Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. The unions' no-cuts agenda is delusional (Guardian)

Some on the left inhabit a fantasy utopia, writes Alan Johnson. But this week Labour showed it is a credible alternative.

2. Expel Germany, not Greece, to save the euro (Times) (£)

The truth is slowly dawning about Europe's real odd-man-out, writes Anatole Kaletsky. France, Italy and Spain should form their own club.

3. Canada's cautionary tale for Scottish secessionists (Financial Times)

Scotland must negotiate, not dictate a divorce, writes Michael Ignatieff.

4. How will the Coalition cope with a year of living fractiously? (Daily Telegraph)

Cameron and Clegg are discovering how little they actually have in common, writes Benedict Brogan.

5. Ed Miliband, welcome to the coalition - but don't stay too long (Guardian)

The Labour leader's sanity on cuts is what the economy needs, says Simon Jenkins. But long term, a healthy democracy needs real opposition.

6. Why the super-Marios need help (Financial Times)

The costs of failure are so large that the possibility of domestic and eurozone reform must be kept alive, says Martin Wolf.

7. And still the banks' vandalism goes on... (Daily Mail)

In the case of RBS, the politicians are custodians of our shares. So when will they practise what they preach, asks a Daily Mail editorial.

8. China's success challenges a failed economic consensus (Guardian)

It's public ownership that has allowed Beijing to ride out the west's crisis, says Seumas Milne. Without it, recovery will be harder everywhere.

9. David Cameron going overboard for fatcat friends (Daily Mirror)

The PM's revealed his priority is the cushiest 1%, with the other 99% condemned to sink or swim on their own, says Kevin Maguire.

10. SOPA unites the internet in protest (Daily Telegraph)

The Stop Online Piracy Act is the modern-day equivalent of smashing the Gutenberg press, writes Adrian Hon.

Photo: Getty
Show Hide image

Theresa May is paying the price for mismanaging Boris Johnson

The Foreign Secretary's bruised ego may end up destroying Theresa May. 

And to think that Theresa May scheduled her big speech for this Friday to make sure that Conservative party conference wouldn’t be dominated by the matter of Brexit. Now, thanks to Boris Johnson, it won’t just be her conference, but Labour’s, which is overshadowed by Brexit in general and Tory in-fighting in particular. (One imagines that the Labour leadership will find a way to cope somehow.)

May is paying the price for mismanaging Johnson during her period of political hegemony after she became leader. After he was betrayed by Michael Gove and lacking any particular faction in the parliamentary party, she brought him back from the brink of political death by making him Foreign Secretary, but also used her strength and his weakness to shrink his empire.

The Foreign Office had its responsibility for negotiating Brexit hived off to the newly-created Department for Exiting the European Union (Dexeu) and for navigating post-Brexit trade deals to the Department of International Trade. Johnson was given control of one of the great offices of state, but with no responsibility at all for the greatest foreign policy challenge since the Second World War.

Adding to his discomfort, the new Foreign Secretary was regularly the subject of jokes from the Prime Minister and cabinet colleagues. May likened him to a dog that had to be put down. Philip Hammond quipped about him during his joke-fuelled 2017 Budget. All of which gave Johnson’s allies the impression that Johnson-hunting was a licensed sport as far as Downing Street was concerned. He was then shut out of the election campaign and has continued to be a marginalised figure even as the disappointing election result forced May to involve the wider cabinet in policymaking.

His sense of exclusion from the discussions around May’s Florence speech only added to his sense of isolation. May forgot that if you aren’t going to kill, don’t wound: now, thanks to her lost majority, she can’t afford to put any of the Brexiteers out in the cold, and Johnson is once again where he wants to be: centre-stage. 

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.