Many of Friday’s papers go big with coverage of how the 75th anniversary of VE day will be celebrated, alongside black and white images of street parties and crowded cities in 1945.
“Keep Smiling Through”, the Daily Express urges readers, calling on them to take hope from Dame Vera Lynn’s “We’ll Meet Again”.
The Daily Mirror calls on us to take our cue from “that magnificent wartime generation as we fight another cruel enemy”.
There’s also extensive coverage of how the country will mark the anniversary. Alongside timetables on when to observe the two-minute silence and catch the Queen’s speech, there are instructions – and diagrams – on how to Lindy hop, and tips for the perfect “socially distanced cream tea”.
But writing in the Times, the UK’s Chief of Defence staff, Sir Nick Carter, writes that this VE Day anniversary will be especially hard on veterans likely to be celebrating alone.
“We owe it to them ” he says, “to remember the legacy their service and sacrifice bequeathed to us.”
The Sun’s front page splash is a claim that the fundraising platform JustGiving made thousands of pounds from donations given to Captain Tom Moore during his bid to raise money for NHS workers during the coronavirus crisis.
The 100-year-old war veteran captured the country’s imagination and wallets with his inspiring walk around his garden last month.
But under the headline “Give it Back”, the Sun claims JustGiving benefited to the tune of £308,000 by charging a 5% fee on gift aid donations.
Conservative MP David Jones said it would be a fitting tribute on the 75th anniversary of VE day for the platform to give the money to the charity it had been intended for.
A spokesman for JustGiving said claiming gift aid back is “complex, time consuming and expensive for charities” and “our expertise and technology means we are able to offer a much cheaper, quicker and more effective way for charities to claim gift aid”.
The Times leads with claims of disarray at the heart of government over how to ease current coronavirus-related restrictions.
“PM to keep Britain in lockdown until June” is the headline as it reports that Boris Johnson is “under pressure” from his cabinet to set specific dates for getting people back to work and some form of normality when he sets out his plan on Sunday.
But an “ally” said to be familiar with the prime minister’s thinking, tells the paper it will be “baby steps” when Mr Johnson’s announcement comes.
“Fears No 10 has lost grip on lockdown exit plans” is the headline for the Guardian.
It suggests the government is urgently trying to regain control after “fierce criticism” that “mixed messaging” was priming people to give up on lockdown.
An unnamed member of the government’s Sage advisory committee is quoted as saying leaks of “bits and pieces” of information are potentially “incredibly damaging”. The source tells the paper it risks leading people only to see the “green lights” in any government announcement.
The front page of the Daily Telegraph claims Boris Johnson could lift the lockdown in fortnightly stages to show the public “light at the end of the tunnel”.
It devotes its lead slot to a call from Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer to guarantee better protection from the virus to the VE Day generation.
In an article for the paper, Sir Keir points out that many of that generation now live in the care homes and are bearing the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic after years of poor provision for social care.
“The crisis in our care homes has gone on for too long,” he says. “We must do everything we can to protect our most vulnerable, many of whom protected our country in its darkest hour.”
Protecting those most at risk is also the focus of Guardian’s editorial as it reflects on official figures which suggest that black people in England and Wales are more than four times as likely to die from Covid-19.
It admits that the reasons will be complex and are not yet fully understood, and it calls for an urgent assessment on what more can be done to protect such groups.
But it also argues that when the dust settles, there needs to be an equally important addressing of deep-rooted health inequalities “entrenched” in society “over the austerity years” and exposed as “devastating” by the current pandemic.
“BoE’s ‘Panglossian’ view of V-shaped recovery called into question” is the headline of the Financial Times as it gauges reaction to the Bank of England’s forecast of a deep economic downturn followed by a quick rebound.
The paper reports that many economists disagree with the optimistic view of the Bank’s new governor, Andrew Bailey, and it lines up several to explain why.
It concludes that as the reality of a slow recovery becomes clear over the next few weeks, it expects members of the Monetary Policy Committee to vote for more quantative easing in June.
‘Fears of lockdown ending’
The Daily Telegraph’s editorial reflects on the current coronavirus crisis, against the backdrop of VE Day commemorations.
“Are we the same people?” it wonders, considering the stoicism of previous generations in wartime. It concludes that in our willingness to pull together and to do the right thing, we are.
But it also highlights polls which show we’re now “terrified” of lifting lockdown.
It argues that the most compelling attempts to constrain freedom are those which appeal to public safety, and it calls on Boris Johnson to channel his hero, Sir Winston Churchill, to restore the public’s confidence.
Public concern over easing the lockdown, and in particular that of parents, features prominently in the Times.
“Heads fear ghost schools” is the headline, as it details how unions and headteachers are warning that many mums and dads may refuse to send their children back to reopened schools, before a vaccine is found.
The report quotes a survey by website Mumsnet which suggests only one in five parents would back schools reopening now, while fewer than half said they would be prepared for their child to return immediately.
“Tip tip hooray” is the take of the Daily Mail as it reports on one service the public is keen to see back: Waste and recycling centres.
The paper suggests that hundreds of cars and vans formed long queues at many facilities as they opened again on Thursday.
“The dash to dump” weeks of waste from lockdown gardening and DIY was hampered apparently, though, by new social distancing rules limiting number of cars and vans allowed on site.