Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Osama Bin Laden's death: the US patriot reflex (Guardian)

Given 9/11, a desire for vengeance is a legitimate emotional response, says Gary Younge. But it is not a foreign policy.

2. Bin Laden is more dangerous dead than alive (Times) (£)

Ed Husain says that it was right to remove this enemy. But it would be wrong to think that his demise has weakened the jihadists.

3. Security chiefs must end Pakistan's duplicity (Financial Times)

Osama Bin Laden's death gives Islamabad an opportunity to fix much that is wrong, writes Mansoor Ijaz.

4. Pakistan and Osama Bin Laden: how the west was conned (Daily Telegraph)

The ISI and its covert support for Islamist terrorism must be confronted, argues Praveen Swami.

5. For ten years Osama Bin Laden filled a gap left by the Soviet Union. Who will be the baddie now? (Guardian)

Adam Curtis says that neoconservatives, "terror journalists" and Osama Bin Laden himself all had their own reasons to create a simple story of looming apocalypse.

6. There has been pain but we were right to fight (Times) (£)

What is happening across the Arab world shows that al-Qaeda has failed spectacularly, says Jack Straw.

7. Just say Yes to voting reform (Independent)

As the polls point to a substantial lead for the No campaign, says this editorial, there are still 24 hours left to change the system.

8. Nick Clegg is out of his depth – and David Cameron should let him sink (Daily Telegraph)

The Tories' bargaining power in the coalition will increase after tomorrow's elections, Simon Heffer predicts.

9. Ian Tomlinson verdict: the people defer no more (Guardian)

The Tomlinson jury showed how completely public views of the police have changed, says Duncan Campbell.

10. Chances are better now of the US fixing its deficit (Independent)

There is, after any memorable event, an immediate instinct to look for economic and financial consequences, says Hamish McRae.

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How the Lib Dems learned to love all-women shortlists

Yes, the sitting Lib Dem MPs are mostly white, middle-aged middle class men. But the party's not taking any chances. 

I can’t tell you who’ll be the Lib Dem candidate in Southport on 8 June, but I do know one thing about them. As they’re replacing a sitting Lib Dem (John Pugh is retiring) - they’ll be female.

The same is true in many of our top 20 target seats, including places like Lewes (Kelly-Marie Blundell), Yeovil (Daisy Benson), Thornbury and Yate (Clare Young), and Sutton and Cheam (Amna Ahmad). There was air punching in Lib Dem offices all over the country on Tuesday when it was announced Jo Swinson was standing again in East Dunbartonshire.

And while every current Lib Dem constituency MP will get showered with love and attention in the campaign, one will get rather more attention than most - it’s no coincidence that Tim Farron’s first stop of the campaign was in Richmond Park, standing side by side with Sarah Olney.

How so?

Because the party membership took a long look at itself after the 2015 election - and a rather longer look at the eight white, middle-aged middle class men (sorry chaps) who now formed the Parliamentary party and said - "we’ve really got to sort this out".

And so after decades of prevarication, we put a policy in place to deliberately increase the diversity of candidates.

Quietly, over the last two years, the Liberal Democrats have been putting candidates into place in key target constituencies . There were more than 300 in total before this week’s general election call, and many of them have been there for a year or more. And they’ve been selected under new procedures adopted at Lib Dem Spring Conference in 2016, designed to deliberately promote the diversity of candidates in winnable seats

This includes mandating all-women shortlists when selecting candidates who are replacing sitting MPs, similar rules in our strongest electoral regions. In our top 10 per cent of constituencies, there is a requirement that at least two candidates are shortlisted from underrepresented groups on every list. We became the first party to reserve spaces on the shortlists of winnable seats for underrepresented candidates including women, BAME, LGBT+ and disabled candidates

It’s not going to be perfect - the hugely welcome return of Lib Dem grandees like Vince Cable, Ed Davey and Julian Huppert to their old stomping grounds will strengthen the party but not our gender imbalance. But excluding those former MPs coming back to the fray, every top 20 target constituency bar one has to date selected a female candidate.

Equality (together with liberty and community) is one of the three key values framed in the preamble to the Lib Dem constitution. It’s a relief that after this election, the Liberal Democratic party in the Commons will reflect that aspiration rather better than it has done in the past.

Richard Morris blogs at A View From Ham Common, which was named Best New Blog at the 2011 Lib Dem Conference

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