CommentPlus: pick of the papers

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

1. The Eurosceptic case for saving the euro (Times)

The crisis in the eurozone is too good an opportunity for Eurosceptics to waste, writes the Tory backbencher John Redwood. In return for helping the single currency to survive, Britain should ask for the repatriation of employment and social powers.

2. Murdoch has to become an elitist (Financial Times)

If Rupert Murdoch's plan to charge readers for online news is to succeed, his titles will have to become more specialist, offering rarer data and information, says John Gapper.

3. Jamaica bleeds for our "war on drugs" (Guardian)

The tragic violence in Jamaica is symptomatic of the failure of the US-led "war on drugs", argues Ben Bowling. The international community must rethink its entire approach if it is to build a lasting peace.

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4. A return to tribalism won't help Labour (Independent)

Labour is showing all too many signs of taking its narrow escape as an endorsement of politics as usual, writes John Rentoul.

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5. Lord, make Labour relevant. But not yet . . . (Times)

Elsewhere, David Aaronovitch says that the danger to Labour is not of madness, but of irrelevance. The leadership election should be about having something important to say.

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6. Voters wanted this harmony, but British politics could turn nasty quickly (Daily Telegraph)

For now, the nation is enthused by its new government and by the spectacle of politicians working together, writes Benedict Brogan. But the inherent contradictions of the coalition and the need for greater legislative detail could soon change this.

7. Cameron's cuts and crisis in the eurozone spell disaster (Guardian)

Plans for "austerity cuts" in Britain and across Europe risk years of economic stagnation and slump, says Seumas Milne.

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8. Cameron's European opportunity (Independent)

Suggesting a possible Nixon-in-China moment, John Lichfield explains why David Cameorn could become the Prime Minister who finally reconciles the British people with Europe.

9. Britain's ballooning prison population is a disastrous mess (Times)

In a severe economic crisis, it is folly to have policies that make the prison population higher than necessary, argues Harry Woolf.

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10. The dark side of China's enduring dream (Financial Times)

China's lightning growth should not blind us to appalling conditions in the country's factories, writes David Pilling.

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The economics of outrage: Why you haven't seen the end of Katie Hopkins

Her distasteful tweet may have cost her a job at LBC, but this isn't the last we've seen of Britain's biggest troll. 

Another atrocity, other surge of grief and fear, and there like clockwork was the UK’s biggest troll. Hours after the explosion at the Manchester Arena that killed 22 mostly young and female concert goers, Katie Hopkins weighed in with a very on-brand tweet calling for a “final solution” to the complex issue of terrorism.

She quickly deleted it, replacing the offending phrase with the words “true solution”, but did not tone down the essentially fascist message. Few thought it had been an innocent mistake on the part of someone unaware of the historical connotations of those two words.  And no matter how many urged their fellow web users not to give Hopkins the attention she craved, it still sparked angry tweets, condemnatory news articles and even reports to the police.

Hopkins has lost her presenting job at LBC radio, but she is yet to lose her column at Mail Online, and it’s quite likely she won’t.

Mail Online and its print counterpart The Daily Mail have regularly shown they are prepared to go down the deliberately divisive path Hopkins was signposting. But even if the site's managing editor Martin Clarke was secretly a liberal sandal-wearer, there are also very good economic reasons for Mail Online to stick with her. The extreme and outrageous is great at gaining attention, and attention is what makes money for Mail Online.

It is ironic that Hopkins’s career was initially helped by TV’s attempts to provide balance. Producers could rely on her to provide a counterweight to even the most committed and rational bleeding-heart liberal.

As Patrick Smith, a former media specialist who is currently a senior reporter at BuzzFeed News points out: “It’s very difficult for producers who are legally bound to be balanced, they will sometimes literally have lawyers in the room.”

“That in a way is why some people who are skirting very close or beyond the bounds of taste and decency get on air.”

But while TV may have made Hopkins, it is online where her extreme views perform best.  As digital publishers have learned, the best way to get the shares, clicks and page views that make them money is to provoke an emotional response. And there are few things as good at provoking an emotional response as extreme and outrageous political views.

And in many ways it doesn’t matter whether that response is negative or positive. Those who complain about what Hopkins says are also the ones who draw attention to it – many will read what she writes in order to know exactly why they should hate her.

Of course using outrageous views as a sales tactic is not confined to the web – The Daily Mail prints columns by Sarah Vine for a reason - but the risks of pushing the boundaries of taste and decency are greater in a linear, analogue world. Cancelling a newspaper subscription or changing radio station is a simpler and often longer-lasting act than pledging to never click on a tempting link on Twitter or Facebook. LBC may have had far more to lose from sticking with Hopkins than Mail Online does, and much less to gain. Someone prepared to say what Hopkins says will not be out of work for long. 

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