Morning Call: pick of the comment

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

1. A Greek crisis is coming to America (Financial Times)

Niall Ferguson writes that Greece's troubles are indicative of the wider fiscal crisis in the western world. The difficulty will soon spread to Britain and, most dangerously, to the US.

2. Greek tragedy won't end in the euro's death (Times)

Elsewhere, Anatole Kaletsky says that all the conditions are in place for an EU bailout of Greece, but southern Europe's economies are likely to suffer for years.

3. The tide has turned, and the Tories are swimming against it (Independent)

Steve Richards predicts that a Conservative government will struggle to reverse the shift away from market economics.

4. One in five could actually be a winning endorsement (Guardian)

John Harris warns that at the next election, with turnout falling below 50 per cent, a party with the support of less than 20 per cent of the electorate is likely to take office.

5. To win, Cameron must convince the public to trust politicians again (Daily Telegraph)

To earn trust in the post-expenses age, David Cameron must avoid headline-grabbing gimmicks, says Benedict Brogan.

6. The sight of Ukraine's lumpen victor should stir the EU's own into action (Guardian)

Timothy Garton Ash argues that the election of Viktor Yanukovich as Ukraine's president may show that the country is becoming a serious democracy.

7. Where war goes, propaganda follows (Independent)

Government manipulation of the news has become easier since insurgents started targeting journalists, writes Patrick Cockburn.

8. We must not ignore human rights in Iran (Financial Times)

The west should focus on challenging Iran's human rights record rather than imposing new sanctions, argues Trita Parsi.

9. Amnesty shouldn't support men like Moazzam Begg (Independent)

Joan Smith says that Amnesty International must not allow its name to be used to lend legitimacy to those who oppose human rights.

10. The army cannot carry its wounded for ever (Times)

Doug Beattie writes that the British army can no longer be expected to care for seriously injured troops. We must do more to prepare soldiers for civilian life.

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How Theresa May laid a trap for herself on the immigration target

When Home Secretary, she insisted on keeping foreign students in the figures – causing a headache for herself today.

When Home Secretary, Theresa May insisted that foreign students should continue to be counted in the overall immigration figures. Some cabinet colleagues, including then Business Secretary Vince Cable and Chancellor George Osborne wanted to reverse this. It was economically illiterate. Current ministers, like the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Chancellor Philip Hammond and Home Secretary Amber Rudd, also want foreign students exempted from the total.

David Cameron’s government aimed to cut immigration figures – including overseas students in that aim meant trying to limit one of the UK’s crucial financial resources. They are worth £25bn to the UK economy, and their fees make up 14 per cent of total university income. And the impact is not just financial – welcoming foreign students is diplomatically and culturally key to Britain’s reputation and its relationship with the rest of the world too. Even more important now Brexit is on its way.

But they stayed in the figures – a situation that, along with counterproductive visa restrictions also introduced by May’s old department, put a lot of foreign students off studying here. For example, there has been a 44 per cent decrease in the number of Indian students coming to Britain to study in the last five years.

Now May’s stubbornness on the migration figures appears to have caught up with her. The Times has revealed that the Prime Minister is ready to “soften her longstanding opposition to taking foreign students out of immigration totals”. It reports that she will offer to change the way the numbers are calculated.

Why the u-turn? No 10 says the concession is to ensure the Higher and Research Bill, key university legislation, can pass due to a Lords amendment urging the government not to count students as “long-term migrants” for “public policy purposes”.

But it will also be a factor in May’s manifesto pledge (and continuation of Cameron’s promise) to cut immigration to the “tens of thousands”. Until today, ministers had been unclear about whether this would be in the manifesto.

Now her u-turn on student figures is being seized upon by opposition parties as “massaging” the migration figures to meet her target. An accusation for which May only has herself, and her steadfast politicising of immigration, to blame.

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.

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