Morning Call: pick of the papers

The ten must-read comment pieces from this morning's papers.

1. Anders Breivik is a terrorist, so we should treat him like one (Guardian)

We comb over every word from Oslo, but disregard al-Qaida's rants. The lack of consistency speaks volumes, writes Jonathan Freedland

2. Cameron ‘secretly encouraged’ Tory backbench revolt on Lords reform (Times)

Sam Coates and Roland Watson accuse David Cameron of encouraging Conservative MPs to revolt against House of Lords reform.

3. This is politics not sport. If drivers can't see that, they are the pits (Independent)

"Supposing it was Assad shelling out £40m for a race. Would Ecclestone be happy to give him a soft sporting cover for his repression?", asks Robert Fisk.

4. Amiable apparatchik with eyes on the Elysée (Financial Times)

Hugh Carnegy writes that François Hollande’s transformation from virtual no-hoper to serious contender is partly a story of circumstance, partly a story of diligent preparation – and partly a story of the sheer unpopularity of Mr Sarkozy.

5. We should all be hacktivists now (Guardian)

Heather Brooke writes that in the state-orchestrated grab for cyber-territory we have to work together to ensure our online freedom is protected by law

6. The Tories' clustershambles is all very entertaining, but Cameron needs to get a grip (Independent)

Some leaders find immense extra physical and emotional resources in a crisis. They become more attentive to detail. But with Cameron, things seem to be going in the opposite direction, writes Chris Bryant

7. Battle is joined on bonuses – at long last (Financial Times)

John Plender writes that the amazing thing about the Barclays and Citi bonus fights is that it has taken so long for the worms of the institutional investment world to turn.

8. We can’t reform the European Court of Human Rights, so let’s end this nonsense (Daily Telegraph)

The interminable Abu Qatada affair proves Britain needs to bring home the rule of law, writes Charles Moore

9. At last Bahrain has found the friends it deserves (Guardian)

Marina Hyde writes that in John Yates and Bernie Ecclestone the charming al-Khalifas have met their match

10. Make the mayoral elections independents’ day (Independent)

As more cities opt for directly elected leaders we must make sure candidates of real character are heard above the din, writes Janice Turner

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

Getty
Show Hide image

Theresa May’s stage-managed election campaign keeps the public at bay

Jeremy Corbyn’s approach may be chaotic, but at least it’s more authentic.

The worst part about running an election campaign for a politician? Having to meet the general public. Those ordinary folk can be a tricky lot, with their lack of regard for being on-message, and their pesky real-life concerns.

But it looks like Theresa May has decided to avoid this inconvenience altogether during this snap general election campaign, as it turns out her visit to Leeds last night was so stage-managed that she barely had to face the public.

Accusations have been whizzing around online that at a campaign event at the Shine building in Leeds, the Prime Minister spoke to a room full of guests invited by the party, rather than local people or people who work in the building’s office space.

The Telegraph’s Chris Hope tweeted a picture of the room in which May was addressing her audience yesterday evening a little before 7pm. He pointed out that, being in Leeds, she was in “Labour territory”:

But a few locals who spied this picture online claimed that the audience did not look like who you’d expect to see congregated at Shine – a grade II-listed Victorian school that has been renovated into a community project housing office space and meeting rooms.

“Ask why she didn’t meet any of the people at the business who work in that beautiful building. Everyone there was an invite-only Tory,” tweeted Rik Kendell, a Leeds-based developer and designer who says he works in the Shine building. “She didn’t arrive until we’d all left for the day. Everyone in the building past 6pm was invite-only . . . They seemed to seek out the most clinical corner for their PR photos. Such a beautiful building to work in.”

Other tweeters also found the snapshot jarring:

Shine’s founders have pointed out that they didn’t host or invite Theresa May – rather the party hired out the space for a private event: “All visitors pay for meeting space in Shine and we do not seek out, bid for, or otherwise host any political parties,” wrote managing director Dawn O'Keefe. The guestlist was not down to Shine, but to the Tory party.

The audience consisted of journalists and around 150 Tory activists, according to the Guardian. This was instead of employees from the 16 offices housed in the building. I have asked the Conservative Party for clarification of who was in the audience and whether it was invite-only and am awaiting its response.

Jeremy Corbyn accused May of “hiding from the public”, and local Labour MP Richard Burgon commented that, “like a medieval monarch, she simply briefly relocated her travelling court of admirers to town and then moved on without so much as a nod to the people she considers to be her lowly subjects”.

But it doesn’t look like the Tories’ painstaking stage-management is a fool-proof plan. Having uniform audiences of the party faithful on the campaign trail seems to be confusing the Prime Minister somewhat. During a visit to a (rather sparsely populated) factory in Clay Cross, Derbyshire, yesterday, she appeared to forget where exactly on the campaign trail she was:

The management of Corbyn’s campaign has also resulted in gaffes – but for opposite reasons. A slightly more chaotic approach has led to him facing the wrong way, with his back to the cameras.

Corbyn’s blunder is born out of his instinct to address the crowd rather than the cameras – May’s problem is the other way round. Both, however, seem far more comfortable talking to the party faithful, even if they are venturing out of safe seat territory.

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.

0800 7318496