Morning Call: pick of the comment

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

1. Why China is stoking war of words with US (Times)

Beijing's belligerence is a diversionary tactic, says Bill Emmott. China's economy is not doing as well as we think, and there's nothing like nationalist outrage to sweeten unpopular economic reform.

2. We should watch bankers as closely as we do politicians (Guardian)

Jackie Ashley says that no one should be above the law, and calls for equality of scrutiny. There should be a bright lamp shining in boardrooms and on tax havens, as well as legislatures.

3. Tories may wobble but Brown remains their strongest asset (Independent)

The party needs an attack dog to take on Peter Mandelson, says Bruce Anderson. That's not David Cameron's role -- he should leave the negative campaigning to others.

4. General Election 2010: Fewer MPs would be fairer to all parties (Telegraph)

If Gordon Brown wants electoral reform, he should make constituencies the same size and rebalance representation between urban and rural areas, argues Philip Johnston.

5. Britain can learn the "rules" of a hung parliament (Financial Times)

Minority governments are perceived at Westminster as weak, unstable and short term. But, says Robert Hazell, they need not be if parties abandon their majoritarian mindset.

6. Corruption is the killer that we all ignore (Times)

BAE Systems has escaped prosecution for bribery. Richard Dowden asks where that decision leaves the poor of Africa.

7. Our vital contribution in Zimbabwe (Guardian)

Rowan Williams and John Sentamu describe the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe. It has an uneven record, they say, but is now leading reconstruction.

8. Diplomacy has not yet run its course with Iran (Independent)

The leading article says that the world should tread carefully over Tehran's nuclear programme, showing that international law must be respected, without playing into the hands of hardliners.

9. Will Tehran choose the Tiananmen solution? (Times)

Amir Taheri looks ahead to protests expected in Iran this week, when we'll learn how much blood the regime is willing to spill -- and how tough the west can afford to be.

10. Republicans and the politics of No (Financial Times)

The US Republicans have made extraordinary gains against the Democrats, says Clive Crook. But while they have united in opposition, they have not replaced their differences with a coherent strategy.

 

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Lord Sainsbury pulls funding from Progress and other political causes

The longstanding Labour donor will no longer fund party political causes. 

Centrist Labour MPs face a funding gap for their ideas after the longstanding Labour donor Lord Sainsbury announced he will stop financing party political causes.

Sainsbury, who served as a New Labour minister and also donated to the Liberal Democrats, is instead concentrating on charitable causes. 

Lord Sainsbury funded the centrist organisation Progress, dubbed the “original Blairite pressure group”, which was founded in mid Nineties and provided the intellectual underpinnings of New Labour.

The former supermarket boss is understood to still fund Policy Network, an international thinktank headed by New Labour veteran Peter Mandelson.

He has also funded the Remain campaign group Britain Stronger in Europe. The latter reinvented itself as Open Britain after the Leave vote, and has campaigned for a softer Brexit. Its supporters include former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and Labour's Chuka Umunna, and it now relies on grassroots funding.

Sainsbury said he wished to “hand the baton on to a new generation of donors” who supported progressive politics. 

Progress director Richard Angell said: “Progress is extremely grateful to Lord Sainsbury for the funding he has provided for over two decades. We always knew it would not last forever.”

The organisation has raised a third of its funding target from other donors, but is now appealing for financial support from Labour supporters. Its aims include “stopping a hard-left take over” of the Labour party and “renewing the ideas of the centre-left”. 

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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