Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Now it’s David Cameron’s turn to display his one-nation credentials (Daily Telegraph)

It’s a simple choice for the Tories: face defeat or rekindle the high hopes of two years ago, says Peter Oborne.

2. Miliband and Blair have more in common than those stuck in the past can allow (Guardian)

Like Eric Hobsbawn, Miliband and Blair recognise the Labour party has to transcend old failed labourism to win and govern, says Martin Kettle.

3. Innovation drives America’s reinvention (Financial Times)

From looking lost in telecoms and energy, the US has recovered and raced ahead of competition, writes John Gapper.

4. Savile’s time was different. We’ve grown up (Times) (£)

Today, rumours of sex with under-age girls bring instant investigation, writes David Aaronovitch. Forty years ago people looked the other way.

5. Maria Miller, the abortion limit and a case of ideology masquerading as science (Independent)

The minister should hold back on her lifestyle advice, says Mary Ann Sieghart.

6. Tweaking it all for the telly is infantilising our party conferences (Guardian)

The accent is on clarity, repetition and brevity; delegates are reduced to meat, writes Zoe Williams. There hardly seems room for politics.

7. Whitehall's West Coast railway disaster (Daily Telegraph)

Ministers and mandarins must work together to avoid repeating the West Coast rail franchise fiasco, says Sue Cameron.

8. David Cameron has lost his chance to redefine the Tories (Guardian)

He has abandoned the vision of one-nation conservatism that so inspired me, and retoxified his party, says Philip Blond.

9. One nation? Hypocritical Red Ed is the most divisive Labour leader for decades (Daily Mail)

Miliband attempts to conceal his own privileged background, while stoking up the politics of envy, says Stephen Glover.

10. Demographics ignite China’s factory riots (Financial Times)

The country can no longer rely on an endless stream of pliant migrant workers, says David Pilling.

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.