US Press: pick of the papers

The ten must-read opinion pieces from today's US papers.

1. How the U.S. Can Help Europe: Just Say No (Wall Street Journal)

Jim de Mint argues the US should stay in its corner and not be a "lender of last resort".

2. The Gingrich Tragedy (New York TImes)

David Brookes writes about Newt Gingrich's character distorting his views on big government conservatism.

3. Where is Wall Street accountability? (Politico)

Elizabeth Warren argues banks should be held accountable as much as protesters are.

4. The American debate: A case for TV in top court (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Public should see the powerful justices match wits with lawyers, writes Dick Polman

5. Regulatory Dysfunction on Show (Newsday)

Congressional testimony yesterday on the collapse of the MF Global Holdings brokerage firm shed little light on the burning question of where up to $1.2 billion in missing customer money might have gone.

6. How to attack Newt (Slate)

A collective assault on Gingrich showed a sense of urgency from the hypercautious Romney, writes John Dickerson.

7. Republicans are losing the tax debate (Washington Examiner)

Emmet Tyrell argues Republicans are leaving out key conservative economic policy ideas in rebuttals to Democrats.

8. The Good Politics of Gay Marriage (Washington Post)

Obama should take the next step on gay rights, according to Ruth Marcus.

9. Ignoring a global warning (Los Angeles Times)

Those in the U.S. who deny climate change have nothing on Nero, says this editorial in the LA Times.

10. Goodbye to 'Gays, Guns & God' (New York Times)

The most potent wedge issues of American politics -- the banner of gays, guns and God -- will have little impact next year, according to Timothy Egan.

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Emmanuel Macron offers Theresa May no comfort on Brexit

The French presidential candidate warned that he would not accept "any caveat or any waiver" at a press briefing in London.

Emmanuel Macron, the new wunderkind of French politics, has brought his presidential campaign to London. The current favourite to succeed François Hollande has a natural electoral incentive to do so. London is home to 300,000 French voters, making it by France's sixth largest city by one count (Macron will address 3,000 people at a Westminster rally tonight). But the telegenic centrist also took the time to meet Theresa May and Philip Hammond and to hold a press briefing.

If May hoped that her invitation would help soften Macron's Brexit stance (the Prime Minister has refused to engage with his rival Marine Le Pen), she will have been left disappointed. Outside No.10, Macron declared that he hoped to attract "banks, talents, researchers, academics" away from the UK to France (a remark reminiscent of David Cameron's vow to "roll out the red carpet" for those fleeing Hollande). 

At the briefing at Westminster's Central Hall, Macron quipped: "The best trade agreement for Britain ... is called membership of the EU". With May determined to deliver Brexit, he suggested that the UK would have to settle for a Canadian-style deal, an outcome that would radically reduce the UK's market access. Macron emphasised that he took a a "classical, orthodox" view of the EU, regarding the "four freedoms" (of people, capital, goods and services) as indivisible. Were Britain to seek continued financial passporting, the former banker said, it would have to make a significant budget "contribution" and accept continued immigration. "The execution of Brexit has to be compliant with our interests and the European interest".

The 39-year-old avoided a nationalistic tone ("my perspective is not to say France, France, France") in favour of a "coordinated European approach" but was unambiguous: "I don't want to accept any caveat or any waiver to what makes the single market and the EU." Were the UK, as expected, to seek a transitional arrangement, it would have to accept the continued jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

Elsewhere, Macron insisted that his liberal economic stance was not an obstacle to his election. It would be fitting, he said, if the traditionally "contrarian" France embraced globalisation just as its counterparts were rejecting it. "In the current environment, if you're shy, you're dead," he declared. With his emotional, straight-talking approach (one derided by some as intellectually threadbare), Macron is seeking to beat the populists at their own game.

But his views on Brexit may yet prove academic. A poll published today showed him trailing centre-right candidate François Fillon (by 20-17) having fallen five points since his denunciation of French colonialism. Macron's novelty is both a strength and a weakness. With no established base (he founded his own party En Marche!), he is vulnerable to small swings in the public mood. If Macron does lose, it will not be for want of confidence. But there are unmistakable signs that his forward march has been halted. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.