Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Ban bonuses, and Fred Goodwin could have kept his knighthood (Guardian)

Even bankers want the bonus culture outlawed, says Simon Jenkins. It's a conspiracy to extract money from firms that properly belongs to others.

2. Don't penalise RBS just because we own it (Times) (£)

If its actions are targeted at individuals, not based on principle, the government will carry on blowing in the wind, warns Alistair Darling.

3. Occupy London's eviction is a failure for the church, not the camp (Guardian)

The protesters about to be removed from the steps of St Paul's could have helped the cathedral find a compelling new narrative, says Giles Fraser.

4. The Greeks will not be the last people to lose control of their fiscal policy (Independent)

Governments elected for four years must run fiscal policies sustainable for 40, writes Hamish McRae.

5. Our university revolution has only just begun (Daily Telegraph)

Students are now in the driving seat, but Britain is still at risk of being overtaken, says David Willetts.

6. David Cameron has allowed Europe to say FU to its people (Guardian)

The decision to let EU institutions police fiscal union is a massive missed opportunity for Cameron, and for Britain, argues Daniel Hannan.

7. Europe is stuck on life support (Financial Times)

The ECB has staved off a eurozone heart attack but its members face a long convalescence, writes Martin Wolf.

8. Reviving manufacturing is the key to our country's future prosperity (Daily Mirror)

Regulating and reforming banksters and hedge fund sharks is vital, writes Kevin Maguire. But a new industrial revolution is the way forward.

9. At long last, a fitting punishment for such arrogance (Daily Mail)

The removal of Fred Goodwin's knighthood will be a heavy blow to the man who led RBS into the abyss, says Stephen Glover.

10. The pound is a poison pill for an independent Scotland (Financial Times)

A currency union exists when people believe it does, says John Kay.

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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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