Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Bash the poor and wave the flag - how this Tory trick works (Guardian)

Jonathan Freedland explains how in a move imported from the US right, the Conservatives have successfully induced people to vote against their own interests.

2. This is a question of honour for the coalition -- not Stephen Hester (Daily Telegraph)

To do difficult things, the government must stand behind its own policies and people, says Charles Moore.

3. It's a crisis of confidence, not of capitalism (Financial Times)

We must return to the principles of the free market, writes George Osborne.

4. The Days of Our Youth (Times) (£)

European leaders need to tackle their terrible rates of youth unemployment, says leading article.

5. Philanthropy is the enemy of justice (Guardian)

The world's poor are not begging for charity from the rich, says Robert Newman -- they're asking for justice and fairness.

6. The outsider who has run foul of the FSA (Financial Times)

David Einhorn, the fund titan who shorted Lehman, has sold himself short, write Sam Jones and Dan McCrum.

7. Why protesters should occupy London 2012 (Times) (£)

Giles Coren writes that instead of banning tents from the Olympics, we should give medals for formal displays of civil disobedience.

8. Hornby: the end of the line (Guardian)

If play is the work of childhood, says Andrew Martin, Hornby's struggle is grim news for the future of UK manufacturing.

9. Class warfare need not be taxing (Financial Times)

The pragmatic case for socking it to the rich is weak, said Christopher Caldwell.

10. God may not be great, but religion can be (Times) (£)

Janice Turner writes how as a teenage atheist, she removed Jesus from the Nativity scene. Now she has realised that something is missing.

Getty Images.
Show Hide image

Tom Watson rouses Labour's conference as he comes out fighting

The party's deputy leader exhilarated delegates with his paean to the Blair and Brown years. 

Tom Watson is down but not out. After Jeremy Corbyn's second landslide victory, and weeks of threats against his position, Labour's deputy leader could have played it safe. Instead, he came out fighting. 

With Corbyn seated directly behind him, he declared: "I don't know why we've been focusing on what was wrong with the Blair and Brown governments for the last six years. But trashing our record is not the way to enhance our brand. We won't win elections like that! And we need to win elections!" As Watson won a standing ovation from the hall and the platform, the Labour leader remained motionless. When a heckler interjected, Watson riposted: "Jeremy, I don't think she got the unity memo." Labour delegates, many of whom hail from the pre-Corbyn era, lapped it up.

Though he warned against another challenge to the leader ("we can't afford to keep doing this"), he offered a starkly different account of the party's past and its future. He reaffirmed Labour's commitment to Nato ("a socialist construct"), with Corbyn left isolated as the platform applauded. The only reference to the leader came when Watson recalled his recent PMQs victory over grammar schools. There were dissenting voices (Watson was heckled as he praised Sadiq Khan for winning an election: "Just like Jeremy Corbyn!"). But one would never have guessed that this was the party which had just re-elected Corbyn. 

There was much more to Watson's speech than this: a fine comic riff on "Saturday's result" (Ed Balls on Strictly), a spirited attack on Theresa May's "ducking and diving; humming and hahing" and a cerebral account of the automation revolution. But it was his paean to Labour history that roused the conference as no other speaker has. 

The party's deputy channelled the spirit of both Hugh Gaitskell ("fight, and fight, and fight again to save the party we love") and his mentor Gordon Brown (emulating his trademark rollcall of New Labour achivements). With his voice cracking, Watson recalled when "from the sunny uplands of increasing prosperity social democratic government started to feel normal to the people of Britain". For Labour, a party that has never been further from power in recent decades, that truly was another age. But for a brief moment, Watson's tubthumper allowed Corbyn's vanquished opponents to relive it. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.