly these are the people who keep this trash in government to carry on with their reverse Robin Hood tactics.

    • Graemeyh

      Oh dear. It’s JoeDiM`s usual unbiased and balanced view of things! Not.

    • Graemeyh

      Oh dear. It’s JoeDiM with his usual unbiased and balanced take on things! Not.

  • David Battley

    Is it something to do with Scarlett’s necklace?

  • paulstpancras

    The Times – from Newspaper of Record to Her Majesty’s Recorded Dead Parrot

  • ¿The Question Mark?

    “Just had boy George on the phone. HOLD THE FRONT PAGE!”

  • anitagaribaldi

    This speaks volumes…..about mainstream media!!!

  • Ian Blackburn

    You have a pension pot of £100k. and that is not enough to live on if you live for twenty odd years after retirement. Now when you get to 55 you can draw 25% as a lump sum. The rest is used to pay your pension for the rest of your life. Under this ‘popular’ idea, a person could draw ALL that money at 55. Then what do they live on? All that will happen is that the money companies will come up with other ways to handle the money you do not draw out at 55. There has to be some restriction on what a person can take out. Other wise they live on state pension and hopefully, make up to a decent living standard, by tax credits. But that can not work if the aim is to reduce welfare spending. Idea is ok but requires a lot of thinking as to how it will or should work.

    • Leon Carter

      You make it sound like a state pension is a freebie and taxpayers handout which it is not, if they have worked all there lives to build up a private pension pot they have also paid there nation insurance for all those years.

      There state pension is fully costed and paid for in advance and is no hand out funded by the taxpayer.

      • Leon Carter

        And to add it is not the pensioners fault governments past and present have dipped it to this money for other spending.

      • Ian Blackburn

        Not saying it is a hand out. My point is that to live on £140 pension after living on a wage all their working lives, is one hell of a drop in income. If you take too much of the pot, it reduces what is left to provide your income. If in the future we civilise and say a person should not have less to live on than – well what ever amount society/government of the day decides – the difference will/should/could be made up via a credit system. THAT would come from tax income. If as we keep being told ALL governments wish to reduce welfare spending – and this is not the way to go about it by having a cap – then supplementing a pension due to a person removing too much of their pot so taking them below some future poverty/minimum income level, is not a good policy or idea from this budget. That is the danger/problem that needs looking at. No argument anyone taking the money, all of it if they wish, but each individual must look at possible consequences. Those may be that the only income they receive in pension is via the State one. And I challenge anyone to say £140 is a good enough figure to live on. And that will be funded by the tax payer, because there is no national pot of money set aside to cover pensioners getting a pension. The whole welfare budget has to be seen by looking first at the individuals we pay it to. Secondly, by really accessing how each individual should be supported – not this ATOS/ DWP method of just an interview and points system, but via the same way a person qualifies for support, full doctor/specialist input. If the person has now miraculously got better then it is ok to remove support. If those doctors/specialist say they are not better, then the support must continue. Difficult to reduce a welfare bill that way because it is based on need, not a caped figure to aim at. And thirdly, pensions will/must form part of any welfare cuts. They make up the largest sector of the welfare bill. Like it or not, tax on pensions over a certain – to be determined figure by some future government – will have to happen. Not enough saving to be made just tinkering with Winter fuel allowance or bus passes.
        This budget has opened up the debate, not answered the question over how we afford a pension. returning back it is common sense that if you remove too much of your pot, without tax funded support, your pension incomes will be lower. There will be a limit set on what you can remove. Have no doubt.

  • ButcombeMan

    Note also the change re Ocean debris,

  • markmyword49

    Sorry but what’s the problem? The Times is foreign owned by a right wing megalomaniac whose only thought is the profit he can make. He even changed his nationality to circumvent US laws on media ownership. The Times long ago gave up being the paper of record in the UK and became his personal mouthpiece.
    As for the budget. The headlines on the following day rarely represent what the reality is for the population. I always wait until the number crunchers, think tanks and commentators have computed the numbers and crawled all over the red book and come up with a more measured response.

    • Ian Blackburn

      One lesson learnt from previous ages. Once a newspaper or media boss finds that support for a political party is going in their direction, that paper will lean towards that political party. One thing a press owner understands. He takes the paper where his readers are going. Myth that a news paper leads the people. If the Sun supported the Tories and the polls show that Labour had a good lead, that paper would move to support Labour. After all, most Sun readers vote Labour anyhow. They certainly read it.

      • markmyword49

        I agree with your comment in the year leading up to a general election but the rest of the time the owners and their editors spend most of their efforts denigrating Labour. They do it skilfully because as you say they don’t want to lose readership. The constant drip, drip, drip of negative pieces helps the right wing political parties. They know they can rely on their friends to report any small glimmer of good news for them in giant headlines and prominently placed pieces whilst ignoring any good news from the other parties or at best trying to spin the news in such a way as to be as near to negative as possible. Readers bring in advertisers and whatever else they are the newspaper owners are dyed in the wool capitalists

        • Ian Blackburn

          We have known as a party for decades that the press will do us no favours. Here in this town the local paper very rarely prints a letter with a Labour view. But Blair set out to appeal to a wider sector of the voters than what our party always concerned itself with a traditional working class. We can not win elections on one sector. We must appeal to that large floating group in the middle. That is who reads the main stay news papers. THEY read the Sun and Mail. Mail will never give any support to the party. But as seen before, if those reading the Sun are seen to be favouring Labour, then the paper will print pro Labour views. As you say. Murdoch sells papers. he knows which way the wind blows. Labour needs to up the game on appealing / persuading those Sun readers that it is not all about Migrant workers and the EU. It is about the NHS and education. Counter the rights argument and Murdoch would move the Sun to the left. But to do that means Labour working on the door steps, week in week out. Not praying for the press to come out and support us. Once the polls show Labour on course to win….the Sun will change..

  • Nigel Wootton

    The first story is news, therefore professional journalism. The second story is Rupert Murdoch’s propaganda. It is also the filthy lies and propaganda of the ConDem-ned government. The Times, The Mail and the Telegraph are all a mash of news and propaganda, and the above is an example of the result that you get. Do many people become confused about politics and public affairs? Certainly, they do, unless you learn the difference between news and propaganda.

    • I’ve always held the view that when a newspaper picks a side (as so many of our nationals do) they transition from the ‘free press’ to mere private sector party propagandists. The above only serves to demonstrate the truth of this, and I’ll be laughing heartily the next times these lot invoke the importance of a ‘free press’ the next time anything about press regulation rears its head.

      • treborc1

        That is what happens it it not when you allow the Lord Black’s the Maxwell’s and the Murdock’s to take over the press.

        Murdock is one of those old Tycoons who not only runs TV media and news print he can own Ministers and leaders. look at our own dearly beloved Blair.

        But we learn sod all, Maxwell we had that other giant Black and next I suspect will be Murdock.

  • Steve Ascott

    With the news that cabinet ministers regularly dine at Chez Murdoch should we be surprised

  • Mandy

    notice the headline for the malaysian airline has changed too


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