CommentPlus: pick of the papers

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

1. Policy shouldn't be decided by those who shout loudest (Guardian)

Jackie Ashley argues that the government has so few women in it that it's no surprise their interests are absent from debates about the cuts.

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2. Cuts? What cuts? Public spending is rising (Times)

The Conservative MP, John Redwood claims that the idea that the nation must brace itself for savage retrenchment is a misconception. Just look at the facts.

3. The coalition must tackle the shortage of new homes (Daily Telegraph)

Britain's population is going to rise by 10 million over the next 20 years, says Boris Johnson, and it is vital for the government to invest in new housing.

4. A dramatic turn in West Virginia (Financial Times)

Clive Crook reports on a treacherous strategy in the Senate race -- a Democratic candidate is overtly campaigning against Barack Obama.

5. Merkel's own goal (Guardian)

Germany's leader is wrong about multiculturalism, says Philip Oltermann, even though a recent football match may have rattled her.

6. Why must some guilt be collective? (Independent)

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown discusses the burden of representation for black and Asian public figures, who are held to impossibly high standards.

7. A special plea (Times)

All departmental budgets will fall, says the leading article, but cuts to the science budget should be limited.

8. Shock and awe finances (Guardian)

Trade unionist Mark Serwotka argues that no public service cuts are needed, and outlnes a plan to deal with the deficit that is all about jobs, revenue and growth.

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9. Can they cut without killing the recovery? Independent)

The leading article looks ahead to Wednesday's comprehensive spending review, expressing hope that the coalition will show that two heads are better than one.

10. Both China and US are at fault in currency war (Financial Times)

Felipe Larraín fears the potential impact of the currency war on emerging markets in Asia and Latin America.

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Northern Ireland's political crisis ups the stakes for Theresa May

Unionism may be in greater immediate danger in Belfast than Edinburgh.

 Sinn Féin have announced that they will not put forward a candidate for deputy first minister, and barring a miracle, that means today's 4pm deadline for a new power-sharing executive will come and go. What next for Northern Ireland?

While another election is possible, it's not particularly likely. Although another contest might change the political composition at Stormont a little, when the dust settles, once again, the problem will be that the DUP and Sinn Féin are unable to agree terms to resume power-sharing.

That means a decade of devolved rule is ending and direct rule from Westminster is once again upon us. Who benefits? As Patrick explains in greater detail, a period of direct rule might be good news for Sinn Féin, who can go into the next set of elections in  the Republic of Ireland on an anti-austerity platform without the distracting matter of the austerity they are signing off in the North. The change at the top also allows that party to accelerate its move away from the hard men of the north and towards a leadership that is more palatable in the south..

Despite that, the DUP aren't as worried as you might expect. For one thing, a period of devolved rule, when the government at Westminster has a small majority isn't without upside for the DUP, who will continue to exert considerable leverage over May.

But the second factor is a belief that in the last election, Arlene Foster, their leader, flopped on the campaign trail with what was widely derided as a "fear" message about the consequences of the snap election instead of taking responsibility for involvement in the "cash for ash" scandal. That when the votes were cast, the Unionist majority at Stormont was wiped out means that message will have greater resonance next time than it did last time, or at least, that's how the theory runs.

Who's right? Who knows. But for Theresa May, it further ups the stakes for a good Brexit deal, particularly as far as the Irish border is concerned. A lot of the focus - including the PM's - is on her trip to Scotland and the stresses on that part of the Union. It may be that Unionism is in greater immediate danger in Belfast than Edinburgh.

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