Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Free speech can't exist unchained. US politics needs the tonic of order (Guardian)

Simon Jenkins argues that if America is to speak in a way that heals, as Barack Obama wishes, it needs the curbs and regulations that make freedom of expression real.

2. These UCTs could be a real technical breakthrough (Times) (£)

The right's snobbish elitism and the left's patronising anti-elitism failed generations at school. Now, says Philip Collins, we can put it right.

3. Australia is still the lucky country (Independent)

Amid the floods, says Terence Blacker, neighbours have helped each other out and people remain stoical, even amid the wreckage of their homes.

4. The risks of raising interest rates too quickly (Financial Times)

Should the Bank of England tighten now in response to a possible overshoot of its target two years hence? No, says Martin Wolf.

5. Mervyn King must hold his nerve (Guardian)

The Bank of England was right, says Larry Elliott. Even with inflation, interest-rate rises would be a monumental blunder.

6. The only way to save the euro is the destruction of its members (Daily Telegraph)

Britain beware – European integration has reached a dangerous tipping point, writes Peter Oborne.

7. We've never been better able to feed the world (Times) (£)

Forget scare stories about rising population and record food prices, says Matt Ridley – we can now grow more crops on less land.

8. A stark lesson for ageing Arab autocrats (Financial Times)

Claire Spencer suggests that the region's leaders lack national narratives that they can use to justify repression.

9. Richard Holbrooke's true memorial would be a lasting peace in Afghanistan (Daily Telegraph)

There are worrying reports of the insurgency mutating into global jihadism, writes David Miliband.

10. The Lib Dems will gain strength through weakness (Guardian)

In coalition, small parties are offered concessions, says Martin Kettle. And in the modern world of fairness and volatility, they can thrive.

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Geoffrey Howe dies, aged 88

Howe was Margaret Thatcher's longest serving Cabinet minister – and the man credited with precipitating her downfall.

The former Conservative chancellor Lord Howe, a key figure in the Thatcher government, has died of a suspected heart attack, his family has said. He was 88.

Geoffrey Howe was the longest-serving member of Margaret Thatcher's Cabinet, playing a key role in both her government and her downfall. Born in Port Talbot in 1926, he began his career as a lawyer, and was first elected to parliament in 1964, but lost his seat just 18 months later.

Returning as MP for Reigate in the Conservative election victory of 1970, he served in the government of Edward Heath, first as Solicitor General for England & Wales, then as a Minister of State for Trade. When Margaret Thatcher became opposition leader in 1975, she named Howe as her shadow chancellor.

He retained this brief when the party returned to government in 1979. In the controversial budget of 1981, he outlined a radical monetarist programme, abandoning then-mainstream economic thinking by attempting to rapidly tackle the deficit at a time of recession and unemployment. Following the 1983 election, he was appointed as foreign secretary, in which post he negotiated the return of Hong Kong to China.

In 1989, Thatcher demoted Howe to the position of leader of the house and deputy prime minister. And on 1 November 1990, following disagreements over Britain's relationship with Europe, he resigned from the Cabinet altogether. 

Twelve days later, in a powerful speech explaining his resignation, he attacked the prime minister's attitude to Brussels, and called on his former colleagues to "consider their own response to the tragic conflict of loyalties with which I have myself wrestled for perhaps too long".

Labour Chancellor Denis Healey once described an attack from Howe as "like being savaged by a dead sheep" - but his resignation speech is widely credited for triggering the process that led to Thatcher's downfall. Nine days later, her premiership was over.

Howe retired from the Commons in 1992, and was made a life peer as Baron Howe of Aberavon. He later said that his resignation speech "was not intended as a challenge, it was intended as a way of summarising the importance of Europe". 

Nonetheless, he added: "I am sure that, without [Thatcher's] resignation, we would not have won the 1992 election... If there had been a Labour government from 1992 onwards, New Labour would never have been born."

Jonn Elledge is the editor of the New Statesman's sister site CityMetric. He is on Twitter, far too much, as @JonnElledge.