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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En français, s'il vous plaît! EU lead negotiator wants to talk Brexit in French

C'est très difficile. 

In November 2015, after the Paris attacks, Theresa May said: "Nous sommes solidaires avec vous, nous sommes tous ensemble." ("We are in solidarity with you, we are all together.")

But now the Prime Minister might have to brush up her French and take it to a much higher level.

Reuters reports the EU's lead Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, would like to hold the talks in French, not English (an EU spokeswoman said no official language had been agreed). 

As for the Home office? Aucun commentaire.

But on Twitter, British social media users are finding it all très amusant.

In the UK, foreign language teaching has suffered from years of neglect. The government may regret this now . . .

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