Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. The immigration triffid is growing. Eradicate it (Times) (£)

Even the Labour leader seems to believe - wrongly - that foreigners (a) take British jobs and (b) drive down wages. David Aaronovitch calls for a change.

2. Now Ed Miliband's challenge is to put his stamp on his Labour party (Guardian)

After the most radical speech by a leader for a generation, Miliband must turn the brave talk into a winning platform, says Seumas Milne.

3. Tentative progress, but Germany remains the key (Independent)

This leading article urges that the fact that the solution to the crisis is more Europe, rather than less, should not be lost in the rhetoric.

4. The best way to tackle the Big Four (Financial Times)

John Gapper argues that it would be better to encourage the emergence of new competitors to the biggest firms through ownership and anti-trust measures.

5. You don't always win on moral high ground (Times) (£)

In business you have to take unpopular decisions. James Dyson argues that that doesn't mean they're wrong.

6. A Robin Hood tax could turn the banks from villains to heroes (Guardian)

An EU-wide Robin Hood tax is close to becoming reality, says Bill Nighy. Cameron must now tell the City to get on board.

7. Failed by the very people who are there to protect us (Independent)

Yvette Cooper has done a good thing in setting up an independent review of policing, says Andreas Whittam Smith.

8. Cameron has lost his way on crime (Financial Times)

The Conservatives traditionally flew the flag for law and order. The sad reality is that this flag is flying at half-mast, writes Paul McKeever.

9. Children First (Times) (£)

More children are being taken into care, and fewer are adopted. This leading article says that the adoption system has grown worse, not better.

10. Regeneration? What's happening in Sheffield's Park Hill is class cleansing (Guardian)

Once unpicturesque council tenants have been 'decanted', inner-city estates can be safely claimed by the affluent, says Owen Hatherley.

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Can Philip Hammond save the Conservatives from public anger at their DUP deal?

The Chancellor has the wriggle room to get close to the DUP's spending increase – but emotion matters more than facts in politics.

The magic money tree exists, and it is growing in Northern Ireland. That’s the attack line that Labour will throw at Theresa May in the wake of her £1bn deal with the DUP to keep her party in office.

It’s worth noting that while £1bn is a big deal in terms of Northern Ireland’s budget – just a touch under £10bn in 2016/17 – as far as the total expenditure of the British government goes, it’s peanuts.

The British government spent £778bn last year – we’re talking about spending an amount of money in Northern Ireland over the course of two years that the NHS loses in pen theft over the course of one in England. To match the increase in relative terms, you’d be looking at a £35bn increase in spending.

But, of course, political arguments are about gut instinct rather than actual numbers. The perception that the streets of Antrim are being paved by gold while the public realm in England, Scotland and Wales falls into disrepair is a real danger to the Conservatives.

But the good news for them is that last year Philip Hammond tweaked his targets to give himself greater headroom in case of a Brexit shock. Now the Tories have experienced a shock of a different kind – a Corbyn shock. That shock was partly due to the Labour leader’s good campaign and May’s bad campaign, but it was also powered by anger at cuts to schools and anger among NHS workers at Jeremy Hunt’s stewardship of the NHS. Conservative MPs have already made it clear to May that the party must not go to the country again while defending cuts to school spending.

Hammond can get to slightly under that £35bn and still stick to his targets. That will mean that the DUP still get to rave about their higher-than-average increase, while avoiding another election in which cuts to schools are front-and-centre. But whether that deprives Labour of their “cuts for you, but not for them” attack line is another question entirely. 

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

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