Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Blaming a moral decline for the riots makes good headlines but bad policy (Observer)

The country's problems stem from too many dysfunctional households, argues Tony Blair.

2. Now it's payback for the love we looted (Sunday Times) (£)

Prince Charles should be applauded for identifying the underlying problems that led to young people rioting across the country, writes Jenni Russell.

3. Why are the failings of capitalism only being exposed by the right? (Observer)

It used to be Labour that fought against the moral inadequacies of the free market. It must rediscover its voice, says Julian Coman.

4. You say you'll flee higher taxes, Mr Filthy? We call your bluff (Sunday Times) (£)

The mega-rich may have everyone else over a barrel for now, but perhaps it's not long before they belong to the controllable classes, argues Minette Marrin.

5. A bewildering tale of everyday English justice (Observer)

For the father of one young man arrested during the riots, a day in court has done nothing to cement his faith in our legal system, writes Nick Cohen.

6. UK riots: The end of the liberals' great moral delusion (Telegraph)

The Left has gone into overdrive in its attempts to rewrite the history of the riots, but the public knows the truth, argues Janet Daley.

7. A class imprisoned by tribalism, lack of work and filthy food (Independent on Sunday)

We don't need to lock up deprived kids, writes Janet Street-Porter, we need to help them.

8. Ken's Adolf jibe was a joke - remember those? (Sunday Times) (£)

Finally, at least we can have a laugh at something after a summer which has, quite frankly, been non too impressive, writes Rod Liddle.

9. What should the Tories do about the euro crisis? (Telegraph)

The Eurosceptic Right want to exploit the crisis - but George Osborne's options are limited, says Tim Montgomerie.

10. Clever talk costs livelihoods (Independent on Sunday)

Riots in Britain, earthquakes in Japan, panic in the eurozone... and capitalism is a survivor every time, writes John Rentoul.

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I didn't expect to have to choose between a boyfriend and Judi Dench - but it happened

He told me I'd spoiled the cruise by not paying him enough attention. But what was I to do when Dame Judi Dench asked for a chat?

This happened around 20 years ago, in the days when a new boyfriend was staying at my house. One quite memorable mid-morning, the phone rang while we were in bed and it was the editor of the Times; then it rang again (when we were still in bed) and it was Dame Judi Dench. Yes, Judi Dench.

I was as surprised as anyone would be. True, I had recently written a radio monologue for her (about a wistful limpet stuck on a rock), but I hadn’t attended the recording, so I had never met her, or expected ever to hear her say, “Hello, is that Lynne Truss?” in that fabulous Dame Judi voice that only she possesses.

She said that she and her husband, Michael, were often invited to perform public readings; could I help by writing something? Stunned, I said that I would love to. She gave me her number. I hung up.

I can’t remember why I didn’t jump straight out of bed to start work on the Dame Judi project. But what I do remember is that when the phone rang yet again, we ignored it, on the grounds that, post-Judi, it could only be a disappointment.

A few months later, I was invited on a winter cruise, sailing from Colombo in Sri Lanka to Singapore. I took the boyfriend. It was only when we were changing planes at 3am that I spotted, among the other dog-tired passengers, Dame Judi with a group of friends.

Nervously, I went and said hello, what a coincidence. She said that we must talk. Then the holiday began and the boyfriend and I had a wonderful time. We met nice people and enjoyed the ship, although we consistently failed to identify our allotted muster station.

At the end of ten days, we were sitting on deck at Singapore, when I said, “Well, wasn’t that lovely?”

The boyfriend took me aback by saying, “Actually, glad you asked. No, it wasn’t.” I had spoiled the whole experience, he said, by continually talking to other people when I should have been talking to him.

I was very upset. All this time, he’d been unhappy? Casting my mind back, I realised it was true that I had made friends on board (and he hadn’t); also, at dinner, I had openly talked to the person sitting beside me, because I thought you were supposed to.

And now I stood accused of cruise-ruining! “I’ll get us some tea,” I said. “Oh, yes?” he fumed. “You’ll be gone for an hour, as usual.” And I said “No, I won’t. I promise.”

And so I went inside, wiping away my tears, and someone started chatting to me and I squeaked, “Can’t stop.” After that, I just slalomed through the throng with my head down.

Then, as I re-emerged into the sunlight with a prompt, relationship-saving cup and saucer in each hand, there was Judi Dench, and she said, “Shall we have our little chat now?” 

This article first appeared in the 26 May 2016 issue of the New Statesman, The Brexit odd squad