Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. A Mitt Romney win would merely reward Republicans for bad behaviour (Guardian)

Obama's presidency may have been too timid, but let's not forget who's been responsible for the US's political gridlock, says Gary Younge.

2. Obama is the wiser bet for crisis-hit US (Financial Times)

There remains a need for intelligent, reformist US governance, says an FT editorial. Obama looks the better choice.

3. Vote Mitt: the world needs this deal-maker (Times) (£)

Obama has proved that he can’t reach across party lines, says Tim Montgomerie.

4. If only we had a real choice like America (Daily Mail)

While Obama and Romney offer two entirely different visions of the US's future, our parties have become ever more similar, writes Simon Heffer.

5. The Tories are emasculating the Equality and Human Rights Commission (Independent)

The government is attempting to frame human rights and equality as a fringe concern, but these are issues that should matter to us all, writes Yasmin Alibhai Brown.

6. We’re on our way out of EU but PM must rein in the rebels (Sun)

Britain is surely heading for the EU exit, but it cannot afford to be blamed for bringing the roof down as it goes, says Trevor Kavanagh.

7. Labour must not let Britain drift into a European exit (Guardian)

After last week's political opportunism, Ed Miliband has to ensure his party counters the nation's growing anti-EU sentiment, writes Jackie Ashley.

8. The Taliban's main fear is not drones but educated girls (Guardian)

If Pakistan really wants to combat the fundamentalists, it should be protecting its children and their teachers, writes Mohammed Hanif.

9. There is no place for French-style protectionism in UK (Financial Times)

France’s approach to takeovers has not helped its economy, writes Geoff Owen.

10. Listen up, Mitt – because I’ve got the key to the White House (Daily Telegraph)

Planet Earth is rooting for Obama, but his rival can change that with one simple gesture, writes Boris Johnson.

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Angela Rayner - from teenage mum to the woman who could unify Labour

Corbyn-supporting Rayner mentioned Tony Blair in her speech. 

For those at the Labour party conference feeling pessimistic this September, Angela Rayner’s speech on education may be a rare moment of hope. 

Not only did the shadow education secretary capitalise on one of the few issues uniting the party – opposition to grammar schools – and chart a return to left-wing policies, but she did so while paying tribute to the New Labour legacy. 

Rayner grew up on a Stockport council estate, raised by a mother who could not read nor write. She was, she reminded conference, someone who left school a no-hoper. 

"I left school at 16 pregnant and with no qualifications. Some may argue I was not a great role model for young people. The direction of my life was already set.

"But something happened. Labour's Sure Start centres gave me and my friends, and our children, the support we needed to grow and develop."

Rayner has shown complete loyalty to Jeremy Corbyn throughout the summer, taking two briefs in the depopulated shadow cabinet and speaking at his campaign events.

Nevertheless, as someone who practically benefited from Labour’s policies during its time in government, she is unapologetic about its legacy. She even mentioned the unmentionable, declaring: “Tony Blair talked about education, education, education. Theresa May wants segregation, segregation, segregation.”

As for Rayner's policies, a certain amount of realism underpins her rhetoric. She wants to bring back maintenance grants for low-income students, and the Educational Maintenance Allowance for those in further education. 

But she is not just offering a sop to the middle class. A new childcare taskforce will focus on early education, which she describes as “the most effective drivers of social mobility”. 

Rayner pledged to “put as much effort into expanding, technical, vocational education and meaningful apprenticeships, as we did with higher education”. She declared: "The snobbery about vocational education must end."

Tory critics have questioned the ability of a woman who left school at 16 to be an education secretary, Rayner acknowledged. “I may not have a degree - but I have a Masters in real life,” she said. It could have sounded trite, but her speech delivered the goods. Perhaps she will soon earn her PhD in political instincts too.