Morning Call: Pick of the papers

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

  1. NSA and GCHQ – too close for comfort (Guardian)
    It makes sense for the US and UK to co-operate and share, but payments between the two agencies must mean influence, writes Nick Hopkins.
  2. Britain is slamming its doors against the world (Financial Times)
    A champion of the liberal, open international system is redefining itself as a resentful victim, writes Philip Stephens.
  3. One thing Ryanair got right - charging extra for needless hand luggage (Independent)
    We know what a trip on Ryanair means: cheap and not very cheerful. But why do people now take huge bags on the flight instead of checking them in, asks Simon Kelner.
  4. Thatcher and Reagan may have seemed like equals. His invasion of Grenada shows they were not (Independent)
    The embarrassment and humiliation have in fact been known for years. But only now do we see how carefully Washington kept its supposedly close ally in the dark, writes Peter Popham.
  5. Parking fines rocket because of the centre's addiction to power (Guardian)
    Conservatives like Eric Pickles espouse freedom for local councils, but they have done nothing to show they mean it, writes Simon Jenkins.
  6. Children die when social workers stop feeling (Times)
    We need more raw revulsion at tragedies like Daniel Pelka’s, not administrative change, writes Camila Batmanghelidjh.
  7. So which anniversary will sway the Scots? (Telegraph)
    Both Bannockburn and the Great War will loom large when Scotland votes on independence, one year from now, Sunder Katwala points out.
  8. Moral objections to the case for dishing Wonga (Financial Times)
    There are better ways for the Archbishop of Canterbury to help the poor, says Jonathan Ford.
  9. It’s no wonder none of my friends are teenage Tories (Telegraph)
    Left-wing propaganda on A-level Politics syllabuses strongly influences 18-year-olds' opinions, argues Carola Binney.
  10. Why we can’t see the risks of monkey business (Times)
    Gaby Hinscliff offers a lesson from Longleat for Anthony Weiner.

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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What will Labour's new awkward squad do next?

What does the future hold for the party's once-rising-stars?

For years, Jeremy Corbyn was John McDonnell’s only friend in Parliament. Now, Corbyn is the twice-elected Labour leader, and McDonnell his shadow chancellor. The crushing leadership election victory has confirmed Corbyn-supporting MPs as the new Labour elite. It has also created a new awkward squad.   

Some MPs – including some vocal critics of Corbyn – are queuing up to get back in the shadow cabinet (one, Sarah Champion, returned during the leadership contest). Chi Onwurah, who spoke out on Corbyn’s management style, never left. But others, most notably the challenger Owen Smith, are resigning themselves to life on the back benches. 

So what is a once-rising-star MP to do? The most obvious choice is to throw yourself into the issue the Corbyn leadership doesn’t want to talk about – Brexit. The most obvious platform to do so on is a select committee. Chuka Umunna has founded Vote Leave Watch, a campaign group, and is running to replace Keith Vaz on the Home Affairs elect committee. Emma Reynolds, a former shadow Europe minister, is running alongside Hilary Benn to sit on the newly-created Brexit committee. 

Then there is the written word - so long as what you write is controversial enough. Rachel Reeves caused a stir when she described control on freedom of movement as “a red line” in Brexit negotiations. Keir Starmer is still planning to publish his long-scheduled immigration report. Alison McGovern embarked on a similar tour of the country

Other MPs have thrown themselves into campaigns, most notably refugee rights. Stella Creasy is working with Alf Dubs on his amendment to protect child refugees. Yvette Cooper chairs Labour's refugee taskforce.

The debate about whether Labour MPs should split altogether is ongoing, but the warnings of history aside, some Corbyn critics believe this is exactly what the leadership would like them to do. Richard Angell, deputy director of Progress, a centrist group, said: “Parts of the Labour project get very frustrated that good people Labour activists are staying in the party.”

One reason to stay in Labour is the promise of a return of shadow cabinet elections, a decision currently languishing with the National Executive Committee. 

But anti-Corbyn MPs may still yet find their ability to influence policies blocked. Even if the decision goes ahead, the Corbyn leadership is understood to be planning a root and branch reform of party institutions, to be announced in the late autumn. If it is consistent with his previous rhetoric, it will hand more power to the pro-Corbyn grassroots members. The members of Labour's new awkward squad have seized on elections as a way to legitimise their voices. But with Corbyn in charge, they might get more democracy than they bargained for.