Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Throw out the myths about Margaret Thatcher (Guardian)


The reality was that Thatcher was neither popular nor successful economically, writes Ken Livingstone. Labour must make a clean break with her policies.

2. How Labour can answer Blair’s seven questions (Times)

To expand Labour's support, Miliband should be bolder on housing, welfare and land taxation, says New Statesman editor Jason Cowley.

3. Sulking Tony Blair should show Ed Miliband some of the loyalty he demanded (Daily Mirror)

Blair may have been the right man to lead Labour at the 1997 election after John Smith’s death but he was past his sell-by date before the 2005 election, says Kevin Maguire.

4. Britain should not go back to the future (Financial Times)

The UK has been left an economy with a remarkably late-19th century look, writes Martin Wolf.

5. Seven lessons from Thatcher for the Tories (Times)

Her failures as well as her successes are worth analysing, says Tim Montgomerie.

6. Thatcher listened to voters – now it’s Farage who hears their despair (Daily Telegraph)

Ukip is no longer a single-issue party, it is widening its scope and enjoys the common touch with core voters that the main parties lack, says Fraser Nelson. 

7. Benefits don't look quite the electoral winner Cameron presumed (Guardian)

Attitudes to welfare change once people understand the detail, writes Polly Toynbee. For all last week's sound and fury, Labour was 10 points ahead.

8. Back-seat driving is a risky business, especially for Tony Blair (Independent)

The former PM was positively Trappist during the Brown years, says an Independent editorial. Not anymore.

9. A prophecy of prosperity after the gloom (Daily Telegraph)

Keynes and Thatcher each knew that growth would return, and soon than others thought, says Jeremy Warner.

10. Margaret Thatcher: Corporation blues (Guardian)

Conservative hostility towards the BBC was a constant theme in the Thatcher era, notes a Guardian editorial. With her death there has been a fresh spike.

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It's Gary Lineker 1, the Sun 0

The football hero has found himself at the heart of a Twitter storm over the refugee children debate.

The Mole wonders what sort of topsy-turvy universe we now live in where Gary Lineker is suddenly being called a “political activist” by a Conservative MP? Our favourite big-eared football pundit has found himself in a war of words with the Sun newspaper after wading into the controversy over the age of the refugee children granted entry into Britain from Calais.

Pictures published earlier this week in the right-wing press prompted speculation over the migrants' “true age”, and a Tory MP even went as far as suggesting that these children should have their age verified by dental X-rays. All of which leaves your poor Mole with a deeply furrowed brow. But luckily the British Dental Association was on hand to condemn the idea as unethical, inaccurate and inappropriate. Phew. Thank God for dentists.

Back to old Big Ears, sorry, Saint Gary, who on Wednesday tweeted his outrage over the Murdoch-owned newspaper’s scaremongering coverage of the story. He smacked down the ex-English Defence League leader, Tommy Robinson, in a single tweet, calling him a “racist idiot”, and went on to defend his right to express his opinions freely on his feed.

The Sun hit back in traditional form, calling for Lineker to be ousted from his job as host of the BBC’s Match of the Day. The headline they chose? “Out on his ears”, of course, referring to the sporting hero’s most notable assets. In the article, the tabloid lays into Lineker, branding him a “leftie luvvie” and “jug-eared”. The article attacked him for describing those querying the age of the young migrants as “hideously racist” and suggested he had breached BBC guidelines on impartiality.

All of which has prompted calls for a boycott of the Sun and an outpouring of support for Lineker on Twitter. His fellow football hero Stan Collymore waded in, tweeting that he was on “Team Lineker”. Leading the charge against the Murdoch-owned title was the close ally of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and former Channel 4 News economics editor, Paul Mason, who tweeted:

Lineker, who is not accustomed to finding himself at the centre of such highly politicised arguments on social media, responded with typical good humour, saying he had received a bit of a “spanking”.

All of which leaves the Mole with renewed respect for Lineker and an uncharacteristic desire to watch this weekend’s Match of the Day to see if any trace of his new activist persona might surface.


I'm a mole, innit.