CommentPlus: pick of the papers

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

1. Prepare for a big progressive moment -- in the rematch (Guardian)

If Cameron and Clegg do a deal, says Jackie Ashley, Labour needs urgently to change leader, embrace voting reform and get ready to fight the next election, which could come as soon as this autumn.

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2. Lib Dems must talk to the Tories but they have more in common with Labour (Independent)

Andrew Grice points out that many Tories will not feel comfortable working with the Lib Dems, and the feeling is mutual. The party has more in common with Labour on the economy, Europe and constitutional reform.

3. Building bridges is the way to the future (Times)

Ken Macdonald argues that we need to look beyond modern parties to cleanse the political system of its toxins. This need not be frightening for the left -- there are now echoes of liberal values everywhere.

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4. Get Gordon Brown out of the bathroom and deal with the real problems (Daily Telegraph)

We need to avert our eyes from the soap opera and focus on the economy, argues Boris Johnson -- amid all the discussion of changing the voting system, there is a risk we will forget how it works.

5. The new MPs I'm glad to see (Independent)

The election delivered remarkably enlightened results, says Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. The number of black and Asian members of the House has gone up from 14 to 27.

6. The unappealing choices after an inconclusive election (Financial Times)

Niall Ferguson agrees that the economy is paramount, and looks at ways to deal with this simultaneously, fashioning a decent stretch of Conservative government from the unpromising result of this election.

7. The people have spoken. Don't let the markets shout them down (Guardian)

Gary Younge argues that the clash of democracy and capitalism is as acute as ever, as a discredited financial sector seeks to dictate political terms.

8. Just do it (Times)

The editorial argues that, for both David Cameron and Nick Clegg, the benefits of a deal far outweigh the risks. The national interest, and their own, demand that they reach an agreement.

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9. Mr Clegg should act in the national interest (Independent)

There is scope for agreement between the Tories and the Lib Dems, says the leading article, but Clegg should walk away from any deal that doesn't include a cast-iron commitment to comprehensive voting reform.

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10. America has good reason to worry about Greece (Financial Times)

Clive Crook discusses the Greek crisis. Until now, the US has treated Greece as a European problem that could be left to the EU to solve, but parts of that supposition have turned out to be wrong.

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Special offer: get 12 issues for just £5.99 plus a free copy of "Liberty in the Age of Terror" by A C Grayling.

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It's Gary Lineker 1, the Sun 0

The football hero has found himself at the heart of a Twitter storm over the refugee children debate.

The Mole wonders what sort of topsy-turvy universe we now live in where Gary Lineker is suddenly being called a “political activist” by a Conservative MP? Our favourite big-eared football pundit has found himself in a war of words with the Sun newspaper after wading into the controversy over the age of the refugee children granted entry into Britain from Calais.

Pictures published earlier this week in the right-wing press prompted speculation over the migrants' “true age”, and a Tory MP even went as far as suggesting that these children should have their age verified by dental X-rays. All of which leaves your poor Mole with a deeply furrowed brow. But luckily the British Dental Association was on hand to condemn the idea as unethical, inaccurate and inappropriate. Phew. Thank God for dentists.

Back to old Big Ears, sorry, Saint Gary, who on Wednesday tweeted his outrage over the Murdoch-owned newspaper’s scaremongering coverage of the story. He smacked down the ex-English Defence League leader, Tommy Robinson, in a single tweet, calling him a “racist idiot”, and went on to defend his right to express his opinions freely on his feed.

The Sun hit back in traditional form, calling for Lineker to be ousted from his job as host of the BBC’s Match of the Day. The headline they chose? “Out on his ears”, of course, referring to the sporting hero’s most notable assets. In the article, the tabloid lays into Lineker, branding him a “leftie luvvie” and “jug-eared”. The article attacked him for describing those querying the age of the young migrants as “hideously racist” and suggested he had breached BBC guidelines on impartiality.

All of which has prompted calls for a boycott of the Sun and an outpouring of support for Lineker on Twitter. His fellow football hero Stan Collymore waded in, tweeting that he was on “Team Lineker”. Leading the charge against the Murdoch-owned title was the close ally of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and former Channel 4 News economics editor, Paul Mason, who tweeted:

Lineker, who is not accustomed to finding himself at the centre of such highly politicised arguments on social media, responded with typical good humour, saying he had received a bit of a “spanking”.

All of which leaves the Mole with renewed respect for Lineker and an uncharacteristic desire to watch this weekend’s Match of the Day to see if any trace of his new activist persona might surface.


I'm a mole, innit.