Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Ed Miliband's leadership is threatened by this Blairite policy coup (Guardian)

By embracing cuts, Ed Balls and Ed Miliband have left all those who stand against them disenfranchised, argues Len McCluskey.

2. America, Greece and a world on fire (Financial Times)

A Greek economic crisis is threatening Europe but the US has no intention of leading the rescue mission, writes Gideon Rachman.

3. Iran's nuclear scientists are not being assassinated. They are being murdered (Guardian)

Killing our enemies abroad is just state-sponsored terror - whatever euphemism western leaders like to use, says Mehdi Hasan.

4. Nick Clegg might not look sad much longer (Times) (£)

The received wisdom says coalition government has ruined the Lib Dems' chances. But it's too early to write them off, says Rachel Sylvester.

5. Don't be fooled by the power of false assumptions (Independent)

As the abuse has grown, Miliband has passed one of the tests of leadership, says Steve Richards. He has kept calm.

6. By stealing the Lib Dems' ideas, Labour leader Ed Miliband can split the coalition (Daily Telegraph)

If the Labour leader finds common ground with his rivals, he will reinvigorate the left, writes Mary Riddell.

7. We are all going to hell in a shopping basket (Financial Times)

At a deeper level the crisis marks the triumph of consumers and investors over workers and citizens, says Robert Reich.

8. The British boarding school remains a bastion of cruelty (Guardian)

While condemning global injustices against children, we fail to examine the ethics of removing seven-year-olds from their families, writes George Monbiot.

9. The hour has come for a new Britannia (Daily Mail)

There could be no more fitting way for this seafaring nation to mark its gratitude and respect for the woman who has been our greatest ambassador for 60 years, argues a Daily Mail editorial.

10. Kim Jong Un's subjects are already singing his praises (Daily Telegraph)

There's no let-up in the bowing and scraping as North Korea's new leader warms to the job, writes Robert Colvile.

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How Theresa May laid a trap for herself on the immigration target

When Home Secretary, she insisted on keeping foreign students in the figures – causing a headache for herself today.

When Home Secretary, Theresa May insisted that foreign students should continue to be counted in the overall immigration figures. Some cabinet colleagues, including then Business Secretary Vince Cable and Chancellor George Osborne wanted to reverse this. It was economically illiterate. Current ministers, like the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Chancellor Philip Hammond and Home Secretary Amber Rudd, also want foreign students exempted from the total.

David Cameron’s government aimed to cut immigration figures – including overseas students in that aim meant trying to limit one of the UK’s crucial financial resources. They are worth £25bn to the UK economy, and their fees make up 14 per cent of total university income. And the impact is not just financial – welcoming foreign students is diplomatically and culturally key to Britain’s reputation and its relationship with the rest of the world too. Even more important now Brexit is on its way.

But they stayed in the figures – a situation that, along with counterproductive visa restrictions also introduced by May’s old department, put a lot of foreign students off studying here. For example, there has been a 44 per cent decrease in the number of Indian students coming to Britain to study in the last five years.

Now May’s stubbornness on the migration figures appears to have caught up with her. The Times has revealed that the Prime Minister is ready to “soften her longstanding opposition to taking foreign students out of immigration totals”. It reports that she will offer to change the way the numbers are calculated.

Why the u-turn? No 10 says the concession is to ensure the Higher and Research Bill, key university legislation, can pass due to a Lords amendment urging the government not to count students as “long-term migrants” for “public policy purposes”.

But it will also be a factor in May’s manifesto pledge (and continuation of Cameron’s promise) to cut immigration to the “tens of thousands”. Until today, ministers had been unclear about whether this would be in the manifesto.

Now her u-turn on student figures is being seized upon by opposition parties as “massaging” the migration figures to meet her target. An accusation for which May only has herself, and her steadfast politicising of immigration, to blame.

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.

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