CommentPlus: pick of the papers

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

1. Why don't we love David Cameron? (Sunday Telegraph)

...asks Janet Daley. By making his party unthreatening, inoffensive and un-nasty, Cameron may not be malignant, but neither is he magnetic.

2. Can't pull the wool over our eyes, Ed (Sunday Times) (£)

While Nick Clegg is "hanging tough" and proving himself the real heir to Blair, Ed Miliband is just a woolly liberal, writes Martine Ivens.

3. Ed Miliband is simply Gordon 2.0 (Sunday Telegraph)

Tony Blair really understood Mondeo Man, while Gordon Brown knew that he needed to sound like he did. In that, and in many other senses, Ed Miliband is much more like the latter than the former, says Matthew D'Ancona.

4. Two-tribe politics is over. But the likes of John Prescott can't see it (Observer)

Look at the opponents of electoral reform and all bar William Hague come from another age, writes Andrew Rawnsley.

5. Cancun: Where's green Dave now? (Independent on Sunday)

He may have talked a good game in opposition but David Cameron's apparent "green amnesia" exposes him as an opportunist, according to today's leader column.

6. Welfare does encourage "breeding" (Sunday Times) (£)

Howard Flight may have chosen the wrong words, says Minette Marrin, but there is evidence that tax and benefits influence the number of children people choose to have.

7. What exactly is the benefit of Howard Flight? (Observer)

Meanwhile, Babara Ellen says Flight's remarks should cause offence to all right-thinking people.

8. The long race to challenge Obama begins (Independent on Sunday)

This Thanksgiving weekend marks the start of the 2012 presidential campaign, notes Rupert Cornwell.

9. Obama conjured up the Palin whirlwind (Sunday Times) (£)

Meanwhile, Andrew Sullivan says it was Barack Obama who set the model for Sarah Palin's rise that sees her on the brink of a presidential run. Why? Because Obama came out of nowhere, too.

10. Without libraries, we will lose a mark of our civilisation (Observer)

Closing 250 libraries around the country will do great damage to our communities, argues Catherine Bennett.

 

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Are the Conservatives getting ready to learn to love the EEA?

You can see the shape of the deal that the right would accept. 

In an early morning address aimed half reassuring the markets and half at salvaging his own legacy, George Osborne set out the government’s stall.

The difficulty was that the two halves were hard to reconcile. Talk of “fixing the roof” and getting Britain’s finances in control, an established part of Treasury setpieces under Osborne, are usually merely wrong. With the prospect of further downgrades in Britain’s credit rating and thus its ability to borrow cheaply, the £1.6 trillion that Britain still owes and the country’s deficit in day-to-day spending, they acquired a fresh layer of black humour. It made for uneasy listening.

But more importantly, it offered further signs of what post-Brexit deal the Conservatives will attempt to strike. Boris Johnson, the frontrunner for the Conservative leadership, set out the deal he wants in his Telegraph column: British access to the single market, free movement of British workers within the European Union but border control for workers from the EU within Britain.

There is no chance of that deal – in fact, reading Johnson’s Telegraph column called to mind the exasperated response that Arsene Wenger, manager of Arsenal and a supporter of a Remain vote, gave upon hearing that one of his players wanted to move to Real Madrid: “It's like you wanting to marry Miss World and she doesn't want you, what can I do about it? I can try to help you, but if she does not want to marry you what can I do?”

But Osborne, who has yet to rule out a bid for the top job and confirmed his intention to serve in the post-Cameron government, hinted at the deal that seems most likely – or, at least, the most optimistic: one that keeps Britain in the single market and therefore protects Britain’s financial services and manufacturing sectors.

For the Conservatives, you can see how such a deal might not prove electorally disastrous – it would allow them to maintain the idea with its own voters that they had voted for greater “sovereignty” while maintaining their easy continental holidays, au pairs and access to the Erasmus scheme.  They might be able to secure a few votes from relieved supporters of Remain who backed the Liberal Democrats or Labour at the last election – but, in any case, you can see how a deal of that kind would be sellable to their coalition of the vote. For Johnson, further disillusionment and anger among the voters of Sunderland, Hull and so on are a price that a Tory government can happily pay – and indeed, has, during both of the Conservatives’ recent long stays in government from 1951 to 1964 and from 1979 to 1997.

It feels unlikely that it will be a price that those Labour voters who backed a Leave vote – or the ethnic and social minorities that may take the blame – can happily pay.  

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. He usually writes about politics.