Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Miliband the illusionist must conjure up more with less (Daily Telegraph)

The Labour Party must convince the voters that saving money can produce social dividends, says Mary Riddell.

2. It's time the Tories learned to love the unions (Guardian)

Nostalgia for a tussle with the unions still excites some, writes David Skelton. But modern Conservatives need to befriend, not alienate them.

3. Austerity loses an article of faith (Financial Times)

The UK industrial revolution shows the Reinhart-Rogoff thesis on debt is not always right, says Martin Wolf.

4. Even if he loses, Alex Salmond will still win (Times)

Whichever way Scotland votes on independence, the First Minister will wrest more power away from Westminster, writes Alice Thomson. 

5. Shaker Aamer and the dirty secrets of the war on terror (Guardian)

The scandal of Britain's last Guantánamo inmate encapsulates the barbarity of a mutating conflict without end, says Seumas Milne.

6. Sovereign Scots may have to drop sterling (Financial Times)

Edinburgh should try to secure monetary union with England, but it would probably fail, argues John Kay.

7. France's meltdown is a stark warning to anyone who wants Red Ed as PM (Daily Mail)

Labour is promising precisely the same policies as Hollande’s socialists, writes Daniel Hannan.

8. If Abenomics works, Britain's leaders will look like monkeys (Guardian)

George Osborne should abandon the tribal morality of austerity and, like Japan, print money not for banks but for people, says Simon Jenkins.

9. A state-sector version of Eton is long overdue (Independent)

But it is not clear that the practicalities of the Durand scheme have been thought through, says an Independent editorial.

10. Our US protector is looking the other way (Daily Telegraph)

The free-riding nations of Europe are making a big mistake by slashing their defence budgets, argues David Blair.

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What Jeremy Corbyn gets right about the single market

Technically, you can be outside the EU but inside the single market. Philosophically, you're still in the EU. 

I’ve been trying to work out what bothers me about the response to Jeremy Corbyn’s interview on the Andrew Marr programme.

What bothers me about Corbyn’s interview is obvious: the use of the phrase “wholesale importation” to describe people coming from Eastern Europe to the United Kingdom makes them sound like boxes of sugar rather than people. Adding to that, by suggesting that this “importation” had “destroy[ed] conditions”, rather than laying the blame on Britain’s under-enforced and under-regulated labour market, his words were more appropriate to a politician who believes that immigrants are objects to be scapegoated, not people to be served. (Though perhaps that is appropriate for the leader of the Labour Party if recent history is any guide.)

But I’m bothered, too, by the reaction to another part of his interview, in which the Labour leader said that Britain must leave the single market as it leaves the European Union. The response to this, which is technically correct, has been to attack Corbyn as Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland are members of the single market but not the European Union.

In my view, leaving the single market will make Britain poorer in the short and long term, will immediately render much of Labour’s 2017 manifesto moot and will, in the long run, be a far bigger victory for right-wing politics than any mere election. Corbyn’s view, that the benefits of freeing a British government from the rules of the single market will outweigh the costs, doesn’t seem very likely to me. So why do I feel so uneasy about the claim that you can be a member of the single market and not the European Union?

I think it’s because the difficult truth is that these countries are, de facto, in the European Union in any meaningful sense. By any estimation, the three pillars of Britain’s “Out” vote were, firstly, control over Britain’s borders, aka the end of the free movement of people, secondly, more money for the public realm aka £350m a week for the NHS, and thirdly control over Britain’s own laws. It’s hard to see how, if the United Kingdom continues to be subject to the free movement of people, continues to pay large sums towards the European Union, and continues to have its laws set elsewhere, we have “honoured the referendum result”.

None of which changes my view that leaving the single market would be a catastrophe for the United Kingdom. But retaining Britain’s single market membership starts with making the argument for single market membership, not hiding behind rhetorical tricks about whether or not single market membership was on the ballot last June, when it quite clearly was. 

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.