Morning Call: pick of the comment

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

1. David Cameron's Tories are a one-man band that's playing out of tune (Daily Telegraph)

Simon Heffer doubts whether Cameron's shadow cabinet will stand up to the scrutiny of an election campaign.

2. The election of a lifetime: maybe not. But the stakes are too high to tune out (Guardian)

Jonathan Freedland argues that the election will be a far more ideological contest than most commentators suggest. Labour and the Tories have utterly different conceptions of the role of government.

3. Labour has no cure for its binge hangover (Times)

Alice Thomson says that the government's latest action plan will again fail to reverse the damage done by 24-hour drinking.

4. Naval nostalgia and edgy kit are no basis for sane defence (Guardian)

Simon Jenkins argues that the head of the army, Sir David Richards, is right to dismiss the navy and air force as strategically obsolete.

5. Objections I never heard in 2003 (Independent)

The Labour MP Denis MacShane says that many of those who now excoriate Tony Blair over Iraq nevertheless supported the invasion at the time.

6. Kraft's takeover leaves a bitter taste in the mouth (Daily Telegraph)

Tracy Corrigan predicts that investors in both companies -- and the British economy -- will lose out in the US food giant's takeover of Cadbury.

7. How smoking shines a light on pack loyalty (Times)

Daniel Finkelstein says that group identity is just as important as economic incentive to the way we behave.

8. Beijing has seen the future and knows it must be green (Guardian)

Isabel Hilton argues that while China is investing in clean technology, debate on climate change in the US remains stuck in the 1950s.

9. Muslims know a fatwa can support peace rather than terrorism (Independent)

Shahid Mursaleen says that the latest edict against terrorism proves that suicide bombing is unequivocally un-Islamic.

10. A simpler protest than Billy Bragg's wheeze: switch banks (Guardian)

John Harris suggests that opening a Co-operative account is a far better way of taking action against the banks than withholding your taxes.


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En français, s'il vous plaît! EU lead negotiator wants to talk Brexit in French

C'est très difficile. 

In November 2015, after the Paris attacks, Theresa May said: "Nous sommes solidaires avec vous, nous sommes tous ensemble." ("We are in solidarity with you, we are all together.")

But now the Prime Minister might have to brush up her French and take it to a much higher level.

Reuters reports the EU's lead Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, would like to hold the talks in French, not English (an EU spokeswoman said no official language had been agreed). 

As for the Home office? Aucun commentaire.

But on Twitter, British social media users are finding it all très amusant.

In the UK, foreign language teaching has suffered from years of neglect. The government may regret this now . . .

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