Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Welfare cuts: Cameron's problem is that people are nicer than he thinks (Guardian)

Polly Toynbee predicts that when these welfare changes come into force, their savage effect will be seen -- and then the public mood will turn.

2. We need some tough love to get people off welfare and into Pret (Daily Telegraph)

Fraser Nelson argues that ministers should face down the Lords over benefit curbs -- the workers are on their side.

3. Ed's plan for Britain: be more like Germany (Times) (£)

Few took note of the Labour leader's speech on the crisis in capitalism, says Philip Collins. But its ideas would change our country.

4. Britain's reputation is in the dock over rendition (Independent)

Questions have been raised about the UK's line between decency and realpolitik, says this leading article.

5. Politics and the American language (Financial Times)

Orwell provides some of the best commentary for those interested in the Republican debates, says Gary Silverman.

6. Freedom is still flowering in the Arab Spring (Times) (£)

Violence and votes for Islamism are a setback but this was never a quick fix. William Hague reiterates that the coalition will do all it can to aid democracy.

7. 'Devo max' would make Scotland fiscally responsible -- why does Cameron oppose it? (Guardian)

Only a tribalistic craving for central control explains the prime minister's urge to defend the UK against Scottish autonomy, says Simon Jenkins.

8. An informal addition to the laws of physics -- don't work for Iran (Daily Telegraph)

The covert war behind the latest assassination in Tehran raises moral concerns, says Michael Burleigh.

9. This is not about 'bad apples'. This is the horror of war (Independent)

How many other abuses took place off camera, asks Robert Fisk.

10. The market still has no rivals (Financial Times)

Samuel Brittain argues that the central case for the competitive capitalist system is that it promotes both personal and political freedom.

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It's Gary Lineker 1, the Sun 0

The football hero has found himself at the heart of a Twitter storm over the refugee children debate.

The Mole wonders what sort of topsy-turvy universe we now live in where Gary Lineker is suddenly being called a “political activist” by a Conservative MP? Our favourite big-eared football pundit has found himself in a war of words with the Sun newspaper after wading into the controversy over the age of the refugee children granted entry into Britain from Calais.

Pictures published earlier this week in the right-wing press prompted speculation over the migrants' “true age”, and a Tory MP even went as far as suggesting that these children should have their age verified by dental X-rays. All of which leaves your poor Mole with a deeply furrowed brow. But luckily the British Dental Association was on hand to condemn the idea as unethical, inaccurate and inappropriate. Phew. Thank God for dentists.

Back to old Big Ears, sorry, Saint Gary, who on Wednesday tweeted his outrage over the Murdoch-owned newspaper’s scaremongering coverage of the story. He smacked down the ex-English Defence League leader, Tommy Robinson, in a single tweet, calling him a “racist idiot”, and went on to defend his right to express his opinions freely on his feed.

The Sun hit back in traditional form, calling for Lineker to be ousted from his job as host of the BBC’s Match of the Day. The headline they chose? “Out on his ears”, of course, referring to the sporting hero’s most notable assets. In the article, the tabloid lays into Lineker, branding him a “leftie luvvie” and “jug-eared”. The article attacked him for describing those querying the age of the young migrants as “hideously racist” and suggested he had breached BBC guidelines on impartiality.

All of which has prompted calls for a boycott of the Sun and an outpouring of support for Lineker on Twitter. His fellow football hero Stan Collymore waded in, tweeting that he was on “Team Lineker”. Leading the charge against the Murdoch-owned title was the close ally of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and former Channel 4 News economics editor, Paul Mason, who tweeted:

Lineker, who is not accustomed to finding himself at the centre of such highly politicised arguments on social media, responded with typical good humour, saying he had received a bit of a “spanking”.

All of which leaves the Mole with renewed respect for Lineker and an uncharacteristic desire to watch this weekend’s Match of the Day to see if any trace of his new activist persona might surface.


I'm a mole, innit.