Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Ed Miliband is a man with the makings of a brave and visionary leader (Guardian)

Bagging mansion tax and the 10p rate for Labour was good politics, but the scale of his economic ambition was better still, says Polly Toynbee.

2. Slavery, not horse meat, is the real scandal (Daily Telegraph)

Long business supply chains are corruptible and can hide a multitude of crimes, says Fraser Nelson.

3. A dark morning in Pretoria has shattered the faith of a nation (Independent)

This Paralympic champion was a hero when South Africa needed one, a sex symbol and celebrity at the same time, but now a different Oscar is beginning to emerge, writes Ivan Fallon.

4. Not such a distinctive Labour vision, after all (Independent)

Ed Miliband's "working people"  sound very much like the Tories' "strivers", notes an Independent editorial.

5. Leave London and you'll find fantasy island (Times) (£)

Labour’s vision of a banker-free economy already exists, writes Philip Collins. It’s in the regions, it’s poorer and it’s not the future.

6. On the teaching of history, Michael Gove is right (Guardian)

Why do critics feel obliged to defend a status quo that so many teachers, parents and pupils agree is indefensible, asks Niall Ferguson. 

7. Transatlantic pact promises bigger prize (Financial Times)

The real reward of a US-EU free trade area would be geopolitical, writes Philip Stephens.

8. A new press regulator (Daily Telegraph)

The Conservatives' ideas for control of the press offer the least worst option, says a Telegraph editorial.

9. Iran’s intransigence (Financial Times)

There is time for a nuclear deal – but Tehran must budge, says an FT editorial.  

10. Why should Harold have to pipe down? (Daily Mail)

For the Labour prime minister's pipe to be downplayed in last night's BBC special on his life is more than just an over-reach of delicate sensibilities, writes Martin Samuel.

Photo: André Spicer
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“It’s scary to do it again”: the five-year-old fined £150 for running a lemonade stand

Enforcement officers penalised a child selling home-made lemonade in the street. Her father tells the full story. 

It was a lively Saturday afternoon in east London’s Mile End. Groups of people streamed through residential streets on their way to a music festival in the local park; booming bass could be heard from the surrounding houses.

One five-year-old girl who lived in the area had an idea. She had been to her school’s summer fête recently and looked longingly at the stalls. She loved the idea of setting up her own stall, and today was a good day for it.

“She eventually came round to the idea of selling lemonade,” her father André Spicer tells me. So he and his daughter went to their local shop to buy some lemons. They mixed a few jugs of lemonade, the girl made a fetching A4 sign with some lemons drawn on it – 50p for a small cup, £1 for a large – and they carried a table from home to the end of their road. 

“People suddenly started coming up and buying stuff, pretty quickly, and they were very happy,” Spicer recalls. “People looked overjoyed at this cute little girl on the side of the road – community feel and all that sort of stuff.”

But the heart-warming scene was soon interrupted. After about half an hour of what Spicer describes as “brisk” trade – his daughter’s recipe secret was some mint and a little bit of cucumber, for a “bit of a British touch” – four enforcement officers came striding up to the stand.

Three were in uniform, and one was in plain clothes. One uniformed officer turned the camera on his vest on, and began reciting a legal script at the weeping five-year-old.

“You’re trading without a licence, pursuant to x, y, z act and blah dah dah dah, really going through a script,” Spicer tells me, saying they showed no compassion for his daughter. “This is my job, I’m doing it and that’s it, basically.”

The girl burst into tears the moment they arrived.

“Officials have some degree of intimidation. I’m a grown adult, so I wasn’t super intimidated, but I was a bit shocked,” says Spicer. “But my daughter was intimidated. She started crying straight away.”

As they continued to recite their legalese, her father picked her up to try to comfort her – but that didn’t stop the officers giving her stall a £150 fine and handing them a penalty notice. “TRADING WITHOUT LICENCE,” it screamed.


Picture: André Spicer

“She was crying and repeating, ‘I’ve done a bad thing’,” says Spicer. “As we walked home, I had to try and convince her that it wasn’t her, it wasn’t her fault. It wasn’t her who had done something bad.”

She cried all the way home, and it wasn’t until she watched her favourite film, Brave, that she calmed down. It was then that Spicer suggested next time they would “do it all correctly”, get a permit, and set up another stand.

“No, I don’t want to, it’s a bit scary to do it again,” she replied. Her father hopes that “she’ll be able to get over it”, and that her enterprising spirit will return.

The Council has since apologised and cancelled the fine, and called on its officials to “show common sense and to use their powers sensibly”.

But Spicer felt “there’s a bigger principle here”, and wrote a piece for the Telegraph arguing that children in modern Britain are too restricted.

He would “absolutely” encourage his daughter to set up another stall, and “I’d encourage other people to go and do it as well. It’s a great way to spend a bit of time with the kids in the holidays, and they might learn something.”

A fitting reminder of the great life lesson: when life gives you a fixed penalty notice, make lemonade.

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.