Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. If Scotland does secede, I won't be alone in mourning my country (Observer)

Those of us who count ourselves as British fear that Scottish independence would tear the nation apart, writes David Mitchell.

2. Bahrain is trying to drown the protests in Shia blood (Independent on Sunday)

Claiming that the opposition is being orchestrated by Iran, the al-Khalifa regime has unleashed a vicious sectarian clampdown, writes Patrick Cockburn.

3. To have a hope of power, Labour must turn from dull into dynamic (Observer)

Ed Miliband's party needs to forget complacent assumptions and remember that the task is both big and urgent, says Andrew Rawnsley.

4. Europe and immigration are vital issues, so let's discuss them (Sunday Telegraph)

The voters want a debate on Europe's influence, says this leading article, and the government should let them have it.

5. Live up to your own slogan, Dave (Independent on Sunday)

"All in this together" must count as one of the worst slogans dreamt up by supposedly intelligent people, says a leading article. More effectively than any lines devised by the Labour Party, it invites cynicism – so David Cameron must address social inequality if he has any chance of making it believable.

6. Cameron has the makings of a truly great prime minister (Sunday Telegraph)

Many of those in No 10 end up as essentially irrelevant figures, but a small few attain truly heroic status, says Peter Oborne.

7. Twitter is home to the dull and dysfunctional – I'll never join (Independent on Sunday)

This is the age of the ego, says Janet Street-Porter authoritatively. If celebrities want privacy, they must give up sending press releases and posing for Hello!.

8. Stop punishing the McCanns (Sunday Times) (£)

As I sat welling up in my kitchen listening to Kate McCann tell her distressing story, hundreds of people logged on to Twitter to type out poison about her in real time, says India Knight.

9. So their dossier was sexed up. No wonder the cabal want "closure" (Mail on Sunday)

Major General Michael Laurie has now admitted to the Chilcot inquiry that he was pressured to make the case for war in Iraq, writes Suzanne Moore. Eight years on, it still matters – because our lack of clarity about Libya stems from our embarrassment about Iraq.

10. The press must put its house in order (Observer)

Lies, bullying and kiss-and-tell profiteering do, sadly, go unpunished too often in newsrooms, says a leading article. But much investigative energy is spent unearthing grave abuses of power – so self-regulation is better than legislation.

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Commons Confidential: Fearing the Wigan warrior

An electoral clash, select committee elections as speed dating, and Ed Miliband’s political convalescence.

Members of Labour’s disconsolate majority, sitting in tight knots in the tearoom as the MP with the best maths skills calculates who will survive and who will die, based on the latest bad poll, observe that Jeremy Corbyn has never been so loyal to the party leadership. The past 13 months, one told me, have been the Islington rebel’s longest spell without voting against Labour. The MP was contradicted by a colleague who argued that, in voting against Trident renewal, Corbyn had defied party policy. There is Labour chatter that an early general election would be a mercy killing if it put the party out of its misery and removed Corbyn next year. In 2020, it is judged, defeat will be inevitable.

The next London mayoral contest is scheduled for the same date as a 2020 election: 7 May. Sadiq Khan’s people whisper that when they mentioned the clash to ministers, they were assured it won’t happen. They are uncertain whether this indicates that the mayoral contest will be moved, or that there will be an early general election. Intriguing.

An unguarded retort from the peer Jim O’Neill seems to confirm that a dispute over the so-called Northern Powerhouse triggered his walkout from the Treasury last month. O’Neill, a fanboy of George Osborne and a former Goldman Sachs chief economist, gave no reason when he quit Theresa May’s government and resigned the Tory whip in the Lords. He joined the dots publicly when the Resolution Foundation’s director, Torsten Bell, queried the northern project. “Are you related to the PM?” shot back the Mancunian O’Neill. It’s the way he tells ’em.

Talk has quietened in Westminster Labour ranks of a formal challenge to Corbyn since this year’s attempt backfired, but the Tories fear Lisa Nandy, should the leader fall under a solar-powered ecotruck selling recycled organic knitwear.

The Wigan warrior is enjoying favourable reviews for her forensic examination of the troubled inquiry into historic child sex abuse. After Nandy put May on the spot, the Tory three-piece suit Alec Shelbrooke was overheard muttering: “I hope she never runs for leader.” Anna Soubry and Nicky Morgan, the Thelma and Louise of Tory opposition to Mayhem, were observed nodding in agreement.

Select committee elections are like speed dating. “Who are you?” inquired Labour’s Kevan Jones (Granite Central)of a stranger seeking his vote. She explained that she was Victoria Borwick, the Tory MP for Kensington, but that didn’t help. “This is the first time you’ve spoken to me,” Jones continued, “so the answer’s no.” The aloof Borwick lost, by the way.

Ed Miliband is joining Labour’s relaunched Tribune Group of MPs to continue his political convalescence. Next stop: the shadow cabinet?

Kevin Maguire is Associate Editor (Politics) on the Daily Mirror and author of our Commons Confidential column on the high politics and low life in Westminster. An award-winning journalist, he is in frequent demand on television and radio and co-authored a book on great parliamentary scandals. He was formerly Chief Reporter on the Guardian and Labour Correspondent on the Daily Telegraph.

This article first appeared in the 27 October 2016 issue of the New Statesman, American Rage