Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

  1. David Cameron won't prosper by trying to outkip the Kippers (Observer)
    Both the Tories and Labour have several reasons to be troubled by the Ukip surge – and one to be grateful for it, writes Andrew Rawnsley.
  2. Has the Conservative Party learnt any lessons from Ukip's success? (Sunday Telegraph)
    There has been a groundswell in the big world – the neglected majority of conservative voters has moved on, writes Janet Daley
  3. They’re all now making plans for Nigel (Sunday Times)
    UKIP has staked out its territory and it won’t be dislodged easily. Who is the joke on, asks Adam Boulton, and who are the pretenders now?
  4. When Nigel Farage's dream fades, it will be Dave who smiles (Independent on Sunday)
    The Tories will be also-rans in next year's European elections, but once reality dawns in 2015, it is Labour who will have most to worry about, writes John Rentoul.
  5. Fashion still doesn't give a damn about the deaths of garment workers (Observer)
    Lucy Siegle reports on a campaign launched this week aiming to ensure the tragedy in Bangladesh is a tipping point for both the industry and consumers.
  6. A decade that hushed up horror (Sunday Telegraph)
    We don't feel so nostalgic for the Seventies in the wake of these scandals, writes Jenny McCartney.
  7. Brutal Obama is shackled by his Guantanamo gulag (Sunday Times)
    Obama is now more brutal in his treatment of prisoners in a terrorist war than Thatcher, writes Andrew Sullivan.
  8. Our disbelief is the sexual predator's great asset (Independent on Sunday)
    The problem was not tolerance of abuse but disbelief of anyone who dared complain, writes Joan Smith
  9. Fruitcakes and closet racists? Cameron's talking about YOU! (**)
    It is now just a matter of time before the Tory Party dies, asserts Peter Hitchens.
  10. Worker Safety in Bangladesh and Beyond (New York Times)
    Lawmakers began improving industrial safety in earnest after the 1911 fire at New York’s Triangle Shirtwaist factory, which killed 146 workers and horrified the country. The collapse of Rana Plaza should play a similarly galvanizing role now, write the New York Times' editors.

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

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Theresa May’s stage-managed election campaign keeps the public at bay

Jeremy Corbyn’s approach may be chaotic, but at least it’s more authentic.

The worst part about running an election campaign for a politician? Having to meet the general public. Those ordinary folk can be a tricky lot, with their lack of regard for being on-message, and their pesky real-life concerns.

But it looks like Theresa May has decided to avoid this inconvenience altogether during this snap general election campaign, as it turns out her visit to Leeds last night was so stage-managed that she barely had to face the public.

Accusations have been whizzing around online that at a campaign event at the Shine building in Leeds, the Prime Minister spoke to a room full of guests invited by the party, rather than local people or people who work in the building’s office space.

The Telegraph’s Chris Hope tweeted a picture of the room in which May was addressing her audience yesterday evening a little before 7pm. He pointed out that, being in Leeds, she was in “Labour territory”:

But a few locals who spied this picture online claimed that the audience did not look like who you’d expect to see congregated at Shine – a grade II-listed Victorian school that has been renovated into a community project housing office space and meeting rooms.

“Ask why she didn’t meet any of the people at the business who work in that beautiful building. Everyone there was an invite-only Tory,” tweeted Rik Kendell, a Leeds-based developer and designer who says he works in the Shine building. “She didn’t arrive until we’d all left for the day. Everyone in the building past 6pm was invite-only . . . They seemed to seek out the most clinical corner for their PR photos. Such a beautiful building to work in.”

Other tweeters also found the snapshot jarring:

Shine’s founders have pointed out that they didn’t host or invite Theresa May – rather the party hired out the space for a private event: “All visitors pay for meeting space in Shine and we do not seek out, bid for, or otherwise host any political parties,” wrote managing director Dawn O'Keefe. The guestlist was not down to Shine, but to the Tory party.

The audience consisted of journalists and around 150 Tory activists, according to the Guardian. This was instead of employees from the 16 offices housed in the building. I have asked the Conservative Party for clarification of who was in the audience and whether it was invite-only and am awaiting its response.

Jeremy Corbyn accused May of “hiding from the public”, and local Labour MP Richard Burgon commented that, “like a medieval monarch, she simply briefly relocated her travelling court of admirers to town and then moved on without so much as a nod to the people she considers to be her lowly subjects”.

But it doesn’t look like the Tories’ painstaking stage-management is a fool-proof plan. Having uniform audiences of the party faithful on the campaign trail seems to be confusing the Prime Minister somewhat. During a visit to a (rather sparsely populated) factory in Clay Cross, Derbyshire, yesterday, she appeared to forget where exactly on the campaign trail she was:

The management of Corbyn’s campaign has also resulted in gaffes – but for opposite reasons. A slightly more chaotic approach has led to him facing the wrong way, with his back to the cameras.

Corbyn’s blunder is born out of his instinct to address the crowd rather than the cameras – May’s problem is the other way round. Both, however, seem far more comfortable talking to the party faithful, even if they are venturing out of safe seat territory.

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.

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