Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Words won't change capitalism. So be daring and do something (The Observer)
Western governments must replace their redundant inflation targets with a target for the growth of the value of the goods and service they produce, says Will Hutton

2. The trouble is we don't have true capitalism (The Sunday Times £)
The problem we have at the moment is not capitalism, but its absence, writes Dominic Lawson

3. Do you want the market or the market? (The Independent on Sunday)
Cameron and Miliband compete to bash the bankers, but they both intend to safeguard the capitalist system in Britain, says John Rentoul

4. We're proudly Scottish - but still British (Independent on Sunday)
Narrow nationalism is not what Scotland - nor the United Kingdom - needs in the debate about independence, writes Douglas Alexander

5. The good ship NHS needs a steer, Dave ( The Sunday Times £)
Cameron must also take the lead on remaking the argument for health reform, if that is what he intends, says Martin Ivens

6. America has the opportunity to usher in radical new political era (The Observer)
If super-rich Mitt Romney wins the Republican nomination, the US can have a real debate on income disparity, says Michael Cohen

7. Fresh Doubts About Republican Contest (New York Times)
The South Carolina result raises the likelihood of a primary battle stretching well into springtime, says Jeff Zeleny

8. Which Romney will show up now? (Washington Post)
He has shown many faces, but now caught in a revived race, his game face may change, again, writes Philip Rucker

9. Labour has finally decided to join the grown-ups' table (The Sunday Telegraph)
Ed Balls and Ed Miliband showed signs of a willingness to capitulate to reality, says Matthew d'Ancona

10. Only the super six can break the shackles of Coalition (The Mail on Sunday)
The Tories are now ruthlessly focused on making sure that next time they get to govern on their own

Photo: André Spicer
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“It’s scary to do it again”: the five-year-old fined £150 for running a lemonade stand

Enforcement officers penalised a child selling home-made lemonade in the street. Her father tells the full story. 

It was a lively Saturday afternoon in east London’s Mile End. Groups of people streamed through residential streets on their way to a music festival in the local park; booming bass could be heard from the surrounding houses.

One five-year-old girl who lived in the area had an idea. She had been to her school’s summer fête recently and looked longingly at the stalls. She loved the idea of setting up her own stall, and today was a good day for it.

“She eventually came round to the idea of selling lemonade,” her father André Spicer tells me. So he and his daughter went to their local shop to buy some lemons. They mixed a few jugs of lemonade, the girl made a fetching A4 sign with some lemons drawn on it – 50p for a small cup, £1 for a large – and they carried a table from home to the end of their road. 

“People suddenly started coming up and buying stuff, pretty quickly, and they were very happy,” Spicer recalls. “People looked overjoyed at this cute little girl on the side of the road – community feel and all that sort of stuff.”

But the heart-warming scene was soon interrupted. After about half an hour of what Spicer describes as “brisk” trade – his daughter’s recipe secret was some mint and a little bit of cucumber, for a “bit of a British touch” – four enforcement officers came striding up to the stand.

Three were in uniform, and one was in plain clothes. One uniformed officer turned the camera on his vest on, and began reciting a legal script at the weeping five-year-old.

“You’re trading without a licence, pursuant to x, y, z act and blah dah dah dah, really going through a script,” Spicer tells me, saying they showed no compassion for his daughter. “This is my job, I’m doing it and that’s it, basically.”

The girl burst into tears the moment they arrived.

“Officials have some degree of intimidation. I’m a grown adult, so I wasn’t super intimidated, but I was a bit shocked,” says Spicer. “But my daughter was intimidated. She started crying straight away.”

As they continued to recite their legalese, her father picked her up to try to comfort her – but that didn’t stop the officers giving her stall a £150 fine and handing them a penalty notice. “TRADING WITHOUT LICENCE,” it screamed.


Picture: André Spicer

“She was crying and repeating, ‘I’ve done a bad thing’,” says Spicer. “As we walked home, I had to try and convince her that it wasn’t her, it wasn’t her fault. It wasn’t her who had done something bad.”

She cried all the way home, and it wasn’t until she watched her favourite film, Brave, that she calmed down. It was then that Spicer suggested next time they would “do it all correctly”, get a permit, and set up another stand.

“No, I don’t want to, it’s a bit scary to do it again,” she replied. Her father hopes that “she’ll be able to get over it”, and that her enterprising spirit will return.

The Council has since apologised and cancelled the fine, and called on its officials to “show common sense and to use their powers sensibly”.

But Spicer felt “there’s a bigger principle here”, and wrote a piece for the Telegraph arguing that children in modern Britain are too restricted.

He would “absolutely” encourage his daughter to set up another stall, and “I’d encourage other people to go and do it as well. It’s a great way to spend a bit of time with the kids in the holidays, and they might learn something.”

A fitting reminder of the great life lesson: when life gives you a fixed penalty notice, make lemonade.

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.