Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. This is shaping up to be the most racially polarised US election ever (Guardian)

As their once core demographic diminishes, Republicans are going to any lengths to capture and keep the white vote, says Gary Younge.

2. Supporters of the NHS should fear Jeremy Hunt (Independent)

We must learn from our former mistakes before privatising our national institution, says Owen Jones.

3. America’s season of hollow boastfulness (Financial Times)

Each candidate, with their different visions, is indulging in national denial, says Edward Luce.

4. Chris Grayling will need soul, not a law degree (Times) (£)

A Justice Secretary must be above the hubbub of politics, writes Ken Macdonald. He needs the guts to say, "You’re wrong".

5. Casting ahead to the 2015 election, no party leader likes what he sees (Guardian)

Politicians often don't get to fight the election they want, but our economic deterioration is already giving the next campaign the look of a nightmare, writes Gavin Kelly.

6. Now Dave’s got a winning hand (Sun)

Cameron has bought time and, unless Boris Johnson is quite mad, seen off any threat to his leadership, writes Trevor Kavanagh.

7. Cameron faces a new swipe from the right (Daily Mail)

A new centre-right Tory group is being set up that is seen by many as a snub to Cameron's policy-light government, writes Andrew Pierce.

8. Blair's easy rehabilitation is shameful (Independent)

Sir Geoffrey Bindman agrees with Tutu that the Iraq war was illegal and aggressive and breached UN charter provisions, writes Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. The ICC should hear their case.

9. US needs Japan as its best ally in Asia (Financial Times)

The relationship should be a Nato for economic statecraft, write Ian Bremmer and David Gordon.

10. Britain shines as a beacon of enlightenment in the world (Daily Telegraph)

No degree of cynicism can undo the good achieved during the extraordinary summer, says Boris Johnson.

Photo: Getty
Show Hide image

What Jeremy Corbyn gets right about the single market

Technically, you can be outside the EU but inside the single market. Philosophically, you're still in the EU. 

I’ve been trying to work out what bothers me about the response to Jeremy Corbyn’s interview on the Andrew Marr programme.

What bothers me about Corbyn’s interview is obvious: the use of the phrase “wholesale importation” to describe people coming from Eastern Europe to the United Kingdom makes them sound like boxes of sugar rather than people. Adding to that, by suggesting that this “importation” had “destroy[ed] conditions”, rather than laying the blame on Britain’s under-enforced and under-regulated labour market, his words were more appropriate to a politician who believes that immigrants are objects to be scapegoated, not people to be served. (Though perhaps that is appropriate for the leader of the Labour Party if recent history is any guide.)

But I’m bothered, too, by the reaction to another part of his interview, in which the Labour leader said that Britain must leave the single market as it leaves the European Union. The response to this, which is technically correct, has been to attack Corbyn as Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland are members of the single market but not the European Union.

In my view, leaving the single market will make Britain poorer in the short and long term, will immediately render much of Labour’s 2017 manifesto moot and will, in the long run, be a far bigger victory for right-wing politics than any mere election. Corbyn’s view, that the benefits of freeing a British government from the rules of the single market will outweigh the costs, doesn’t seem very likely to me. So why do I feel so uneasy about the claim that you can be a member of the single market and not the European Union?

I think it’s because the difficult truth is that these countries are, de facto, in the European Union in any meaningful sense. By any estimation, the three pillars of Britain’s “Out” vote were, firstly, control over Britain’s borders, aka the end of the free movement of people, secondly, more money for the public realm aka £350m a week for the NHS, and thirdly control over Britain’s own laws. It’s hard to see how, if the United Kingdom continues to be subject to the free movement of people, continues to pay large sums towards the European Union, and continues to have its laws set elsewhere, we have “honoured the referendum result”.

None of which changes my view that leaving the single market would be a catastrophe for the United Kingdom. But retaining Britain’s single market membership starts with making the argument for single market membership, not hiding behind rhetorical tricks about whether or not single market membership was on the ballot last June, when it quite clearly was. 

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