CommentPlus: pick of the papers

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

1. Novelty won't sustain this alliance (Independent)

David Cameron has always been a brilliant choreographer, and he will manage the Tory right and the Lib Dem left with attentive charm. However, Steve Richards points out, ideology does matter, and the coalition cannot last long.

Read the CommentPlus summary.

2. Cameron's daring will change politics for ever (Times)

Daniel Finkelstein argues that a Tory partnership with the Liberal Democrats has wiped out the anti-Conservative majority at a stroke. Cameron now has the potential to lift himself and the party above normal partisan politics.

Read the CommentPlus summary.

3. The political infighting won't be over until we have another election (Daily Telegraph)

Simon Heffer predicts that the coalition government will be unsatisfactory and short-lived. The parties have agreed to the pact, but neither will like what it means in practice.

Read the CommentPlus summary.

4. Congratulations, Mr Cameron. Now learn the lessons of a dismal campaign (Guardian)

Tim Montgomerie looks back at the Conservative election campaign. The Tory leader is No 10-bound, but a sensible strategy would have put him there last week with no need for alliances

5. A coalition with the Tories comes with huge risks for Clegg (Independent)

One of the paradoxes of the third party is that it wanted and yet feared a hung parliament, observes Andrew Grice, who explores the negotiating process of the past few days. Was Nick Clegg's true intention always to do a deal with the Tories?

Read the CommentPlus summary.

6. Brace yourself, Britain, for higher taxation (Financial Times)

The British have no appetite for fewer public services, but, as John Kay points out, Britain cannot aspire to continental European levels of public services with lower tax rates. Much of the rebalancing of public finances will come from higher taxes.

Read the CommentPlus summary.

7. As a fraught Tory-Lib Dem era begins, Labour must renew itself once more (Guardian)

Cameron has limped into No 10 and Clegg may pay heavily in vote losses for the Lib Dems. But now, argues Jonathan Freedland, Labour, recast as truly progressive, can forge a bright future for itself.

Read the CommentPlus summary.

8. Labour's leadership needs the stamp of a genuinely new era (Independent)

Donald Macintyre argues that Labour needs to occupy the opposition benches with its taste for power intact, as it failed to do after Margaret Thatcher's victory in 1979.

9. Stop making sacrifices to the market gods (Times)

Anatole Kaletsky warns that politicians are being bullied into making rash decisions to satisfy arbitrary deadlines laid down by supposedly implacable financial markets. Instead, more attention should be paid to deeper economic and business interests.

Read the CommentPlus summary.

10. Governments up the stakes in their fight with markets (Financial Times)

The eurozone must create a system that recognises and responds to reality, writes Martin Wolf. In the eurozone's first crisis, governments must confront big choices -- including the need for greater integration or disintegration.

Read the CommentPlus summary.

Sign up now to CommentPlus for the pick of the day's opinion, comment and analysis in your inbox at 8am, every weekday.

 

 

Photo: Getty
Show Hide image

Who will win in Manchester Gorton?

Will Labour lose in Manchester Gorton?

The death of Gerald Kaufman will trigger a by-election in his Manchester Gorton seat, which has been Labour-held since 1935.

Coming so soon after the disappointing results in Copeland – where the seat was lost to the Tories – and Stoke – where the party lost vote share – some overly excitable commentators are talking up the possibility of an upset in the Manchester seat.

But Gorton is very different to Stoke-on-Trent and to Copeland. The Labour lead is 56 points, compared to 16.5 points in Stoke-on-Trent and 6.5 points in Copeland. (As I’ve written before and will doubtless write again, it’s much more instructive to talk about vote share rather than vote numbers in British elections. Most of the country tends to vote in the same way even if they vote at different volumes.)

That 47 per cent of the seat's residents come from a non-white background and that the Labour party holds every council seat in the constituency only adds to the party's strong position here. 

But that doesn’t mean that there is no interest to be had in the contest at all. That the seat voted heavily to remain in the European Union – around 65 per cent according to Chris Hanretty’s estimates – will provide a glimmer of hope to the Liberal Democrats that they can finish a strong second, as they did consistently from 1992 to 2010, before slumping to fifth in 2015.

How they do in second place will inform how jittery Labour MPs with smaller majorities and a history of Liberal Democrat activity are about Labour’s embrace of Brexit.

They also have a narrow chance of becoming competitive should Labour’s selection turn acrimonious. The seat has been in special measures since 2004, which means the selection will be run by the party’s national executive committee, though several local candidates are tipped to run, with Afzal Khan,  a local MEP, and Julie Reid, a local councillor, both expected to run for the vacant seats.

It’s highly unlikely but if the selection occurs in a way that irritates the local party or provokes serious local in-fighting, you can just about see how the Liberal Democrats give everyone a surprise. But it’s about as likely as the United States men landing on Mars any time soon – plausible, but far-fetched. 

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