CommentPlus: pick of the papers

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

1. The two-faced Tories can't have it both ways (Times)

If Britain really is on the brink of bankruptcy, we can't protect every spending programme, says Anatole Kaletsky. The Tories should say so, but their entire election strategy appears to consist of blatantly contradictory messages.

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2. I long for a real Labour voice to slam this City-fearing trio (Guardian)

Simon Jenkins says the Ask the Chancellors debate proved that Alistair Darling, George Osborne and Vince Cable still don't see that they were conned into propping up the banks at our expense. Without a true voice of the left, the argument is dead.

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3. It's the geriatrics wot will win the Ovaltine Election (Independent)

This is not a young country, but a very old one that is feeling its age more than ever. Matthew Norman discusses the chancellors' TV debate, and says Osborne's relative youth counted against him.

4. The Tories will be the only ones to benefit from public debates (Daily Telegraph)

Bruce Anderson agrees that Osborne looked too youthful, but defends "flashes of intellect and steel", saying that the government's spin and cynicism will ultimately be exposed by the TV cameras in the leaders' debates.

5. The ghost of Section 28 (Guardian)

Martin Popplewell, who conducted David Cameron's distastrous interview on gay rights with, says the Tories must do more if they want the gay voters who deserted the party to return.

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6. Why Germany cannot be a model for the eurozone (Financial Times)

Last week's European Council was not a solution but a fudge, says Martin Wolf. It shows a worrying unwillingness to accept default and, more importantly, that Germany's views on how the eurozone should work are wrong.

7. Women are at the heart of US foreign policy (Times)

The US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, writes about global women's rights, saying that America views the subjugation of women as a threat to US law and order and the common security of the world.

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8. Social care needs a rational and fair system of funding (Independent)

Present arrangements for care of the elderly are unworthy of a civilised country, says the leading article. Yesterday's white paper is welcome because it puts the argument about social care squarely on to the electoral agenda, but the question of funding must be tackled.

9. The pontiff is not so potent (Guardian)

Andrew Brown argues that the shape of the world's oldest living bureaucracy, the Catholic Church, is very much misunderstood.

10. Hermit economics hobbles Pyongyang (Financial Times)

Aidan Foster-Carter discusses North Korea, saying that the pariah state's decision-making is going from bad to worse. The path Kim Jong-il is on is patently a dead end.

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Tony Blair won't endorse the Labour leader - Jeremy Corbyn's fans are celebrating

The thrice-elected Prime Minister is no fan of the new Labour leader. 

Labour heavyweights usually support each other - at least in public. But the former Prime Minister Tony Blair couldn't bring himself to do so when asked on Sky News.

He dodged the question of whether the current Labour leader was the best person to lead the country, instead urging voters not to give Theresa May a "blank cheque". 

If this seems shocking, it's worth remembering that Corbyn refused to say whether he would pick "Trotskyism or Blairism" during the Labour leadership campaign. Corbyn was after all behind the Stop the War Coalition, which opposed Blair's decision to join the invasion of Iraq. 

For some Corbyn supporters, it seems that there couldn't be a greater boon than the thrice-elected PM witholding his endorsement in a critical general election. 

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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