CommentPlus: pick of the papers

The ten must-read pieces from the Sunday papers.

1. The country's renewal is being betrayed by cheap, paltry politics (Observer)

The interminable row over National Insurance is a sideshow, says Will Hutton. Instead, we need an honest discussion about how to rebalance the economy away from financial services.

2. Cameron is cheeky, but right (Independent on Sunday)

David Cameron's pitch for the Guardian vote may be cheeky but it is clever, writes John Rentoul. His plan to introduce a public-sector pay multiple is a small step in the right direction.

3. Joker David Cameron is having a laugh (Sunday Mirror)

Elsewhere, the New Statesman editor, Jason Cowley, says that Cameron's repeated claim that Britain is "broken" proves that the Tory leader is behind the curve. Labour must continue to chip away at the façade of Tory moderation.

4. Who's more honest: voters or politicians? (Sunday Times)

Many have written that voters deserve more honesty from the politicians on the economy but this ignores the inconsistency of public opinion, says Martin Ivens. Everyone applauded George Osborne for the honesty of his austerity message, but voters soon became uneasy about "Tory cuts".

5. Will someone please tell us the truth? (Sunday Telegraph)

But elsewhere, Janet Daley argues that voters are desperate for a politician to admit that tax-and-spend has well and truly reached its endgame.

6. It's not the answers that will win this election, it's the questions (Observer)

The parties are launching their manifestos this week but they will offer us little guidance on what they would do in power, says Andrew Rawnsley. None of them will be honest about spending cuts and they cannot anticipate great events such as 9/11.

7. Obama -- the idealist turns assassin (Independent on Sunday)

Barack Obama's decision to authorise the "targeted killing" of the Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki shows how he has changed since his days as a civil rights lawyer, says Joan Smith.

8. Tories turn up the heat in week one (Sunday Times)

The Tories may be evasive, but they recognise that business leaders and the electorate are tired of paying ever more tax to fund a bloated public sector, argues a leader in the Sunday Times.

9. Out of one nation's catastrophe comes a clarion call for honesty (Observer)

Iceland's plan to create a safe haven for investigative journalism is a huge boost for free speech, writes Henry Porter.

10. Supreme Court will miss its impish inquisitor-in-chief
(Independent on Sunday)

The retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens leaves Obama with the political headache of finding a worthy replacement, writes Rupert Cornwell.

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Benn vs McDonnell: how Brexit has exposed the fight over Labour's party machine

In the wake of Brexit, should Labour MPs listen more closely to voters, or their own party members?

Two Labour MPs on primetime TV. Two prominent politicians ruling themselves out of a Labour leadership contest. But that was as far as the similarity went.

Hilary Benn was speaking hours after he resigned - or was sacked - from the Shadow Cabinet. He described Jeremy Corbyn as a "good and decent man" but not a leader.

Framing his overnight removal as a matter of conscience, Benn told the BBC's Andrew Marr: "I no longer have confidence in him [Corbyn] and I think the right thing to do would be for him to take that decision."

In Benn's view, diehard leftie pin ups do not go down well in the real world, or on the ballot papers of middle England. 

But while Benn may be drawing on a New Labour truism, this in turn rests on the assumption that voters matter more than the party members when it comes to winning elections.

That assumption was contested moments later by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell.

Dismissive of the personal appeal of Shadow Cabinet ministers - "we can replace them" - McDonnell's message was that Labour under Corbyn had rejuvenated its electoral machine.

Pointing to success in by-elections and the London mayoral election, McDonnell warned would-be rebels: "Who is sovereign in our party? The people who are soverign are the party members. 

"I'm saying respect the party members. And in that way we can hold together and win the next election."

Indeed, nearly a year on from Corbyn's surprise election to the Labour leadership, it is worth remembering he captured nearly 60% of the 400,000 votes cast. Momentum, the grassroots organisation formed in the wake of his success, now has more than 50 branches around the country.

Come the next election, it will be these grassroots members who will knock on doors, hand out leaflets and perhaps even threaten to deselect MPs.

The question for wavering Labour MPs will be whether what they trust more - their own connection with voters, or this potentially unbiddable party machine.