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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What Jeremy Corbyn gets right about the single market

Technically, you can be outside the EU but inside the single market. Philosophically, you're still in the EU. 

I’ve been trying to work out what bothers me about the response to Jeremy Corbyn’s interview on the Andrew Marr programme.

What bothers me about Corbyn’s interview is obvious: the use of the phrase “wholesale importation” to describe people coming from Eastern Europe to the United Kingdom makes them sound like boxes of sugar rather than people. Adding to that, by suggesting that this “importation” had “destroy[ed] conditions”, rather than laying the blame on Britain’s under-enforced and under-regulated labour market, his words were more appropriate to a politician who believes that immigrants are objects to be scapegoated, not people to be served. (Though perhaps that is appropriate for the leader of the Labour Party if recent history is any guide.)

But I’m bothered, too, by the reaction to another part of his interview, in which the Labour leader said that Britain must leave the single market as it leaves the European Union. The response to this, which is technically correct, has been to attack Corbyn as Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland are members of the single market but not the European Union.

In my view, leaving the single market will make Britain poorer in the short and long term, will immediately render much of Labour’s 2017 manifesto moot and will, in the long run, be a far bigger victory for right-wing politics than any mere election. Corbyn’s view, that the benefits of freeing a British government from the rules of the single market will outweigh the costs, doesn’t seem very likely to me. So why do I feel so uneasy about the claim that you can be a member of the single market and not the European Union?

I think it’s because the difficult truth is that these countries are, de facto, in the European Union in any meaningful sense. By any estimation, the three pillars of Britain’s “Out” vote were, firstly, control over Britain’s borders, aka the end of the free movement of people, secondly, more money for the public realm aka £350m a week for the NHS, and thirdly control over Britain’s own laws. It’s hard to see how, if the United Kingdom continues to be subject to the free movement of people, continues to pay large sums towards the European Union, and continues to have its laws set elsewhere, we have “honoured the referendum result”.

None of which changes my view that leaving the single market would be a catastrophe for the United Kingdom. But retaining Britain’s single market membership starts with making the argument for single market membership, not hiding behind rhetorical tricks about whether or not single market membership was on the ballot last June, when it quite clearly was. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.