CommentPlus: pick of the papers

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

1. Drugs, royals and the lousy laws being rushed through

Johann Hari sets out two law changes that will harm Britain: illegalising mephedrone, which will drive the drug on to the black market, and exempting communications between Charles Windsor and goverment ministers from the Freedom of Information Act.

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2. Only drug dealers will benefit from this absurd ban on mephedrone (Guardian)

Simon Jenkins agrees that prohibition of mephedrone will only serve to drive supply underground, endanger users and make it tougher to wean addicts off harder drugs.

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3. Twelve good men no longer guarantee truth (Times)

As crime gets more sophisticated, sometimes the jury system will not be able to cope. Andy Hayman argues that it would be a good thing if trials by judge alone were more common.

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4. Honesty is the first casualty when there's an election to win (Daily Telegraph)

Jeff Randall bemoans how today's politicians are prepared to say almost anything but the truth. Substance is irrelevant; the goal is simply to nail a rival's "mistake".

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5. The battle for libel reform has only begun (Guardian)

Fresh from yesterday's ruling, Simon Singh writes in the Guardian. While he welcomes the ruling on his article, he calls for further libel reform: the law remains a huge hazard for journalists.

6. Get ready for Vince in No 11 (Independent)

There is a misconception that Nick Clegg will find it difficult to extract concessions from Gordon Brown in a hung parliament, says Sean O'Grady. In fact, a Lib-Lab coalition has the air of inevitability about it.

7. The profit motive has a place in the classroom (Times)

If businesses can help more children to learn, we should let them make money -- and hire and fire teachers, says Philip Collins.

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8. Cameron's big society is bound to become mean (Guardian)

Martin Kettle says that Blair is right to ask where the Tories are centred. Even Cameron's bold, warm vision of localism will of necessity be squeezed into something meaner because of the economic climate.

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9. Hamid Karzai is making some pretty unpleasant friends (Daily Telegraph)

The Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, has an increasingly hostile attitude towards his western backers, writes Con Coughlin. His links to Iran and the Taliban are causing concern.

10. The Pope should reconsider his state visit to Britain (Independent)

The Pope may not be guilty of any crime, but regardless of this, he has failed in his role as pontiff. The leading article calls for him to reconsider his forthcoming visit to the UK. It is the wrong occassion, at the wrong time.

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25 times people used Brexit to attack Muslims since the EU referendum

Some voters appear more interested in expelling Muslims than EU red tape.

In theory, voting for Brexit because you were worried about immigration has nothing to do with Islamophobia. It’s about migrant workers from Eastern Europe undercutting wages. Or worries about border controls. Or the housing crisis. 

The reports collected by an anti-Muslim attack monitor tell a different story. 

Every week, the researchers at Tell Mama receive roughly 40-50 reports of Islamophobic incidences.

But after the EU referendum, they recorded 30 such incidents in three days alone. And many were directly related to Brexit. 

Founder Fiyaz Mughal said there had been a cluster of hate crimes since the vote:

“The Brexit vote seems to have given courage to some with deeply prejudicial and bigoted views that they can air them and target them at predominantly Muslim women and visibly different settled communities.”

Politicians have appeared concerned. On Monday, as MPs grappled with the aftermath of the referendum, the Prime Minister David Cameron stated “loud and clear” that: “Just because we are leaving the European Union, it will not make us a less tolerant, less diverse nation.”

But condemning single racist incidents is easier than taking a political position that appeases the majority and protects the minority at the same time. 

As the incidents recorded make clear, the aggressors made direct links between their vote and the racial abuse they were now publicly shouting.

The way they told it, they had voted for Muslims to “leave”. 
Chair of Tell Mama and former Labour Justice and Communities Minister, Shahid Malik, said:

“With the backdrop of the Brexit vote and the spike in racist incidents that seems to be emerging, the government should be under no illusions, things could quickly become
extremely unpleasant for Britain’s minorities.

“So today more than ever, we need our government, our political parties and of course our media to act with the utmost responsibility and help steer us towards a post-Brexit Britain where xenophobia and hatred are utterly rejected.”

Here are the 25 events that were recorded between 24 and 27 June that directly related to Brexit. Please be aware that some of the language is offensive:

  1. A Welsh Muslim councillor was told to pack her bags and leave.
  2. A man in a petrol station shouted: "You're an Arabic c**t, you're a terrorist" at an Arab driver and stated he “voted them out”. 
  3. A Barnsley man was told to leave and that the aggressor’s parents had voted for people like him to be kicked out.
  4. A woman witnessed a man making victory signs at families at a school where a majority of students are Muslim.
  5. A man shouted, “you f**king Muslim, f**king EU out,” to a woman in Kingston, London. 
  6. An Indian man was called “p**i c**t in a suit” and told to “leave”.
  7. Men circled a Muslim woman in Birmingham and shouted: “Get out - we voted Leave.”
  8. A British Asian mother and her two children were told: "Today is the day we get rid of the likes of you!" by a man who then spat at her. 
  9. A man tweeted that his 13-year-old brother received chants of “bye, bye, you’re going home”.
  10. A van driver chanted “out, out, out”, at a Muslim woman in Broxley, Luton
  11. Muslims in Nottingham were abused in the street with chants of: “Leave Europe. Kick out the Muslims.”
  12. A Muslim woman at King’s Cross, London, had “BREXIT” yelled in her face.
  13. A man in London called a South Asian woman “foreigner” and commented about UKIP.
  14. A man shouted “p**i” and “leave now” at individuals in a London street.
  15. A taxi driver in the West Midlands told a woman his reason for voting Leave was to “get rid of people like you”.
  16. An Indian cyclist was verbally abused and told to “leave now”. 
  17. A man on a bike swore at a Muslim family and muttered something about voting.
  18. In Newport, a Muslim family who had not experienced any trouble before had their front door kicked in.
  19. A South Asian woman in Manchester was told to “speak clearly” and then told “Brexit”. 
  20. A Sikh doctor was told by a patient: “Shouldn’t you be on a plane back to Pakistan? We voted you out.”
  21. An abusive tweet read: “Thousands of raped little White girls by Muslims mean nothing to Z….#Brexit”.
  22. A group of men abused a South Asian man by calling him a “p**i c**t” and telling him to go home after Brexit.
  23. A man shouted at a taxi driver in Derby: "Brexit, you p**i.”
  24. Two men shouted at a Muslim woman walking towards a mosque “muzzies out” and “we voted for you being out.”
  25. A journalist was called a “p**i” in racial abuse apparently linked to Brexit.