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CommentPlus: pick of the papers

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

1. Israel slapped America -- and may have jolted Obama awake (Guardian)

Jonathan Freedland says that the row over Vice-President Joe Biden's visit gives Washington the chance to dispense with endless talks about process, and push for real peace.

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2. Obama must be robust with Israel (Financial Times)

The FT editorial agrees that Israeli politicians have a tendency to take the US for granted, and settlements make the possibility of peace more remote.

3. Obama is bashing on the brick wall of unlogic (Times)

Over at the Times, Giles Whittell thinks that Obama's main problems are the health bill -- if it fails, everyone loses except shameless vested interests -- and opportunist Republicans.

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4. You'd have thought Cameron had learned from Blair's past (Independent)

Wielding power through by a small cabal of chums, apart from providing poor government, is a wildly unpopular idea, says Matthew Norman. The public's preference for a hung parliament shows its desire for decentralised power.

5. Labour has taken 13 years of diabolical liberties with Britain (Daily Telegraph)

Simon Heffer looks at the erosion of civil liberties under Labour, arguing that although individualism and autonomy used to be prized, governance is now about the power to prevent rather than the power to enable.

6. Unite workers! You're in Mr Brown's pocket (Times)

Daniel Finkelstein discusses the long relationship between Labour and Unite, saying that power is what matters to this enormous union, not airy-fairy ideals.

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7. Ground this munificent man and his lobbying machine (Guardian)

Simon Jenkins's take on the British Airways dispute is that the preference given to it by ministers, a hangover from the days when it was a nationalised asset, must be stamped out.

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8. A hung parliament would not be a disaster for Britain (Independent)

The leading article looks at the potential benefits of a hung parliament, saying that it need not result in political deadlock or financial stasis.

9. Towards the empathic civilisation (Financial Times)

Jeremy Rifkin says we are on the verge of a seismic shift -- while the Industrial Revolution was characterised by ideology and nation-state governance, now we must become a global family.

10. Politics ABC (Times)

The Ieading article asks whether it is right to spend more on toddlers (through the Sure Start scheme), in pursuit of social mobility, when a quarter of a million students may be denied a university place this year.

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