Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. The next election won’t be won on the runways of Heathrow (Daily Telegraph)

Blue-collar workers in the north and midlands hold the key to a Conservative victory, says Paul Goodman.

2. Osborne will need to bend his fiscal rules (Financial Times)

Further tightening would be disastrous for growth, writes Ian Mulheirn.

3. Why Israel's itchy trigger finger threatens President Obama (Daily Mail)

Obama will have no choice but to support an Israeli air strike for fear of losing the Jewish vote in various key areas, says Andrew Alexander.

4. Yeo's runway taunt is big-willy politics, and that is the most dangerous politics of all (Guardian)

The third runway appeals to paranoid machismo not reason, says Simon Jenkins. A recession is no excuse for pushing through dumb projects.

5. The centre has to hold. There’s no alternative (Times) (£)

Enough of the grumbling, writes Daniel Finkelstein. Both sides have to remember that they can reap huge advantages from coali

6. If Poundland's expanding, we must be in trouble (Independent)

The "squeezed middle" (and beyond) is under intense and growing financial pressure, writes Stefan Stern.

7. Syria’s rebels are not yet worthy of our trust (Daily Telegraph)

After the debacle in Libya, the west needs guarantees from any government-in-waiting, says Con Coughlin.

8. Will it be off with his Ed, or bye George? (Independent)

How both now deal with their economic supremos will do much to decide the election, says Matthew Norman.

9. Rail is a gigantic scam for siphoning off public money (Guardian)

Branson and FirstGroup have both gamed a disastrous privatisation, writes Seumas Milne. The case for public ownership is compelling.

10. How Romney could go wrong from Day 1 (Financial Times)

Trade sanctions on China might seriously backfire, writes Stephen Roach.

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Westminster terror attack: What we know so far

The attack, which left a police officer and bystanders dead, was an attack on democracy. 

We had just wrapped up recording this week's podcast and I was on my way back to Westminster when it happened: the first terrorist attack on Parliament since the killing of Airey Neave in 1979. You can read an account of the day here.

Here's what we know so far:

  • Four people, including the attacker, have died following a terrorist attack at Westminster. Keith Palmer, a police officer, was killed defending Parliament as the attacker attempted to rush the gates.
  • 29 people are in hospital, seven in critical condition.
  • Three French high school students are among those who were injured in the attack.
  • The attacker, who was known to the security services, has been named as Khalid Masood, a 52-year-old British born man from Birmingham, is believed to have been a lone wolf though he was inspired by international terrorist attacks. 

The proximity of so many members of the press - including George, who has written up his experience here - meant that it was very probably the most well-documented terrorist attack in British history. But it wasn't an attack on the press, though I'd be lying to you if I said I wasn't thinking about what might have happened if we had finished recording a little earlier.

It was an attack on our politicians and our Parliament and what it represents: of democracy and, ultimately, the rights of all people to self-determination and self-government. It's a reminder too of the risk that everyone who enters politics take and how lucky we are to have them.

It was also a reminder of something I take for granted every day: that if an attack happens, I get to run away from it while the police run towards it. One of their number made the ultimate sacrifice yesterday and many more police and paramedics had to walk towards the scene at a time when they didn't know if there was another attacker out there.

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.