Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. George Osborne is stuck in a failed economic model, circa 1979 (Guardian)

Economic recovery demands we ditch the myth that private rather than state investment drives industrial innovation, says Seumas Milne.

2. Will Osborne stick to my five Budget rules? (Times) (£)

No is the answer, says Anatole Kaletsky. Cutting the top rate of tax will undermine the principle that sacrifice must be shared fairly.

3. Labour's tragedy is not its leader - it's the shadow Chancellor (Independent)

Matthew Norman says that were Yvette Cooper the opponent, Osborne would not risk this tax cut braggadocio.

4. Whatever the Chancellor says, Britain is not open for business (Daily Telegraph)

Tell foreign rivals that the Government is pursuing growth and they'll laugh in your face, says Willie Walsh.

5. To cut or not to cut - the advice of a 50 per centre (Financial Times)

Don't believe a 'crackdown' on tax avoidance will work, writes Martin Taylor.

6. It may look like a tax cut but it's just a trick (Times) (£)

The Chancellor has set his course and will stick to it, says Daniel Finkelstein. So don't be fooled -- any giveaways will have to be paid for.

7. Time for Mr Osborne to rise to the challenge (Independent)

Today's Budget is the Chancellor's last chance to be truly daring before the next election, says this leading article.

8. How to blow away China's gathering storm clouds (Financial Times)

A record of economic success does not guarantee a comparably successful future, says Martin Wolf.

9. Toulouse shooting: Will Sarkozy prove to be the leader the nation needs? (Daily Telegraph)

As France stops for a painful moment of soul-searching, the President is determined to show his strength, says Henry Samuel.

10. Libya still needs Britain (Daily Telegraph)

A year on from military intervention, we can help fight corruption with our institutional knowhow, says David Davis and Ibrahim El Mayet.

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What Jeremy Corbyn gets right about the single market

Technically, you can be outside the EU but inside the single market. Philosophically, you're still in the EU. 

I’ve been trying to work out what bothers me about the response to Jeremy Corbyn’s interview on the Andrew Marr programme.

What bothers me about Corbyn’s interview is obvious: the use of the phrase “wholesale importation” to describe people coming from Eastern Europe to the United Kingdom makes them sound like boxes of sugar rather than people. Adding to that, by suggesting that this “importation” had “destroy[ed] conditions”, rather than laying the blame on Britain’s under-enforced and under-regulated labour market, his words were more appropriate to a politician who believes that immigrants are objects to be scapegoated, not people to be served. (Though perhaps that is appropriate for the leader of the Labour Party if recent history is any guide.)

But I’m bothered, too, by the reaction to another part of his interview, in which the Labour leader said that Britain must leave the single market as it leaves the European Union. The response to this, which is technically correct, has been to attack Corbyn as Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland are members of the single market but not the European Union.

In my view, leaving the single market will make Britain poorer in the short and long term, will immediately render much of Labour’s 2017 manifesto moot and will, in the long run, be a far bigger victory for right-wing politics than any mere election. Corbyn’s view, that the benefits of freeing a British government from the rules of the single market will outweigh the costs, doesn’t seem very likely to me. So why do I feel so uneasy about the claim that you can be a member of the single market and not the European Union?

I think it’s because the difficult truth is that these countries are, de facto, in the European Union in any meaningful sense. By any estimation, the three pillars of Britain’s “Out” vote were, firstly, control over Britain’s borders, aka the end of the free movement of people, secondly, more money for the public realm aka £350m a week for the NHS, and thirdly control over Britain’s own laws. It’s hard to see how, if the United Kingdom continues to be subject to the free movement of people, continues to pay large sums towards the European Union, and continues to have its laws set elsewhere, we have “honoured the referendum result”.

None of which changes my view that leaving the single market would be a catastrophe for the United Kingdom. But retaining Britain’s single market membership starts with making the argument for single market membership, not hiding behind rhetorical tricks about whether or not single market membership was on the ballot last June, when it quite clearly was. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.