Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. The Thick of Mitt (Daily Telegraph)

Even before a candidate gets through the door of the undecided, he has to pass a basic competence test, says Alastair Campbell.

2. George's freeze wheeze (Guardian)

Osborne's proposed benefits freeze incorporates choices which betray cold indifference to hardship, says a Guardian editorial.

3. Bernanke makes an historic choice (Financial Times)

The Fed is correct in its decision to err on the side of expansion, says Martin Wolf.

4. The British are having more babies. Let's start planning for it. (Independent)

Rising fertility rates point the way to future economic growth - we need a large population to help support the elderly and bring down national debt, writes Hamish McRae.

5. If we don’t cut the deficit now, when will we? (Times) (£)

Politics is about seizing the moment, writes Daniel Finkelstein. If the government loosens its fiscal policy it will never tighten it again.

6. The politicians trying to preserve national dignity at the cost of lives in Afghanistan (Daily Mail)

All that matters now is to get British forces home as soon as can be contrived, says Max Hastings.

7. Time for a free vote on gay marriage (Independent)

There are no more excuses for not pushing ahead with gay marriage, says an Independent editorial.

8. Romney rescue plan – Cut the accountancy (Financial Times)

The governor can win if he ventures out of his comfort zone and moves beyond Republican orthodoxies, says Lloyd Green.

9. It's judicial machismo that jails women like Sarah Catt (Guardian)

The harm done to society by needlessly sending women to prison far outweighs their crime: in this, Britain is medieval, argues Simon Jenkins.

10. 'Green on Blue’ attacks must not deter us (Daily Telegraph)

A good relationship with the Afghan army is crucial to our success, says Lt Col Charlie Maconochie.

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En français, s'il vous plaît! EU lead negotiator wants to talk Brexit in French

C'est très difficile. 

In November 2015, after the Paris attacks, Theresa May said: "Nous sommes solidaires avec vous, nous sommes tous ensemble." ("We are in solidarity with you, we are all together.")

But now the Prime Minister might have to brush up her French and take it to a much higher level.

Reuters reports the EU's lead Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, would like to hold the talks in French, not English (an EU spokeswoman said no official language had been agreed). 

As for the Home office? Aucun commentaire.

But on Twitter, British social media users are finding it all très amusant.

In the UK, foreign language teaching has suffered from years of neglect. The government may regret this now . . .

Julia Rampen is the editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog. She was previously deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines.