Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Now Republicans face the five stages of political grief (Guardian)

Every defeated party has to travel from denial to acceptance. At least in Mitt Romney's case the loss was unequivocal, writes Jonathan Freedland.

2. Justin Welby: oilman with a new calling (Financial Times)

The new Archbishop of Canterbury will do well to unite the Church's warring factions, says Matthew Engel.

3. A very good morning for this Prime Minister (Times) (£)

Quiet rage was the right response to Phillip Schofield, argues Matthew Parris.

4. Police commissioner elections are the first step on road to corruption (Guardian)

 

The Tories are pushing for private companies to take over major police roles, with insufficient safeguards, argues Yvette Cooper.
 
 
For all their fractiousness, they really are all in it together, says Andrew Martin.
 
 
Soon, China's leadership transitions will be attracting as much attention as America's, writes David Pilling.
 
 
Going on reality TV is mere idiocy. A political system friendly to corruption is what we should be worrying about, says Tanya Gold.
 
 
The poorest farmers in Africa are more advanced than the Burmese. Let the Coca-Cola consumerism begin, writes Janice Turner.
 
9. Farewell to our warrior nation (Daily Telegraph)
 
The Government is making huge cuts to the Army, Royal Navy and RAF in the mistaken belief that they no longer matter, says Max Hastings.
 
 
The "timeliness" of new play NSFW has nothing to do with Savile, argues Tom Sutcliffe.
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Theresa May is paying the price for mismanaging Boris Johnson

The Foreign Secretary's bruised ego may end up destroying Theresa May. 

And to think that Theresa May scheduled her big speech for this Friday to make sure that Conservative party conference wouldn’t be dominated by the matter of Brexit. Now, thanks to Boris Johnson, it won’t just be her conference, but Labour’s, which is overshadowed by Brexit in general and Tory in-fighting in particular. (One imagines that the Labour leadership will find a way to cope somehow.)

May is paying the price for mismanaging Johnson during her period of political hegemony after she became leader. After he was betrayed by Michael Gove and lacking any particular faction in the parliamentary party, she brought him back from the brink of political death by making him Foreign Secretary, but also used her strength and his weakness to shrink his empire.

The Foreign Office had its responsibility for negotiating Brexit hived off to the newly-created Department for Exiting the European Union (Dexeu) and for navigating post-Brexit trade deals to the Department of International Trade. Johnson was given control of one of the great offices of state, but with no responsibility at all for the greatest foreign policy challenge since the Second World War.

Adding to his discomfort, the new Foreign Secretary was regularly the subject of jokes from the Prime Minister and cabinet colleagues. May likened him to a dog that had to be put down. Philip Hammond quipped about him during his joke-fuelled 2017 Budget. All of which gave Johnson’s allies the impression that Johnson-hunting was a licensed sport as far as Downing Street was concerned. He was then shut out of the election campaign and has continued to be a marginalised figure even as the disappointing election result forced May to involve the wider cabinet in policymaking.

His sense of exclusion from the discussions around May’s Florence speech only added to his sense of isolation. May forgot that if you aren’t going to kill, don’t wound: now, thanks to her lost majority, she can’t afford to put any of the Brexiteers out in the cold, and Johnson is once again where he wants to be: centre-stage. 

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