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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The economics of outrage: Why you haven't seen the end of Katie Hopkins

Her distasteful tweet may have cost her a job at LBC, but this isn't the last we've seen of Britain's biggest troll. 

Another atrocity, other surge of grief and fear, and there like clockwork was the UK’s biggest troll. Hours after the explosion at the Manchester Arena that killed 22 mostly young and female concert goers, Katie Hopkins weighed in with a very on-brand tweet calling for a “final solution” to the complex issue of terrorism.

She quickly deleted it, replacing the offending phrase with the words “true solution”, but did not tone down the essentially fascist message. Few thought it had been an innocent mistake on the part of someone unaware of the historical connotations of those two words.  And no matter how many urged their fellow web users not to give Hopkins the attention she craved, it still sparked angry tweets, condemnatory news articles and even reports to the police.

Hopkins has lost her presenting job at LBC radio, but she is yet to lose her column at Mail Online, and it’s quite likely she won’t.

Mail Online and its print counterpart The Daily Mail have regularly shown they are prepared to go down the deliberately divisive path Hopkins was signposting. But even if the site's managing editor Martin Clarke was secretly a liberal sandal-wearer, there are also very good economic reasons for Mail Online to stick with her. The extreme and outrageous is great at gaining attention, and attention is what makes money for Mail Online.

It is ironic that Hopkins’s career was initially helped by TV’s attempts to provide balance. Producers could rely on her to provide a counterweight to even the most committed and rational bleeding-heart liberal.

As Patrick Smith, a former media specialist who is currently a senior reporter at BuzzFeed News points out: “It’s very difficult for producers who are legally bound to be balanced, they will sometimes literally have lawyers in the room.”

“That in a way is why some people who are skirting very close or beyond the bounds of taste and decency get on air.”

But while TV may have made Hopkins, it is online where her extreme views perform best.  As digital publishers have learned, the best way to get the shares, clicks and page views that make them money is to provoke an emotional response. And there are few things as good at provoking an emotional response as extreme and outrageous political views.

And in many ways it doesn’t matter whether that response is negative or positive. Those who complain about what Hopkins says are also the ones who draw attention to it – many will read what she writes in order to know exactly why they should hate her.

Of course using outrageous views as a sales tactic is not confined to the web – The Daily Mail prints columns by Sarah Vine for a reason - but the risks of pushing the boundaries of taste and decency are greater in a linear, analogue world. Cancelling a newspaper subscription or changing radio station is a simpler and often longer-lasting act than pledging to never click on a tempting link on Twitter or Facebook. LBC may have had far more to lose from sticking with Hopkins than Mail Online does, and much less to gain. Someone prepared to say what Hopkins says will not be out of work for long. 

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