Morning Call: pick of the papers

Ten must-read pieces from this morning's papers.

1. Britain can't pick and choose on Europe - we're either in or we're out (Guardian)

Jonathan Freedland ponders Cameron's meander to the EU exit and laments.

2. Manners Mr Cameron, no more Mr Shouty (Times)

The Prime Minister should define himself against the hectoring format of Wesminster politics, suggests Matthew Parris.

3. UK should welcome timely words from the US (FT)

Gideon Rachman is glad the Obama administration has put in a wake-up to those in Britain flirting with EU exit.

4. A broom cupboard of ones own: why solving the housing crisis is not an impossible dream (Indepndent)

A generation frozen out of home ownership will change the terms of political debate, says Ross Clark.

5. Tory Eurosceptics' impossible demand on Cameron (Guardian)

Nicholas Watt analysis the Prime Ministers Brussels-bashing predicament.

6. Long after Jimmy Savile, our society normalises sexual assault and shames women into silence (Independent)

Victims are blamed and women made to feel responsible for avoiding assault, writes Laura Bates. 

7. Osborne not in the numbers game (Scotsman)

Alf Young is appalled by Treasury complacency over dodgy inflation statistics.

8. The Man who turned amorality into an art form (Mail)

Ian Birrel gets stuck right into Tony Blair's globe-trotting business affairs.

9. As Australia burns, attitudes are changing - but is it too late? (Guardian)

The brutal truth about climate change is dawning down under, says Tim Flannery.

10. Treating every allegation against Jimmy Saville as a 'fact' undermines justice (Telegraph)

Charles Moore is not persuaded that Operation Yewtree brings us closer to the truth.

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Who will win the Copeland by-election?

Labour face a tricky task in holding onto the seat. 

What’s the Copeland by-election about? That’s the question that will decide who wins it.

The Conservatives want it to be about the nuclear industry, which is the seat’s biggest employer, and Jeremy Corbyn’s long history of opposition to nuclear power.

Labour want it to be about the difficulties of the NHS in Cumbria in general and the future of West Cumberland Hospital in particular.

Who’s winning? Neither party is confident of victory but both sides think it will be close. That Theresa May has visited is a sign of the confidence in Conservative headquarters that, win or lose, Labour will not increase its majority from the six-point lead it held over the Conservatives in May 2015. (It’s always more instructive to talk about vote share rather than raw numbers, in by-elections in particular.)

But her visit may have been counterproductive. Yes, she is the most popular politician in Britain according to all the polls, but in visiting she has added fuel to the fire of Labour’s message that the Conservatives are keeping an anxious eye on the outcome.

Labour strategists feared that “the oxygen” would come out of the campaign if May used her visit to offer a guarantee about West Cumberland Hospital. Instead, she refused to answer, merely hyping up the issue further.

The party is nervous that opposition to Corbyn is going to supress turnout among their voters, but on the Conservative side, there is considerable irritation that May’s visit has made their task harder, too.

Voters know the difference between a by-election and a general election and my hunch is that people will get they can have a free hit on the health question without risking the future of the nuclear factory. That Corbyn has U-Turned on nuclear power only helps.

I said last week that if I knew what the local paper would look like between now and then I would be able to call the outcome. Today the West Cumbria News & Star leads with Downing Street’s refusal to answer questions about West Cumberland Hospital. All the signs favour Labour. 

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