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.

GETTY
Show Hide image

Recess confidential: Labour's liquid party

Sniffing out the best stories from Westminster, including Showsec, soames, and Smith-side splits.

If you are celebrating in a brewery, don’t ask Labour to provide the drinks. Because of the party’s continuing failure to secure a security contractor for its Liverpool conference, it is still uncertain whether the gathering will take place at all. Since boycotting G4S, the usual supplier, over its links with Israeli prisons, Labour has struggled to find an alternative. Of the five firms approached, only one – Showsec – offered its services. But the company’s non-union-recognition policy is inhibiting an agreement. The GMB, the firm’s antagonist, has threatened to picket the conference if Showsec is awarded the contract. In lieu of a breakthrough, sources suggest two alternatives: the police (at a cost of £59.65 per constable per hour), or the suspension of the G4S boycott. “We’ll soon find out which the Corbynites dislike the least,” an MP jested. Another feared that the Tories’ attack lines will write themselves: “How can Labour be trusted with national security if it can’t organise its own?”

Farewell, then, to Respect. The left-wing party founded in 2004 and joined by George Galloway after his expulsion from Labour has officially deregistered itself.

“We support Corbyn’s Labour Party,” the former MP explained, urging his 522,000 Facebook followers to sign up. “The Labour Party does not belong to one man,” replied Jess Phillips MP, who also pointed out in the same tweet that Respect had “massively failed”. Galloway, who won 1.4 per cent of the vote in this year’s London mayoral election, insists that he is not seeking to return to Labour. But he would surely be welcomed by Jeremy Corbyn’s director of communications, Seumas Milne, whom he once described as his “closest friend”. “We have spoken almost daily for 30 years,” Galloway boasted.

After Young Labour’s national committee voted to endorse Corbyn, its members were aggrieved to learn that they would not be permitted to promote his candidacy unless Owen Smith was given equal treatment. The leader’s supporters curse more “dirty tricks” from the Smith-sympathetic party machine.

Word reaches your mole of a Smith-side split between the ex-shadow cabinet ministers Lisa Nandy and Lucy Powell. The former is said to be encouraging the challenger’s left-wing platform, while the latter believes that he should make a more centrist pitch. If, as expected, Smith is beaten by Corbyn, it’s not only the divisions between the leader and his opponents that will be worth watching.

Nicholas Soames, the Tory grandee, has been slimming down – so much so, that he was congratulated by Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, on his weight loss. “Soon I’ll be able to give you my old suits!” Soames told the similarly rotund Watson. 

Kevin Maguire is away

I'm a mole, innit.

This article first appeared in the 25 August 2016 issue of the New Statesman, Cameron: the legacy of a loser