CommentPlus: pick of the papers

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

1. Lord Hutton's public sector pension reform is long overdue (Daily Telegraph)

The leading article argues that public sector pension schemes were designed for another era, when few people lived far beyond retirement age.

2. The real pensions divide (Independent)

Public sector pension reform is necessary, this leading article agress, but the same is true of private sector schemes.

3.Ed Miliband's leadership will be lonely, but his politics are sound (Guardian)

John Harris points out that of the 49 people who ran for the shadow cabinet, only nine backed this Miliband. He must not let this dilute his radicalism.

4. Conference is over but the real debate is online (Times) (£)

Few grassroots Tories had a say in Birmingham, says Time Montgomerie, but the internet is now a better measure of their true feelings.

5. The impoverished fiscal debate (Financial Times) (£)

Samuel Brittain maintains that it is not so urgent to cut the deficit when recovery is far from assured.

6. Between "fairness" and rough justice (Independent)

David Cameron's attempt to design "fair" cuts seems outwardly attractive, says Michael Brown, but he is unwittingly ceding philosophical ground to his political opponents.

7. The price of cheap labour (Guardian)

Ending Britain's reliance on overseas workers will require far more than a cap on immigration, say Bridget Anderson and Martin Ruhs.

8. Let the people control the money (Times) (£)

The "big society" is a powerful idea that is being waffled into oblivion, says Philip Collins. The Prime Minister's words need to be attached to a policy.

9. Caught between bombing Iran and an Iranian bomb (Financial Times) (£)

Philip Stephens warns that if Tehran succeeds in its ambition, it will probably start a nuclear race, making the Middle East -- and the world -- a much more dangerous place.

10. Inequality causes headaches in Beijing (Guardian)

China's "grey economy" may help handbag sales, says Isabel Hilton, but it reveals dizzyingly high levels of inequality.

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Voters are turning against Brexit but the Lib Dems aren't benefiting

Labour's pro-Brexit stance is not preventing it from winning the support of Remainers. Will that change?

More than a year after the UK voted for Brexit, there has been little sign of buyer's remorse. The public, including around a third of Remainers, are largely of the view that the government should "get on with it".

But as real wages are squeezed (owing to the Brexit-linked inflationary spike) there are tentative signs that the mood is changing. In the event of a second referendum, an Opinium/Observer poll found, 47 per cent would vote Remain, compared to 44 per cent for Leave. Support for a repeat vote is also increasing. Forty one per cent of the public now favour a second referendum (with 48 per cent opposed), compared to 33 per cent last December. 

The Liberal Democrats have made halting Brexit their raison d'être. But as public opinion turns, there is no sign they are benefiting. Since the election, Vince Cable's party has yet to exceed single figures in the polls, scoring a lowly 6 per cent in the Opinium survey (down from 7.4 per cent at the election). 

What accounts for this disparity? After their near-extinction in 2015, the Lib Dems remain either toxic or irrelevant to many voters. Labour, by contrast, despite its pro-Brexit stance, has hoovered up Remainers (55 per cent back Jeremy Corbyn's party). 

In some cases, this reflects voters' other priorities. Remainers are prepared to support Labour on account of the party's stances on austerity, housing and education. Corbyn, meanwhile, is a eurosceptic whose internationalism and pro-migration reputation endear him to EU supporters. Other Remainers rewarded Labour MPs who voted against Article 50, rebelling against the leadership's stance. 

But the trend also partly reflects ignorance. By saying little on the subject of Brexit, Corbyn and Labour allowed Remainers to assume the best. Though there is little evidence that voters will abandon Corbyn over his EU stance, the potential exists.

For this reason, the proposal of a new party will continue to recur. By challenging Labour over Brexit, without the toxicity of Lib Dems, it would sharpen the choice before voters. Though it would not win an election, a new party could force Corbyn to soften his stance on Brexit or to offer a second referendum (mirroring Ukip's effect on the Conservatives).

The greatest problem for the project is that it lacks support where it counts: among MPs. For reasons of tribalism and strategy, there is no emergent "Gang of Four" ready to helm a new party. In the absence of a new convulsion, the UK may turn against Brexit without the anti-Brexiteers benefiting. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.