Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. What Titanium Ed Miliband and the Iron Lady have in common (Daily Telegraph)

With his love of bold ideas, the Labour leader is a pretender to the Thatcher legacy, writes Mary Riddell.

2. Cameron cannot revive Thatcherism (Financial Times)

The alliance of beliefs that formed an ideology no longer exists, says Richard Vinen.

3. After the bomb, mass hysteria is the Boston terrorist's greatest weapon (Guardian)

A Chinese proverb bids us ask what the enemy most wants us to do, writes Simon Jenkins. Boston's bomber craves publicity, reaction and retaliation.

4. How central banks beat deflation (Financial Times)

The success of inflation targeting gives policy makers room to risk expansionary measures, says Martin Wolf.

5. Today we bury the last prime minister of WWII (Times) (£)

Margaret Thatcher’s world view was formed by the fight against Hitler, writes Daniel Finkelstein. Now her generation has finally left the stage.

6. Boston bombings: resilience in the face of horror (Guardian)

Pressure for answers will inevitably grow, but what matters is due process, and answers that can stand up in court, says a Guardian editorial.

7. The 'socialist firebrand' Derek Hatton screwed Liverpool just as much as Margaret Thatcher did (Independent)

Thatcher may have neglected Liverpool in the first half of the 1980s, but Hatton and Militant’s grip on my city set progress back a generation, says Jane Merrick.

8. What Cameron must learn from the Lady (Daily Mail)

What Thatcher understood so well is that votes flow from doing what is right – not from merely trying to be popular, says a Daily Mail editorial.

9. It's time to bury not just Thatcher – but Thatcherism (Guardian)

She didn't save Britain or turn the economy round, says Seumas Milne. We need to break with her failed model to escape its baleful consequences.

10. Like the French, our ministers should declare their assets (Independent)

Where François Hollande has led, David Cameron should follow, says an Independent editorial.

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How Theresa May laid a trap for herself on the immigration target

When Home Secretary, she insisted on keeping foreign students in the figures – causing a headache for herself today.

When Home Secretary, Theresa May insisted that foreign students should continue to be counted in the overall immigration figures. Some cabinet colleagues, including then Business Secretary Vince Cable and Chancellor George Osborne wanted to reverse this. It was economically illiterate. Current ministers, like the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Chancellor Philip Hammond and Home Secretary Amber Rudd, also want foreign students exempted from the total.

David Cameron’s government aimed to cut immigration figures – including overseas students in that aim meant trying to limit one of the UK’s crucial financial resources. They are worth £25bn to the UK economy, and their fees make up 14 per cent of total university income. And the impact is not just financial – welcoming foreign students is diplomatically and culturally key to Britain’s reputation and its relationship with the rest of the world too. Even more important now Brexit is on its way.

But they stayed in the figures – a situation that, along with counterproductive visa restrictions also introduced by May’s old department, put a lot of foreign students off studying here. For example, there has been a 44 per cent decrease in the number of Indian students coming to Britain to study in the last five years.

Now May’s stubbornness on the migration figures appears to have caught up with her. The Times has revealed that the Prime Minister is ready to “soften her longstanding opposition to taking foreign students out of immigration totals”. It reports that she will offer to change the way the numbers are calculated.

Why the u-turn? No 10 says the concession is to ensure the Higher and Research Bill, key university legislation, can pass due to a Lords amendment urging the government not to count students as “long-term migrants” for “public policy purposes”.

But it will also be a factor in May’s manifesto pledge (and continuation of Cameron’s promise) to cut immigration to the “tens of thousands”. Until today, ministers had been unclear about whether this would be in the manifesto.

Now her u-turn on student figures is being seized upon by opposition parties as “massaging” the migration figures to meet her target. An accusation for which May only has herself, and her steadfast politicising of immigration, to blame.

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.

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