Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. It's the Economist v Country Life Tory split (Times) (£)

The Osborne types tend to favour property taxes, writes Rachel Sylvester. But the Cameroons think an Englishman's home is his castle.

2. Ed Balls the unlikely Blairite is out to make new friends in the City (Daily Telegraph)

The shadow chancellor has one priority - to give Labour a chance of winning the election, writes Mary Riddell.

3. Not every pensioner needs a free train ticket (Independent)

In essence, universal benefits waste public money by subsidising those who already have enough, argues Steve Richards.

4. Don't despair of democracy (Financial Times)

The authoritarian urge to cross-dress in democratic clothes is an implied compliment, says Gideon Rachman.

5. Yes, legal aid will be cut, but not where it hurts the silks (Guardian)

Lawyers have much to lose in Clarke's bill, and it's only when Tories' interests are involved that their sense of injustice twitches, says Polly Toynbee.

6. Putin's Cold War politics will fail Russia (Daily Telegraph)

The new president's lack of friends - and imagination - will cost his country dear, says Malcolm Rifkind.

7. How Ayn Rand became the new right's version of Marx (Guardian)

Her psychopathic ideas made billionaires feel like victims and turned millions of followers into their doormats, writes George Monbiot.

8. Cameron's blind spot will leave us all in the dark (Daily Mirror)

The services which keep women safe or reduce the fear of crime are being disproportionately hit, says Yvette Cooper.

9. Budget will test Mr Osborne's 'fairness' (Daily Mail)

New taxes are not the way to create national wealth, says a Daily Mail editorial.

10. Forget Boris v Ken - mayors can matter (Financial Times)

The election of powerful figures across Britain would help re-energise municipal democracy, writes Philip Stephens.

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Lord Sainsbury pulls funding from Progress and other political causes

The longstanding Labour donor will no longer fund party political causes. 

Centrist Labour MPs face a funding gap for their ideas after the longstanding Labour donor Lord Sainsbury announced he will stop financing party political causes.

Sainsbury, who served as a New Labour minister and also donated to the Liberal Democrats, is instead concentrating on charitable causes. 

Lord Sainsbury funded the centrist organisation Progress, dubbed the “original Blairite pressure group”, which was founded in mid Nineties and provided the intellectual underpinnings of New Labour.

The former supermarket boss is understood to still fund Policy Network, an international thinktank headed by New Labour veteran Peter Mandelson.

He has also funded the Remain campaign group Britain Stronger in Europe. The latter reinvented itself as Open Britain after the Leave vote, and has campaigned for a softer Brexit. Its supporters include former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and Labour's Chuka Umunna, and it now relies on grassroots funding.

Sainsbury said he wished to “hand the baton on to a new generation of donors” who supported progressive politics. 

Progress director Richard Angell said: “Progress is extremely grateful to Lord Sainsbury for the funding he has provided for over two decades. We always knew it would not last forever.”

The organisation has raised a third of its funding target from other donors, but is now appealing for financial support from Labour supporters. Its aims include “stopping a hard-left take over” of the Labour party and “renewing the ideas of the centre-left”. 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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