Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Osborne well knows that Tories tax wealth at their peril (Financial Times)

If there are shock and awe tax cuts, there must be shock and awe tax rises too, writes Paul Goodman

2. Unemployment matters more than GDP or inflation (Guardian)

Jobless figures are the one major economic indicator that measures people, writes Mehdi Hasan. And they demonstrate the toll in misery across Europe.

3. A billion reasons to close the stamp duty loophole (Daily Telegraph)

Stamp duty avoidance by the super-rich is a scandal that is costing the country a fortune, says Boris Johnson.

4. Mr Obama must take a stand against Israel over Iran (Financial Times)

The true danger lies in the refusal to allow a viable Palestinian state, write John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt.

5. Who'll fight for man in street now, Cam? (Sun)

Hilton is a loss to a nation whose political elite has surrendered to unelected and unaccountable officials in Whitehall and Europe, says Trevor Kavanagh.

6. Whitehall still needs to sharpen up its act (Daily Telegraph)

The self-serving days of 'Yes Minister' may be over, but further Civil Service reform is vital, argues Peter Riddell.

7. I fear Cameron will prove to be little more than an empty suit (Daily Mail)

Steve Hilton's departure will reveal whether Dave has any political principles of his own, says Melanie Phillips.

8. What is 'soft power'? Tune in to find out (Times) (£)

Boosting the BBC World Service, not foreign aid, is the surer way to win the respect of the poor and repressed, argues Bill Emmott.

9. The police: a chance to modernise (Guardian)

This isn't privatisation: outsourcing routine jobs will save money for more urgent, difficult areas of policing, argues Ian Blair.

10. The God-given dignity to which the Cardinal is blind (Independent)

Cardinal O'Brien has not halted the onward march of aggressive secularism, but strengthened it, says Richard Coles.

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Jeremy Corbyn's Labour conference speech shows how he's grown

The leader's confident address will have impressed even his fiercest foes. 

It is not just Jeremy Corbyn’s mandate that has been improved by his re-election. The Labour leader’s conference speech was, by some distance, the best he has delivered. He spoke with far greater confidence, clarity and energy than previously. From its self-deprecating opening onwards ("Virgin Trains assure me there are 800 empty seats") we saw a leader improved in almost every respect. 

Even Corbyn’s firecest foes will have found less to take issue with than they may have anticipated. He avoided picking a fight on Trident (unlike last year), delivered his most forceful condemnation of anti-Semitism (“an evil”) and, with the exception of the Iraq war, avoided attacks on New Labour’s record. The video which preceded his arrival, and highlighted achievements from the Blair-Brown years, was another olive branch. But deselection, which Corbyn again refused to denounce, will remain a running sore (MPs alleged that Hillsborough campaigner Sheila Coleman, who introduced Corbyn, is seeking to deselect Louise Ellman and backed the rival TUSC last May).

Corbyn is frequently charged with lacking policies. But his lengthy address contained several new ones: the removal of the cap on council borrowing (allowing an extra 60,000 houses to be built), a ban on arms sales to abusive regimes and an arts pupil premium in every primary school.

On policy, Corbyn frequently resembles Ed Miliband in his more radical moments, unrestrained by Ed Balls and other shadow cabinet members. He promised £500bn of infrastructure investment (spread over a decade with £150bn from the private sector), “a real living wage”, the renationalisation of the railways, rent controls and a ban on zero-hours contracts.

Labour’s greatest divisions are not over policy but rules, strategy and culture. Corbyn’s opponents will charge him with doing far too little to appeal to the unconverted - Conservative voters most of all. But he spoke with greater conviction than before of preparing for a general election (acknowledging that Labour faced an arithmetical “mountain”) and successfully delivered the attack lines he has often shunned.

“Even Theresa May gets it, that people want change,” he said. “That’s why she stood on the steps of Downing Street and talked about the inequalities and burning injustices in today’s Britain. She promised a country: ‘that works not for a privileged few but for every one of us’. But even if she manages to talk the talk, she can’t walk the walk. This isn’t a new government, it’s David Cameron’s government repackaged with progressive slogans but with a new harsh right-wing edge, taking the country backwards and dithering before the historic challenges of Brexit.”

After a second landslide victory, Corbyn is, for now, unassailable. Many MPs, having voted no confidence in him, will never serve on the frontbench. But an increasing number, recognising Corbyn’s immovability, speak once again of seeking to “make it work”. For all the ructions of this summer, Corbyn’s speech will have helped to persuade them that they can.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.