Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

  1. Mass surveillance wouldn't have saved the life of Drummer Rigby (Observer)

    The introduction of a communications data bill wouldn't have prevented last week's shocking murder of Lee Rigby, writes Henry Porter.

  2. Yes, I’m a smartphone Nazi, so stop that tippety-tap now (Sunday Times)

    The older I get the more that silence seems far more eloquent and articulate than the frenzied voices that crowd it out, writes Andrew Sullivan

  3. David Cameron isn't even among friends in his own cabinet now (Observer)

    Already wounded by battles with backbenchers, the prime minister is faced with a revolt by ministers over cuts, writes Andrew Rawnsley.

  4. Angela Merkel is David Cameron's new best friend for ever (Independent on Sunday)

    Beyond her general competence, most British people know very little of the German Chancellor, writes John Rentoul.

  5. Twitter at its worst is not Bercow, but the braying mob (**)

    The Twitter villains are the bullies who feel scant responsibility and a lack of interest in fairness, writes Barbara Ellen.

  6. Doctors took the easy option, and lost our respect (Sunday Telegraph)

    GPs have changed, but the government is partly to blame, writes Anthony Daniels.

  7. Why Cameron told MI5: ‘I know you are not to blame’ (Mail on Sunday)

    Inside Number 10, the view is that some reassurance can actually be drawn from the fact that the attackers were known to the authorities, and might even have been contacted by them, writes James Forsyth.

  8. Even for liberals, Obama has crossed a line (Sunday Telegraph)

    Those who have spoken out against the President’s expansion of government power have been investigated and intimidated, writes Janet Daley.

  9. Did we learn so little about jihadism from the 7/7 bombings? (Independent on Sunday)

    In Woolwich, the police were too slow off the mark and the politicians got the wrong end of the stick. Both groups need to focus hard, writes Crispin Black.

  10. A tip for the untaxables: give your cash away (Sunday Times)

    In these straitened times the mood has changed to recrimination. I pay my taxes. You avoid yours. They — the rich or big business — are doing evil, writes Adam Boulton.

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

Getty
Show Hide image

Richmond is a victory for hope - now let's bring change across the country

The regressives are building their armies. 

Last night a regressive alliance was toppled. Despite being backed by both Ukip and the Conservative Party, Zac Goldsmith was rejected by the voters of Richmond Park.

Make no mistake, this result will rock the Conservative party – and in particularly dent their plans for a hard and painful Brexit. They may shrug off this vote in public, but their majority is thin and their management of the post-referendum process is becoming more chaotic by the day. This is a real moment, and those of us opposing their post-truth plans must seize it.

I’m really proud of the role that the Green party played in this election. Our local parties decided to show leadership by not standing this time and urging supporters to vote instead for the candidate that stood the best chance of winning for those of us that oppose Brexit. Greens’ votes could very well be "what made the difference" in this election (we received just over 3,500 votes in 2015 and Sarah Olney’s majority is 1,872) - though we’ll never know exactly where they went. Just as importantly though, I believe that the brave decision by the local Green party fundamentally changed the tone of the election.

When I went to Richmond last weekend, I met scores of people motivated to campaign for a "progressive alliance" because they recognised that something bigger than just one by election is at stake. We made a decision to demonstrate you can do politics differently, and I think we can fairly say that was vindicated. 

There are some already attacking me for helping get one more Liberal Democrat into Parliament. Let me be very clear: the Lib Dems' role in the Coalition was appalling – propping up a Conservative government hell bent on attacking our public services and overseeing a hike in child poverty. But Labour’s record of their last time in office isn't immune from criticism either – not just because of the illegal war in Iraq but also their introduction of tuition fees, privatisation of our health service and slavish worship of the City of London. They, like the Liberal Democrats, stood at the last election on an austerity manifesto. There is a reason that we remain different parties, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn't also seize opportunities like this to unite behind what we have in common. Olney is no perfect candidate but she has pledged to fight a hard Brexit, campaign against airport expansion and push for a fair voting system – surely progressives can agree that her win takes us forward rather than backwards?

Ultimately, last night was not just defeat of a regressive alliance but a victory for hope - a victory that's sorely needed on the back of of the division, loss and insecurity that seems to have marked much of the rest of this year. The truth is that getting to this point hasn’t been an easy process – and some people, including local Green party members have had criticisms which, as a democrat, I certainly take seriously. The old politics dies hard, and a new politics is not easy to forge in the short time we have. But standing still is not an option, nor is repeating the same mistakes of the past. The regressives are building their armies and we either make our alternative work or risk the left being out of power for a generation. 

With our NHS under sustained attack, our climate change laws threatened and the increasing risk of us becoming a tax haven floating on the edge of the Atlantic, the urgent need to think differently about how we win has never been greater. 

An anti-establishment wave is washing over Britain. History teaches us that can go one of two ways. For the many people who are utterly sick of politics as usual, perhaps the idea of politicians occasionally putting aside their differences for the good of the country is likely to appeal, and might help us rebuild trust among those who feel abandoned. So it's vital that we use this moment not just to talk among ourselves about how to work together but also as another spark to start doing things differently, in every community in Britain. That means listening to people, especially those who voted for Britain to leave the EU, hearing what they’re saying and working with them to affect change. Giving people real power, not just the illusion of it.

It means looking at ways to redistribute power and money in this country like never before, and knowing that a by-election in a leafy London suburb changes nothing for the vast majority of our country.

Today let us celebrate that the government's majority is smaller, and that people have voted for a candidate who used her victory speech to say that she would "stand up for an open, tolerant, united Britain".  But tomorrow let’s get started on something far bigger - because the new politics is not just about moments it's about movements, and it will only work if nobody is left behind.

 

Caroline Lucas is the MP for Brighton Pavilion.