Morning Call: pick of the papers

The ten best comment pieces from today's papers.

1. Mali needs more than a call to arms (Guardian)

West Africa's al-Qaida clones are neither religious nor political. The world is facing viral mutations of the human psyche, writes Wole Soyinka.

2. Britain in knots over infrastructure (Financial Times)

Big projects need clear plans and honesty about who pays, writes Dieter Helm.

3. Vote ‘no’ and you will blush to remember it (Times)

MPs who opposed civil partnerships are now all for them. The Right will soon embrace same-sex marriage too, writes Matthew Parris.

4. Man made our landscape. He can change it (Times)

Those who bemoan the arrival of HS2 should remember there is nothing primeval left in the British countryside, writes Alan Garner.

5.  The one thing plotters hate more than coalition is the PM (Independent)

Cameron lacks the authority that an outright win in 2010 would have given him, writes Andrew Grice.

6. Can you succeed if you go to a comp? (Times

So much for social mobility: 80 per cent of Britain’s leaders went to an elite school, writes Janice Turner.

7. Hilary Mantel: author in tune with the times (Financial Times)

The novelist brings a modern sensibility to a pivotal point in history, writes Peter Aspden.

8. The Lib Dems abandon a founding father of voting reform (Telegraph)

When Nick Clegg opposed a Bill for fair votes, he cut all political ties to an illustrious predecessor, says Graeme Archer.

9. I don’t envy the Rebecca Adlingtons of sport – they peak too soon (Telegraph)

Never mind jobs for life - athletes barely have their jobs for a quarter of their lives, writes Bryony Gordon.

10.  If the Chinese dragon is so mighty, why is it trembling inside? (Guardian)

 Beijing's alleged hacking of the New York Times is a sign of both the regime's huge power – and its fear of a Chinese spring, writes Jonathan Freedland.

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What do Labour's lost voters make of the Labour leadership candidates?

What does Newsnight's focus group make of the Labour leadership candidates?

Tonight on Newsnight, an IpsosMori focus group of former Labour voters talks about the four Labour leadership candidates. What did they make of the four candidates?

On Andy Burnham:

“He’s the old guard, with Yvette Cooper”

“It’s the same message they were trying to portray right up to the election”​

“I thought that he acknowledged the fact that they didn’t say sorry during the time of the election, and how can you expect people to vote for you when you’re not actually acknowledging that you were part of the problem”​

“Strongish leader, and at least he’s acknowledging and saying let’s move on from here as opposed to wishy washy”

“I was surprised how long he’d been in politics if he was talking about Tony Blair years – he doesn’t look old enough”

On Jeremy Corbyn:

"“He’s the older guy with the grey hair who’s got all the policies straight out of the sixties and is a bit of a hippy as well is what he comes across as” 

“I agree with most of what he said, I must admit, but I don’t think as a country we can afford his principles”

“He was just going to be the opposite of Conservatives, but there might be policies on the Conservative side that, y’know, might be good policies”

“I’ve heard in the paper he’s the favourite to win the Labour leadership. Well, if that was him, then I won’t be voting for Labour, put it that way”

“I think he’s a very good politician but he’s unelectable as a Prime Minister”

On Yvette Cooper

“She sounds quite positive doesn’t she – for families and their everyday issues”

“Bedroom tax, working tax credits, mainly mum things as well”

“We had Margaret Thatcher obviously years ago, and then I’ve always thought about it being a man, I wanted a man, thinking they were stronger…  she was very strong and decisive as well”

“She was very clear – more so than the other guy [Burnham]”

“I think she’s trying to play down her economics background to sort of distance herself from her husband… I think she’s dumbing herself down”

On Liz Kendall

“None of it came from the heart”

“She just sounds like someone’s told her to say something, it’s not coming from the heart, she needs passion”

“Rather than saying what she’s going to do, she’s attacking”

“She reminded me of a headteacher when she was standing there, and she was quite boring. She just didn’t seem to have any sort of personality, and you can’t imagine her being a leader of a party”

“With Liz Kendall and Andy Burnham there’s a lot of rhetoric but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of direction behind what they’re saying. There seems to be a lot of words but no action.”

And, finally, a piece of advice for all four candidates, should they win the leadership election:

“Get down on your hands and knees and start praying”

Stephen Bush is editor of the Staggers, the New Statesman’s political blog.