Morning Call: pick of the comment

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

1. The politics of ownership could define the next decade (Independent)

Steve Richards says the debate over ownership and the role of co-operatives will shape the next decade as privatisation did in the 1980s.

2. This parody of the nanny state helps neither children nor adults (Guardian)

Timothy Garton Ash argues that not even Orwell's pen could do justice to the absurdities of Labour's vetting service.

3. Britain's power gap and why politicians have to narrow it (Times)

The Demos head, Richard Reeves, says that calls for "localism" will ring hollow until ordinary people have more power over their own lives.

4. Mr Obama, here's your Copenhagen speech (Guardian)

George Monbiot writes the speech Barack Obama must deliver to turn the Copenhagen talks around.

5. Civil servants intent on evading all responsibility (Independent)

Adrian Hamilton argues that the Chilcot inquiry has exposed how bureaucrats are willing to blame anyone but themselves.

6. How America let banks off the leash (Financial Times)

John Gapper says that Obama has wasted the opportunities provided by the financial crisis.

7. Quiet diplomacy will get our voice heard (Times)

Baroness Ashton, the EU's first representative for foreign affairs, says that Europe can punch above its weight through soft power.

8. Curling up with a good e-book? (Daily Telegraph)

Philip Hensher says that digital books will transform our view of literary merit.

9. Mysterious peer Lord Ashcroft is an inconvenient truth for Cameron (Guardian)

Michael White calls on David Cameron to order Michael Ashcroft to stop playing coy games about his tax status.

10. Locking up children shames us (Independent)

Matthew Norman says that we must all resist the state's mistreatment of children.

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It's Gary Lineker 1, the Sun 0

The football hero has found himself at the heart of a Twitter storm over the refugee children debate.

The Mole wonders what sort of topsy-turvy universe we now live in where Gary Lineker is suddenly being called a “political activist” by a Conservative MP? Our favourite big-eared football pundit has found himself in a war of words with the Sun newspaper after wading into the controversy over the age of the refugee children granted entry into Britain from Calais.

Pictures published earlier this week in the right-wing press prompted speculation over the migrants' “true age”, and a Tory MP even went as far as suggesting that these children should have their age verified by dental X-rays. All of which leaves your poor Mole with a deeply furrowed brow. But luckily the British Dental Association was on hand to condemn the idea as unethical, inaccurate and inappropriate. Phew. Thank God for dentists.

Back to old Big Ears, sorry, Saint Gary, who on Wednesday tweeted his outrage over the Murdoch-owned newspaper’s scaremongering coverage of the story. He smacked down the ex-English Defence League leader, Tommy Robinson, in a single tweet, calling him a “racist idiot”, and went on to defend his right to express his opinions freely on his feed.

The Sun hit back in traditional form, calling for Lineker to be ousted from his job as host of the BBC’s Match of the Day. The headline they chose? “Out on his ears”, of course, referring to the sporting hero’s most notable assets. In the article, the tabloid lays into Lineker, branding him a “leftie luvvie” and “jug-eared”. The article attacked him for describing those querying the age of the young migrants as “hideously racist” and suggested he had breached BBC guidelines on impartiality.

All of which has prompted calls for a boycott of the Sun and an outpouring of support for Lineker on Twitter. His fellow football hero Stan Collymore waded in, tweeting that he was on “Team Lineker”. Leading the charge against the Murdoch-owned title was the close ally of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and former Channel 4 News economics editor, Paul Mason, who tweeted:

Lineker, who is not accustomed to finding himself at the centre of such highly politicised arguments on social media, responded with typical good humour, saying he had received a bit of a “spanking”.

All of which leaves the Mole with renewed respect for Lineker and an uncharacteristic desire to watch this weekend’s Match of the Day to see if any trace of his new activist persona might surface.


I'm a mole, innit.