Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Britain risks a lost decade unless it changes course (Financial Times)

The first priority must be for the public sector to stop exacerbating the contraction, says Larry Summers.

2. The housing benefits cap means a wretched life for thousands in B&Bs (Guardian)

Iain Duncan Smith's welfare reform will leave families already on the lowest housing rung with nowhere to go, writes John Harris.

3. The Tory guns are ready to find their target (Times) (£)

If David Cameron could design his dream opposition, it would look a lot like Ed Miliband’s Labour Party, writes Tim Montgomerie.

4. Why I want the Iron Lady to go on and on (Independent)

Celebrating the prospect of Thatcher's death has become a macabre substitute for the failure to defeat Thatcherism, says Owen Jones.

5. Kate's right to be angry. But only King Canute would think privacy laws can hold back this tide (Daily Mail)

The topless pictures represent a wake-up call — that we inhabit an utterly changed information landscape, says Melanie Phillips.

6. The GOP shows no sign of braking before the cliff (Financial Times)

Never before has politics been as consciously likely to wreck the economy, writes Edward Luce.

7. How progressive Islam fell to the barbarians (Independent)

I have very deep sympathy for oppressed Muslims everywhere, writes Yasmin Alibhai Brown. But that is no excuse for this counter-productive rampage.

8. Tories doomed if they ignore Major warning (Sun)

The former prime minister is right to argue that a referendum on EU membership is now both desirable and inevitable, says Trevor Kavanagh.

9. The Tories are giving us distractions, not actions (Guardian)

Rather than build for our future, the coalition government has resorted to making endless promises that never bear fruit, says Rachel Reeves.

10. British businesses are taking an unfair whacking from America (Daily Telegraph)

BP has made mistakes, but its endless battering from the US authorities is out of all proportion, says Boris Johnson.

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An alternative Trainspotting script for John Humphrys’ Radio 4 “Choose Life” tribute

Born chippy.

Your mole often has Radio 4’s Today programme babbling away comfortingly in the background while emerging blinking from the burrow. So imagine its horror this morning, when the BBC decided to sully this listening experience with John Humphrys doing the “Choose Life” monologue from Trainspotting.

“I chose not to choose life: I chose something else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you’ve got Radio 4?” he concluded, as a nation cringed.

Introduced as someone who has “taken issue with modernity”, Humphrys launched into the film character Renton’s iconic rant against the banality of modern life.

But Humphrys’ role as in-studio curmudgeon is neither endearing nor amusing to this mole. Often tasked with stories about modern technology and digital culture by supposedly mischievous editors, Humphrys sounds increasingly cranky and ill-informed. It doesn’t exactly make for enlightening interviews. So your mole has tampered with the script. Here’s what he should have said:

“Choose life. Choose a job and then never retire, ever. Choose a career defined by growling and scoffing. Choose crashing the pips three mornings out of five. Choose a fucking long contract. Choose interrupting your co-hosts, politicians, religious leaders and children. Choose sitting across the desk from Justin Webb at 7.20 wondering what you’re doing with your life. Choose confusion about why Thought for the Day is still a thing. Choose hogging political interviews. Choose anxiety about whether Jim Naughtie’s departure means there’s dwindling demand for grouchy old men on flagship political radio shows. Choose a staunch commitment to misunderstanding stories about video games and emoji. Choose doing those stories anyway. Choose turning on the radio and wondering why the fuck you aren’t on on a Sunday morning as well. Choose sitting on that black leather chair hosting mind-numbing spirit-crushing game shows (Mastermind). Choose going over time at the end of it all, pishing your last few seconds on needlessly combative questions, nothing more than an obstacle to that day’s editors being credited. Choose your future. Choose life . . .”

I'm a mole, innit.