Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. US elections: no matter who you vote for, money always wins (Guardian)

Dollars play a decisive role in US politics, says Gary Younge. And more so since the supreme court allowed unlimited campaign contributions.

2. Fiscal treaty could trigger a debt explosion (Financial Times)

If Spain follows Greece and ignores what happened in Japan, a lengthy recession is likely, warns Wolfgang Munchau.

3. Why are deficit-cutters so afraid to talk about tax? (Guardian)

Reducing public spending is not the only way of balancing the budget, but taxation seems to be taboo for politicians, writes Mehdi Hasan.

4. It's too late for other Europeans to be as efficient as Germans (Daily Telegraph)

The euro prevents the differences in currency strengths that once evened things out, argues Boris Johnson.

5. The talent that lies beyond the 'brightest and best' (Independent)

Tell me if there's been any period since the 16th century when there was no hue and cry about "floods" of immigrants, writes Yasmin Alibhai-Brown.

6. Retreat from your battle against gay marriage (Times) (£)

The Archbishop of York would limit same-sex couples to 'faithful friendships', writes Libby Purves. But these are strong, serious bonds.

7. The mirage of Obama's defence cuts (Financial Times)

America in particular knows that national strength is built on economic foundations, writes Edward Luce.

8. What kind of people have we become? (Daily Telegraph)

Churchill would be dismayed by modern Britain's capitulation to jackboot egalitarians, says Jeff Randall.

9. Not helping to sell the Olympics (Independent)

Once the medals have been collected the cost/benefit analysis will come back into focus, says an Independent leader.

10. The answer to the Met's problems isn't to let meddlers run it (Daily Mail)

It is not elected commissioners that we need but a restoration of our lost ethic of policing, argues Melanie Phillips.

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Inside a shaken city: "I just want to be anywhere that’s not Manchester”

The morning after the bombing of the Manchester Arena has left the city's residents jumpy.

On Tuesday morning, the streets in Manchester city centre were eerily silent.

The commuter hub of Victoria Station - which backs onto the arena - was closed as police combed the area for clues, and despite Mayor Andy Burnham’s line of "business as usual", it looked like people were staying away.

Manchester Arena is the second largest indoor concert venue in Europe. With a capacity crowd of 18,000, on Monday night the venue was packed with young people from around the country - at least 22 of whom will never come home. At around 10.33pm, a suicide bomber detonated his device near the exit. Among the dead was an eight-year-old girl. Many more victims remain in hospital. 

Those Mancunians who were not alerted by the sirens woke to the news of their city's worst terrorist attack. Still, as the day went on, the city’s hubbub soon returned and, by lunchtime, there were shoppers and workers milling around Exchange Square and the town hall.

Tourists snapped images of the Albert Square building in the sunshine, and some even asked police for photographs like any other day.

But throughout the morning there were rumours and speculation about further incidents - the Arndale Centre was closed for a period after 11.40am while swathes of police descended, shutting off the main city centre thoroughfare of Market Street.

Corporation Street - closed off at Exchange Square - was at the centre of the city’s IRA blast. A postbox which survived the 1996 bombing stood in the foreground while officers stood guard, police tape fluttering around cordoned-off spaces.

It’s true that the streets of Manchester have known horror before, but not like this.

I spoke to students Beth and Melissa who were in the bustling centre when they saw people running from two different directions.

They vanished and ducked into River Island, when an alert came over the tannoy, and a staff member herded them through the back door onto the street.

“There were so many police stood outside the Arndale, it was so frightening,” Melissa told me.

“We thought it will be fine, it’ll be safe after last night. There were police everywhere walking in, and we felt like it would be fine.”

Beth said that they had planned a day of shopping, and weren’t put off by the attack.

“We heard about the arena this morning but we decided to come into the city, we were watching it all these morning, but you can’t let this stop you.”

They remembered the 1996 Arndale bombing, but added: “we were too young to really understand”.

And even now they’re older, they still did not really understand what had happened to the city.

“Theres nowhere to go, where’s safe? I just want to go home,” Melissa said. “I just want to be anywhere that’s not Manchester.”

Manchester has seen this sort of thing before - but so long ago that the stunned city dwellers are at a loss. In a city which feels under siege, no one is quite sure how anyone can keep us safe from an unknown threat

“We saw armed police on the streets - there were loads just then," Melissa said. "I trust them to keep us safe.”

But other observers were less comforted by the sign of firearms.

Ben, who I encountered standing outside an office block on Corporation Street watching the police, was not too forthcoming, except to say “They don’t know what they’re looking for, do they?” as I passed.

The spirit of the city is often invoked, and ahead of a vigil tonight in Albert Square, there will be solidarity and strength from the capital of the North.

But the community values which Mancunians hold dear are shaken to the core by what has happened here.

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