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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Who will win the Copeland by-election?

Labour face a tricky task in holding onto the seat. 

What’s the Copeland by-election about? That’s the question that will decide who wins it.

The Conservatives want it to be about the nuclear industry, which is the seat’s biggest employer, and Jeremy Corbyn’s long history of opposition to nuclear power.

Labour want it to be about the difficulties of the NHS in Cumbria in general and the future of West Cumberland Hospital in particular.

Who’s winning? Neither party is confident of victory but both sides think it will be close. That Theresa May has visited is a sign of the confidence in Conservative headquarters that, win or lose, Labour will not increase its majority from the six-point lead it held over the Conservatives in May 2015. (It’s always more instructive to talk about vote share rather than raw numbers, in by-elections in particular.)

But her visit may have been counterproductive. Yes, she is the most popular politician in Britain according to all the polls, but in visiting she has added fuel to the fire of Labour’s message that the Conservatives are keeping an anxious eye on the outcome.

Labour strategists feared that “the oxygen” would come out of the campaign if May used her visit to offer a guarantee about West Cumberland Hospital. Instead, she refused to answer, merely hyping up the issue further.

The party is nervous that opposition to Corbyn is going to supress turnout among their voters, but on the Conservative side, there is considerable irritation that May’s visit has made their task harder, too.

Voters know the difference between a by-election and a general election and my hunch is that people will get they can have a free hit on the health question without risking the future of the nuclear factory. That Corbyn has U-Turned on nuclear power only helps.

I said last week that if I knew what the local paper would look like between now and then I would be able to call the outcome. Today the West Cumbria News & Star leads with Downing Street’s refusal to answer questions about West Cumberland Hospital. All the signs favour Labour. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.