Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Our British democracy is a presidential system - minus the President (Independent)

Cameron is only the latest Prime Minister to be in intense trouble, but this new pressure on a single individual makes being presidential almost impossible, writes Steve Richards.

2. Noise and truths in the IMF’s verdict (Financial Times)

Forget about fiscal policy – the urgent task is fixing the banks, says an FT editorial.

3. Why do these Tories think they can rule on marriage? (Guardian)

The antis in this week's vote think our sex lives are their business – yet Boris Johnson seems to escape without censure, writes Zoe Williams.

4. We’re in the age of coalitions. Get used to it (Times)

David Cameron understands that two-party politics is over, writes David Aaronovitch. If his party hates this, then it’s not fit to govern.

5. Interpol: fighting for truth and justice, or helping the villains? (Daily Telegraph)

This famous police force is being used by vicious despots to pursue their political enemies, says Peter Oborne.

6. Hard to build an ‘anyone but China’ club (Financial Times)

The unstated aim of the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a deal to bar the second-largest economy, says David Pilling. 

7. We should turn Britain into a tax haven (Times)

Rather than bash wealth-generating companies we should attract them by cutting and simplifying tax, argues Mark Littlewood.

8. I am the beneficiary of the house-price boom. My children are its victims (Guardian)

When the haves get worried not only about their futures but also those of their kids, the have-nots are really doomed, says Suzanne Moore.

9. Boris's sexual shenanigans and a landmark victory over our creeping culture of Stalinist secrecy (Daily Mail)

This ruling is a huge boost to an open society, writes Stephen Glover. 

10. The laws of the land aren’t fit for purpose (Daily Telegraph)

Efforts to clarify our complex, intimidating system of legislation are long overdue, writes Sue Cameron.

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Theresa May’s stage-managed election campaign keeps the public at bay

Jeremy Corbyn’s approach may be chaotic, but at least it’s more authentic.

The worst part about running an election campaign for a politician? Having to meet the general public. Those ordinary folk can be a tricky lot, with their lack of regard for being on-message, and their pesky real-life concerns.

But it looks like Theresa May has decided to avoid this inconvenience altogether during this snap general election campaign, as it turns out her visit to Leeds last night was so stage-managed that she barely had to face the public.

Accusations have been whizzing around online that at a campaign event at the Shine building in Leeds, the Prime Minister spoke to a room full of guests invited by the party, rather than local people or people who work in the building’s office space.

The Telegraph’s Chris Hope tweeted a picture of the room in which May was addressing her audience yesterday evening a little before 7pm. He pointed out that, being in Leeds, she was in “Labour territory”:

But a few locals who spied this picture online claimed that the audience did not look like who you’d expect to see congregated at Shine – a grade II-listed Victorian school that has been renovated into a community project housing office space and meeting rooms.

“Ask why she didn’t meet any of the people at the business who work in that beautiful building. Everyone there was an invite-only Tory,” tweeted Rik Kendell, a Leeds-based developer and designer who says he works in the Shine building. “She didn’t arrive until we’d all left for the day. Everyone in the building past 6pm was invite-only . . . They seemed to seek out the most clinical corner for their PR photos. Such a beautiful building to work in.”

Other tweeters also found the snapshot jarring:

Shine’s founders have pointed out that they didn’t host or invite Theresa May – rather the party hired out the space for a private event: “All visitors pay for meeting space in Shine and we do not seek out, bid for, or otherwise host any political parties,” wrote managing director Dawn O'Keefe. The guestlist was not down to Shine, but to the Tory party.

The audience consisted of journalists and around 150 Tory activists, according to the Guardian. This was instead of employees from the 16 offices housed in the building. I have asked the Conservative Party for clarification of who was in the audience and whether it was invite-only and am awaiting its response.

Jeremy Corbyn accused May of “hiding from the public”, and local Labour MP Richard Burgon commented that, “like a medieval monarch, she simply briefly relocated her travelling court of admirers to town and then moved on without so much as a nod to the people she considers to be her lowly subjects”.

But it doesn’t look like the Tories’ painstaking stage-management is a fool-proof plan. Having uniform audiences of the party faithful on the campaign trail seems to be confusing the Prime Minister somewhat. During a visit to a (rather sparsely populated) factory in Clay Cross, Derbyshire, yesterday, she appeared to forget where exactly on the campaign trail she was:

The management of Corbyn’s campaign has also resulted in gaffes – but for opposite reasons. A slightly more chaotic approach has led to him facing the wrong way, with his back to the cameras.

Corbyn’s blunder is born out of his instinct to address the crowd rather than the cameras – May’s problem is the other way round. Both, however, seem far more comfortable talking to the party faithful, even if they are venturing out of safe seat territory.

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.

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