CommentPlus: pick of the papers

The ten must-read pieces from the Sunday papers.

1. Modern capitalism is at a moral dead end. And the bosses are to blame (Observer)

Will Hutton argues that capitalism will continue to be demonised while our CEOs -- so well paid that they occupy a different world from the rest of us -- refuse to put their own corrupt house in order.

2. Can religion rescue Dave's Big Society? (Independent on Sunday)

David Cameron wants a return to volunteering, but a weakened church, the welfare state and Thatcherism make that a tall order, writes Cole Moreton.

3. The Big Society is irresistible, but do we have the time? (Sunday Telegraph)

One reason that we evolved representative democracy is the difficulty of making the attractive ideal of politically engaged citizens into a reality, says Alasdair Palmer. Staying in a job while being a good parent is demanding enough for most people.

4. Educating children should not be for profit (Observer)

Hundreds of companies already profit from our education system, says the paper's editorial, but learning has always been separate from the forces of the free market, and that's how it should stay.

5. Mandelson is losing the spin game (Sunday Times)

The editorial argues that the tide has turned this week, and discusses factors that might have led to the Times/YouGov poll today showing the Tories with a 10-point lead.

6. David Cameron as Gene Hunt? Labour must be living life on Mars (Sunday Telegraph)

Matthew d'Ancona agrees, saying that besides the wounds that Labour inflicted on itself -- including the woeful winning campaign poster from a public competition -- the past week has been the Tories' best in a long while.

7. One of the above (Independent on Sunday)

The Independent on Sunday launches a campaign to get people to vote, amid expectations of a lower than ever turnout, reflecting the public's antipathy -- a positive hostility stronger than mere apathy -- towards politicians.

8. The tower and the Olympic curse (Sunday Times)

Dominic Lawson adds his voice to the cacophony of disapproval for Anish Kapoor's Olympic tower. In its bombast and excess, he says, the monument is in perfect harmony with what the Games have become.

9. Actually, Ms Lumley, you should apologise, too (Observer)

Joanna Lumley is right to be angry at the treatment of Gurkhas, says Nick Cohen, but she must understand that her campaign has flaws, too.

10. Wrong again, m'lud -- and now you're getting my back up (Sunday Times)

Mr Justice Eady has been criticised for his judgment in the Simon Singh case. This is not the first time, says Rod Liddle, yet Eady is often the high court judge presiding over media cases, and wields greater influence than he should.

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Like it or hate it, it doesn't matter: Brexit is happening, and we've got to make a success of it

It's time to stop complaining and start campaigning, says Stella Creasy.

A shortage of Marmite, arguments over exporting jam and angry Belgians. And that’s just this month.  As the Canadian trade deal stalls, and the government decides which cottage industry its will pick next as saviour for the nation, the British people are still no clearer getting an answer to what Brexit actually means. And they are also no clearer as to how they can have a say in how that question is answered.

To date there have been three stages to Brexit. The first was ideological: an ever-rising euroscepticism, rooted in a feeling that the costs the compromises working with others require were not comparable to the benefits. It oozed out, almost unnoticed, from its dormant home deep in the Labour left and the Tory right, stoked by Ukip to devastating effect.

The second stage was the campaign of that referendum itself: a focus on immigration over-riding a wider debate about free trade, and underpinned by the tempting and vague claim that, in an unstable, unfair world, control could be taken back. With any deal dependent on the agreement of twenty eight other countries, it has already proved a hollow victory.

For the last few months, these consequences of these two stages have dominated discussion, generating heat, but not light about what happens next. Neither has anything helped to bring back together those who feel their lives are increasingly at the mercy of a political and economic elite and those who fear Britain is retreating from being a world leader to a back water.

Little wonder the analogy most commonly and easily reached for by commentators has been that of a divorce. They speculate our coming separation from our EU partners is going to be messy, combative and rancorous. Trash talk from some - including those in charge of negotiating -  further feeds this perception. That’s why it is time for all sides to push onto Brexit part three: the practical stage. How and when is it actually going to happen?

A more constructive framework to use than marriage is one of a changing business, rather than a changing relationship. Whatever the solid economic benefits of EU membership, the British people decided the social and democratic costs had become too great. So now we must adapt.

Brexit should be as much about innovating in what we make and create as it is about seeking to renew our trading deals with the world. New products must be sought alongside new markets. This doesn’t have to mean cutting corners or cutting jobs, but it does mean being prepared to learn new skills and invest in helping those in industries that are struggling to make this leap to move on. The UK has an incredible and varied set of services and products to offer the world, but will need to focus on what we do well and uniquely here to thrive. This is easier said than done, but can also offer hope. Specialising and skilling up also means we can resist those who want us to jettison hard-won environmental and social protections as an alternative. 

Most accept such a transition will take time. But what is contested is that it will require openness. However, handing the public a done deal - however well mediated - will do little to address the division within our country. Ensuring the best deal in a way that can garner the public support it needs to work requires strong feedback channels. That is why transparency about the government's plans for Brexit is so important. Of course, a balance needs to be struck with the need to protect negotiating positions, but scrutiny by parliament- and by extension the public- will be vital. With so many differing factors at stake and choices to be made, MPs have to be able and willing to bring their constituents into the discussion not just about what Brexit actually entails, but also what kind of country Britain will be during and after the result - and their role in making it happen. 

Those who want to claim the engagement of parliament and the public undermines the referendum result are still in stages one and two of this debate, looking for someone to blame for past injustices, not building a better future for all. Our Marmite may be safe for the moment, but Brexit can’t remain a love it or hate it phenomenon. It’s time for everyone to get practical.