Morning call: pick of the comment

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

1. No room at the inn? We can still be hospitable (Times)

John Sentamu, archbishop of York, compares the plight of destitute asylum seekers to Mary and Joseph, and urges compassion and hospitality.

2. How the noughties were a hinge of history (Financial Times)

Martin Wolf looks back on a decade of Western decline.

3. An optimism that has drained away (Independent)

Hamish McRae looks to the decade ahead, arguing that 10 years from now, the West will no longer call the shots.

4. University funding: Shape of cuts to come (Guardian)

The Guardian editorial spells out the potential consequences of the 6.6 per cent university cuts, and says that this points the way to a series of major cuts to come.

5. Mandelson's cuts follow years of futile expansion (Times)

Meanwhile, at the Times, Ross Clark argues that Labour has got the universities it deserves after a decade of misguided policy.

6. No time for thought (Daily Telegraph)

Fast-track degree courses will turn the clock back 20 years, and result in a two-tier education system.

7. Apprenticeships alone won't give hope to a lost generation (Independent)

While apprenticeships are a good step in tackling youth unemployment, says Anna Fazackerley, there is no point spending money and effort when they are not useful to the employer.

8. Dark matter holds the key to the universe (Guardian)

We've moved a step closer to understanding the nature of dark matter, writes Paul Davies, and thus transforming our knowledge of the cosmos itself.

9. The Neglected War (Times)

The Times leading article draws attention to Mexico's war on drugs, where celebration has quickly turned to tragedy.

10. Here are a few predictions to keep you going until new year (Independent)

Finally, Steve Richards leaves us with some political predictions for 2010.


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Tony Blair won't endorse the Labour leader - Jeremy Corbyn's fans are celebrating

The thrice-elected Prime Minister is no fan of the new Labour leader. 

Labour heavyweights usually support each other - at least in public. But the former Prime Minister Tony Blair couldn't bring himself to do so when asked on Sky News.

He dodged the question of whether the current Labour leader was the best person to lead the country, instead urging voters not to give Theresa May a "blank cheque". 

If this seems shocking, it's worth remembering that Corbyn refused to say whether he would pick "Trotskyism or Blairism" during the Labour leadership campaign. Corbyn was after all behind the Stop the War Coalition, which opposed Blair's decision to join the invasion of Iraq. 

For some Corbyn supporters, it seems that there couldn't be a greater boon than the thrice-elected PM witholding his endorsement in a critical general election. 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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