Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. It's Palestinians who have the right to defend themselves (Guardian)

Gazans are an occupied people and have the right to resist, including by armed force, says Seumas Milne.

2. A Terrible Failure (Times) (£)

The Church of England’s vote against women bishops does a disservice to half the population, says a Times leader.

3. This energy debate threatens to tear the coalition apart (Daily Telegraph)

Negotiations over the forthcoming Energy Bill have stirred up poisonous political divisions, writes Mary Riddell.

4. We’re all in this together, including savers (Financial Times)

If Osborne is to be both fair and smart, richer people must take the strain, writes Paul Goodman

5. The protests against austerity have failed. We have to try another way (Independent)

We must present a coherent alternative that resonates with people who live outside the political bubble, says Owen Jones.

6. Syrians may be better off without cheerleaders (Guardian)

Recognising the rebels won't mean the end of Assad, says James Harkin. That's not what the Gulf states want.

7. Israel demands our support because it fights its ‘war against terrorists’ in our name (Independent)

We westerners set the precedent when it comes to "collateral damage", now the Israelis are reeling out the same tired excuses, writes Robert Fisk.

8. Expenses revelations leave a nasty taste (Daily Telegraph)

Speaker John Bercow’s over-zealous attempts to 'protect' MPs have had the opposite effect, says a Telegraph editorial.

9. It's elementary, Cameron. If you want to win in 2015, pick the right fights (Daily Mail)

Lynton Crosby should advise the PM not to start a fight unless he's sure he can win it, says Andrew Alexander.

10. The monumental folly of rent-seeking (Financial Times)

The success of market economies is not achieved by policies that encourage greed, writes John Kay.

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Theresa May knows she's talking nonsense - here's why she's doing it

The Prime Minister's argument increases the sense that this is a time to "lend" - in her words - the Tories your vote.

Good morning.  Angela Merkel and Theresa May are more similar politicians than people think, and that holds true for Brexit too. The German Chancellor gave a speech yesterday, and the message: Brexit means Brexit.

Of course, the emphasis is slightly different. When May says it, it's about reassuring the Brexit elite in SW1 that she isn't going to backslide, and anxious Remainers and soft Brexiteers in the country that it will work out okay in the end.

When Merkel says it, she's setting out what the EU wants and the reality of third country status outside the European Union.  She's also, as with May, tilting to her own party and public opinion in Germany, which thinks that the UK was an awkward partner in the EU and is being even more awkward in the manner of its leaving.

It's a measure of how poor the debate both during the referendum and its aftermath is that Merkel's bland statement of reality - "A third-party state - and that's what Britain will be - can't and won't be able to have the same rights, let alone a better position than a member of the European Union" - feels newsworthy.

In the short term, all this helps Theresa May. Her response - delivered to a carefully-selected audience of Leeds factory workers, the better to avoid awkward questions - that the EU is "ganging up" on Britain is ludicrous if you think about it. A bloc of nations acting in their own interest against their smaller partners - colour me surprised!

But in terms of what May wants out of this election - a massive majority that gives her carte blanche to implement her agenda and puts Labour out of contention for at least a decade - it's a great message. It increases the sense that this is a time to "lend" - in May's words - the Tories your vote. You may be unhappy about the referendum result, you may usually vote Labour - but on this occasion, what's needed is a one-off Tory vote to make Brexit a success.

May's message is silly if you pay any attention to how the EU works or indeed to the internal politics of the EU27. That doesn't mean it won't be effective.

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

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