Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. The world is stuck in a vicious cycle (Financial Times)

Without a full course of treatment, the economic patient risks relapse, writes Lawrence Summers.

2. Andrew Mitchell should be gone by Wednesday (Guardian)

David Cameron can't sit this one out, says Jackie Ashley. The 'pleb' row has changed how voters see his party and is turning into a calamity.

3. BAE Systems, arms traders, and how the sordid greed of some of our rulers knows no bounds (Independent)

We will never be able to challenge the hold of British arms companies until their links with the establishment are severed, says Owen Jones.

4. Go for the common ground, not the centre (Times) (£)

You can be Eurosceptic and still love the NHS, writes Tim Montgomerie. The Tories can win if they say so.

5. Occupy was right – all the church could say was 'go home' (Guardian)

When the protest began exactly one year ago, the Church of England should also have been angry about the financial crisis, writes Giles Fraser.

6. Don’t honour a Brussels office block – give the Nobel to Maggie (Daily Telegraph)

Britain’s former prime minister has done far more than the EU to foster peace in Europe, argues Boris Johnson.

7.  George Osborne is still in denial over his failing strategy (Guardian)

The IMF's downgrade of its forecast for Britain shows how reckless it is for the chancellor to press on with austerity, says Ed Balls.

8. Too many wrongs made by a Wright over Hillsborough (Sun)

Four crucial witnesses may never have spoken publicly about the deceit peddled to them by South Yorkshire Police, writes Trevor Kavanagh.

9. Mexico is forgotten story of US election (Financial Times)

Americans only think of their neighbour as a law and order problem, says Edward Luce.

10. Will Murdoch move backfire on top Tory? (Daily Mail)

It defies belief that Maria Miller has not distanced herself from the Murdoch clan, writes Andrew Pierce.

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Can Philip Hammond save the Conservatives from public anger at their DUP deal?

The Chancellor has the wriggle room to get close to the DUP's spending increase – but emotion matters more than facts in politics.

The magic money tree exists, and it is growing in Northern Ireland. That’s the attack line that Labour will throw at Theresa May in the wake of her £1bn deal with the DUP to keep her party in office.

It’s worth noting that while £1bn is a big deal in terms of Northern Ireland’s budget – just a touch under £10bn in 2016/17 – as far as the total expenditure of the British government goes, it’s peanuts.

The British government spent £778bn last year – we’re talking about spending an amount of money in Northern Ireland over the course of two years that the NHS loses in pen theft over the course of one in England. To match the increase in relative terms, you’d be looking at a £35bn increase in spending.

But, of course, political arguments are about gut instinct rather than actual numbers. The perception that the streets of Antrim are being paved by gold while the public realm in England, Scotland and Wales falls into disrepair is a real danger to the Conservatives.

But the good news for them is that last year Philip Hammond tweaked his targets to give himself greater headroom in case of a Brexit shock. Now the Tories have experienced a shock of a different kind – a Corbyn shock. That shock was partly due to the Labour leader’s good campaign and May’s bad campaign, but it was also powered by anger at cuts to schools and anger among NHS workers at Jeremy Hunt’s stewardship of the NHS. Conservative MPs have already made it clear to May that the party must not go to the country again while defending cuts to school spending.

Hammond can get to slightly under that £35bn and still stick to his targets. That will mean that the DUP still get to rave about their higher-than-average increase, while avoiding another election in which cuts to schools are front-and-centre. But whether that deprives Labour of their “cuts for you, but not for them” attack line is another question entirely. 

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.

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