Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Tories ache for a hero and they think it's Boris (Independent)

The Conservatives still await their modernising moment, writes Steve Richards.

2. For these one-term Tories a shrunken state is the prize (Guardian)

Devil-may-care Osborne cuts with an eye to his ideological legacy, while growth evaporates and misery flourishes, writes Polly Toynbee.

3. The knives were out for Osborne – but he may well have saved his reputation (Daily Telegraph)

The Chancellor made a critical decision to speak sombrely about the considerable difficulties the country faces, says Benedict Brogan.

4. We demonise Chavez for his challenge to our western dogma (Independent)

Critics should stop pretending he’s a dictator, says Owen Jones. He won fair and square.

5. Cameron must shape his European policy (Financial Times)

The Prime Minister must not bend to eurosceptics, who unrealistically want the best of both worlds, says Janan Ganesh.

6. From New Delhi to Westminster, governments are cavalier about the poor (Guardian)

We should stop generalising about the poor, whether in India or Britain, and start listening to them, says Aditya Chakrabortty.

7. To win, David Cameron must try a little tenderness (Times) (£)

Husky hugger or bovver boy? The Prime Minister must resist those urging him to adopt a negative strategy, says Rachel Sylvester.

8. George Osborne: a diminished chancellor (Guardian)

Five years of blood, sweat, toil and tears were enough to see Winston Churchill routed at the ballot box in 1945, notes a Guardian leader. George Osborne is no Winston Churchill.

9. Spoken like a true Tory, Mr Osborne (Daily Mail)

George Osborne made the speech he ought to have delivered 30 months ago, says a Daily Mail leader.

10. The Brics have taken an unhappy turn (Financial Times)

The new marks of Bric status are a weakening economy and political dysfunction, writes Gideon Rachman.

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The barbecue that shows that Jeremy Corbyn is inevitable

Labour's been a long time dying, says Neal Lawson.

Just sometimes you spot something small and throw away which crystalizes something much bigger and really profound.  It happened recently about the future of the Labour Party, tucked away in the letters page of the Guardian. Steven Pound the MP for Ealing North shared his concerns about the influx of new, presumably Corbyn voting, members. 

The worry was this – only two of the 43 invited new members could be bothered to turn up for a barbecue and social. There it was, in a tiny chicken nugget, all you needed to know about why the Labour Party is a vehicle out of time and place and so ripe for the Corbyn Surge.

Let’s unpick the BBQ, the new members and their seeming reluctance to show up. The first thing that’s screams at anyone vaguely normal is why on earth would you want to go to a BBQ being organized by the Labour Party – when presumably you could go to a real one, with real friends.  There is a give away – it’s a “barbecue and social” – ie a barbecue where you have to be social – where you have to told to be social as if that weren’t a given. Does the Labour Party or anyone have BBQs that are unsocial?  When you decode it, what it means is come and pretend that Labour is ‘with it’ – that being a member is a deep cultural and social experience – when everyone knows it isn’t.

The Labour Party has been a front for years – a front for a technocratic and managerial elite who like to tell everyone what’s good for them and that they must suck up almost as many right wing ideas and polices as the Tories are offering to be in office.  And the party, in desperation and with nothing else on offer, had to go along with it. 

 Of course people get bored of being used and eventually despise knowing that all the party was doing was slowing the rate at which the poor got poorer and the planet burnt – that meetings were meaningless because all the real decisions were being made elsewhere. But the elite still needed the legitimacy of plastic members and their leaflets wouldn’t deliver themselves.  So the foot soldiers had to be given something – so why not a BBQ – that will show Labour has changed – that the party has deep roots and bags of fun. But it’s a scam. A Quorn sausage when only meat will do. Because we all know that really the elite want to read out the minutes and the matters arising from the last BBQ, to be Minister for burgers and the secretary of state for baked potato’s.

But its stopped working. What the Ealing 41 refusniks tell us is that they didn’t previously join Labour because there was no point.  Modestly humanized neo-liberalism, even with a BBQ and social, is not enough. A party still rooted in the culture of the last century – the factory - with no democracy and little connection to the governing norms of the 21st century – that of Facebook – was not attractive to them.

The surge around Jeremy Corbyn changed all that – Labour became interesting for the fist time despite everything about it – its elitism, its awful compromises, its lack of hope or belief in the best in people – only the worst (I’m really resisting German sausage jokes here).

The Pound letter ends with the chilling warning that maybe all these people had joined for was to get Jeremy Corbyn elected in the hope for something better. As if that’s wasn’t good enough – surely they understand there are more BBQs to be organized?   Cant they join and pretend with us  – vote for the status quo and eat their meat?

 But this is the 21st century. People join and swarm, in a none David Cameron unpejorative way.  Bubbles and waves appear so fast.  Foot free but progressively minded, agile and connected is the way millions of people now are. 400,000 of them have joined Labour since the last election. They will swarm  elsewhere quickly if Corbyn doesn’t win or over time if he fails to understand the nature of these new times.  The party of the past is dead regardless of who becomes Labour's leader.  But these wave of hope and action mean we can still change the world – just without making a meal of it. 

Neal Lawson is chair of the pressure group Compass and author of the book All Consuming.