Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. A new populism is shaping politics in Britain and beyond (Financial Times)

There is a profound ignorance among the powerful as to the depth of anti-elite feeling, says John McDermott

2. The 'white widow', like the black, looms larger in the imagination than in fact (Guardian)

Samantha Lewthwaite is 'world's most wanted' despite any hard evidence. How Clouseau-like we must seem to al-Shabaab, says Marina Hyde

3. Free societies can never be completely safe (Times)

We cannot protect every local school and shopping centre from terrorists — and we should not try, argues Janice Turner

4. Labour's energy price freeze chimes with the spirit of 1997. It's not 'back to the 70s' (Guardian)

Our plans are in line with the hugely popular windfall tax on privatised utilities. The Tories scorned that too, says Douglas Alexander

5. Make Sochi 2014 the gayest Olympics ever (Times)

If we are going – if our solidarity is in our very presence – how can we ramp up that solidarity to the max, asks Caitlin Moran

6. To win the battle for the consumer, Cameron must cut taxes soon (Daily Telegraph)

Labour’s complaints about the high price of energy should prompt a bold free-market response, says Charles Moore

7. Cameron’s patronising attitude towards women will cost him the election (Independent)

Ninety five years after women got the vote, the Tory Conference will see 128 fringe meetings at which not a single woman is due to speak, says Chris Bryant

8. The new Pope is bringing glasnost to the Vatican (Financial Times)

No one knows how his ideas will fare – but everybody senses they challenge conservative power says David Gardner

9. Ed Miliband's new populism doesn't have to end with energy prices (Guardian)

Jonathan Freedland: From banks to railways, even welfare and immigration, Labour can go much further and still keep the public onside

10. Global lukewarming need not be catastrophic (Times)

There’s a middle way between those who deny climate change is real and those who say it’s disastrous, says Matt Ridley

 

The ten must-read comment pieces from this morning's papers.
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Who will win the Copeland by-election?

Labour face a tricky task in holding onto the seat. 

What’s the Copeland by-election about? That’s the question that will decide who wins it.

The Conservatives want it to be about the nuclear industry, which is the seat’s biggest employer, and Jeremy Corbyn’s long history of opposition to nuclear power.

Labour want it to be about the difficulties of the NHS in Cumbria in general and the future of West Cumberland Hospital in particular.

Who’s winning? Neither party is confident of victory but both sides think it will be close. That Theresa May has visited is a sign of the confidence in Conservative headquarters that, win or lose, Labour will not increase its majority from the six-point lead it held over the Conservatives in May 2015. (It’s always more instructive to talk about vote share rather than raw numbers, in by-elections in particular.)

But her visit may have been counterproductive. Yes, she is the most popular politician in Britain according to all the polls, but in visiting she has added fuel to the fire of Labour’s message that the Conservatives are keeping an anxious eye on the outcome.

Labour strategists feared that “the oxygen” would come out of the campaign if May used her visit to offer a guarantee about West Cumberland Hospital. Instead, she refused to answer, merely hyping up the issue further.

The party is nervous that opposition to Corbyn is going to supress turnout among their voters, but on the Conservative side, there is considerable irritation that May’s visit has made their task harder, too.

Voters know the difference between a by-election and a general election and my hunch is that people will get they can have a free hit on the health question without risking the future of the nuclear factory. That Corbyn has U-Turned on nuclear power only helps.

I said last week that if I knew what the local paper would look like between now and then I would be able to call the outcome. Today the West Cumbria News & Star leads with Downing Street’s refusal to answer questions about West Cumberland Hospital. All the signs favour Labour. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.