Morning Call: pick of the comment

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

1. Don't write Japan off. The giant is stirring (Times)

The former Economist editor Bill Emmott says Japan has begun a political revolution that has the potential to bring economic strength back, too.

2. Obama can't afford to sit this one out (Independent)

The US must intervene decisively to break the Israeli-Palestinian impasse, says Donald Macintyre.

3. You are right to be angry. The banks should have to pay for state backing (Guardian)

The City minister Paul Myners argues that we need to re-examine an economic model that privileges investment banks over businesses and workers.

4. Don't let glacier howler cloud bigger picture (Times)

Mark Lynas argues that the IPCC's mistake with the Himalayan glaciers does not invalidate an entire body of knowledge.

5. Something blue (Financial Times)

A leader argues that David Cameron was wrong to cite the Edlington attacks as fresh evidence of the "broken society". Such rare incidents reveal nothing about the broader condition of Britain.

6. The trouble with the A word (Guardian)

John Harris says that if politicians insist on employing that tired cliché, "aspiration", we're going to need a fleshed-out definition.

7. Capitalism's conservator (Times)

A leader praises Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, for preventing the US recession from turning into a depression, and says he deserves a second term.

8. Don't underestimate the huge scale of this bloody trade (Independent)

Robbie Marsland warns that the ban on the ivory trade has been undermined and says that the EU alone has the power to save or doom the elephant.

9. Zoom in on Team Cameron. At best it's a blotchy close-up (Guardian)

Jackie Ashley says that antipathy towards Labour has allowed vast holes in Tory policy on marriage, Europe and climate change to go unexamined.

10. Stop pining for life on Pandora and come back to Planet Earth (Daily Telegraph)

Boris Johnson says there is nothing remotely new about the plot or politics of Avatar. The story is rooted in just about every film Hollywood made about cowboys and Indians.


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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.