Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Britain badly needs an Abraham Lincoln who will think big and act big (Daily Telegraph)

MPs in both the Conservatives and Labour are yearning for a leader who will show courage and imagination, writes Mary Riddell.

2. A perilous journey to full recovery (Financial Times)

The key to success everywhere will be timing the exit from exceptional policies, writes Martin Wolf. 

3. Britain's narrow view of the EU is wrong (Times) (£)

Berlin shares David Cameron’s desire for reform in Brussels but not his vision for Europe, says German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle.

4. UK intervention in Mali treads a familiar – and doomed – path (Guardian)

Does Mali pose an "existential threat" to the UK? Hardly, says Simon Jenkins. Intervention will bring only more trouble.

5. Hillary Clinton leaves a hard job well done (Independent)

The Secretary of State leaves no signature achievement, but America is safer now than it was, says an Independent editorial. 

6. Murdoch links sympathy for Palestinians to anti-Semitism. The truth is more complex (Independent)

Wishing an end to Palestinian suffering is not synonymous with willing the annihilation of Israel, so why is this distinction so hard to make, asks Matthew Norman. 

7. We'll give parents the confidence they crave from early years education (Guardian)

Nurseries should give children the chance to learn, and women the choice to work if they want to, writes early years minister Elizabeth Truss.

8. Childcare plan: the kids are not all right (Guardian)

The biggest danger posed by the coalition's reforms is that they will create a new class divide at the earliest ages, says a Guardian editorial.

9. India casts around for more outrage (Financial Times)

Taking offence has become a newly powerful type of political power, writes James Crabtree.

10. A continent in chaos and why Hitler's evil is rising again (Daily Mail)

The fact that so many are willing to forget or ignore Hitler’s evil, means that Europe should approach its future with dread, says Simon Heffer.

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Who will win in Manchester Gorton?

Will Labour lose in Manchester Gorton?

The death of Gerald Kaufman will trigger a by-election in his Manchester Gorton seat, which has been Labour-held since 1935.

Coming so soon after the disappointing results in Copeland – where the seat was lost to the Tories – and Stoke – where the party lost vote share – some overly excitable commentators are talking up the possibility of an upset in the Manchester seat.

But Gorton is very different to Stoke-on-Trent and to Copeland. The Labour lead is 56 points, compared to 16.5 points in Stoke-on-Trent and 6.5 points in Copeland. (As I’ve written before and will doubtless write again, it’s much more instructive to talk about vote share rather than vote numbers in British elections. Most of the country tends to vote in the same way even if they vote at different volumes.)

That 47 per cent of the seat's residents come from a non-white background and that the Labour party holds every council seat in the constituency only adds to the party's strong position here. 

But that doesn’t mean that there is no interest to be had in the contest at all. That the seat voted heavily to remain in the European Union – around 65 per cent according to Chris Hanretty’s estimates – will provide a glimmer of hope to the Liberal Democrats that they can finish a strong second, as they did consistently from 1992 to 2010, before slumping to fifth in 2015.

How they do in second place will inform how jittery Labour MPs with smaller majorities and a history of Liberal Democrat activity are about Labour’s embrace of Brexit.

They also have a narrow chance of becoming competitive should Labour’s selection turn acrimonious. The seat has been in special measures since 2004, which means the selection will be run by the party’s national executive committee, though several local candidates are tipped to run, with Afzal Khan,  a local MEP, and Julie Reid, a local councillor, both expected to run for the vacant seats.

It’s highly unlikely but if the selection occurs in a way that irritates the local party or provokes serious local in-fighting, you can just about see how the Liberal Democrats give everyone a surprise. But it’s about as likely as the United States men landing on Mars any time soon – plausible, but far-fetched. 

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