Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. The head will decide Scotland’s future (Financial Times)

Pragmatic arguments will be the decisive factor in the referendum, writes Janan Ganesh.

2. A Lib Dem double backflip now would be madness (Guardian)

A backroom deal to swap Tory-favouring boundary changes for reform of party funding would be suicidal for the Liberal Democrats, writes Polly Toynbee.

3. Scotland, fine. But an EU vote is a huge risk (Times) (£)

Asking the people did for Nick Clegg and may do for Alex Salmond, writes Rachel Sylvester. David Cameron should think twice.

4. Leaders cling to referendums for comfort (Independent)

Considering how few referendums are held, it would be healthier and more honest to stop offering them altogether, argues Steve Richards.

5. Julia Gillard is no feminist hero (Guardian)

She has been praised for standing up to sexism but Australia's prime minister is also rolling back rights, says John Pilger.

6. Cameron must commit to low-carbon economy (Financial Times)

Uncertainty over policy is deterring investment, warns Nicholas Stern.

7. A precious marriage that must survive (Daily Mail)

The Union between England and Scotland is the most mutually beneficial partnership between nations in human history, says a Daily Mail editorial.

8. Squeezed parents cannot afford childcare (Daily Telegraph)

Thanks to Labour, we have a system that is both far too costly and far too cumbersome, says

9. Spain, Britain and the forbidden fruits of independence (Financial Times)

No marriage can survive by declaring divorce illegal, writes Gideon Rachman.

10. Europhiles have only themselves to blame (Daily Telegraph)

Michael Gove speaks for many on the EU – Britain is tired of being pushed around, writes Philip Johnston.

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Why relations between Theresa May and Philip Hammond became tense so quickly

The political imperative of controlling immigration is clashing with the economic imperative of maintaining growth. 

There is no relationship in government more important than that between the prime minister and the chancellor. When Theresa May entered No.10, she chose Philip Hammond, a dependable technocrat and long-standing ally who she had known since Oxford University. 

But relations between the pair have proved far tenser than anticipated. On Wednesday, Hammond suggested that students could be excluded from the net migration target. "We are having conversations within government about the most appropriate way to record and address net migration," he told the Treasury select committee. The Chancellor, in common with many others, has long regarded the inclusion of students as an obstacle to growth. 

The following day Hammond was publicly rebuked by No.10. "Our position on who is included in the figures has not changed, and we are categorically not reviewing whether or not students are included," a spokesman said (as I reported in advance, May believes that the public would see this move as "a fix"). 

This is not the only clash in May's first 100 days. Hammond was aggrieved by the Prime Minister's criticisms of loose monetary policy (which forced No.10 to state that it "respects the independence of the Bank of England") and is resisting tougher controls on foreign takeovers. The Chancellor has also struck a more sceptical tone on the UK's economic prospects. "It is clear to me that the British people did not vote on June 23 to become poorer," he declared in his conference speech, a signal that national prosperity must come before control of immigration. 

May and Hammond's relationship was never going to match the remarkable bond between David Cameron and George Osborne. But should relations worsen it risks becoming closer to that beween Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling. Like Hammond, Darling entered the Treasury as a calm technocrat and an ally of the PM. But the extraordinary circumstances of the financial crisis transformed him into a far more assertive figure.

In times of turmoil, there is an inevitable clash between political and economic priorities. As prime minister, Brown resisted talk of cuts for fear of the electoral consequences. But as chancellor, Darling was more concerned with the bottom line (backing a rise in VAT). By analogy, May is focused on the political imperative of controlling immigration, while Hammond is focused on the economic imperative of maintaining growth. If their relationship is to endure far tougher times they will soon need to find a middle way. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.