Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Labour has a plan to save the NHS, but does it have the nerve? (Daily Telegraph)

A health service built for an age of quick cures and brief lives needs drastic surgery, says Mary Riddell.

2. Syria and the Middle East: our greatest miscalculation since the rise of fascism (Guardian)

By helping to destroy secular politics in the Middle East, the west has unleashed the Shia/Sunni conflict now tearing it apart, writes Simon Jenkins. 

3. Tory RBS sell-off is cheap trick to get votes (Daily Mirror)

Selling the shares off cheap might be good politics in the short term but it is not good for the country, says Alistair Darling. 

4. Arming the rebels is the best path to peace (Times)

Victory for either side would be a disaster, so the best option is to drive them both to the negotiating table, writes Anthony Loyd.

5. Tories can learn from GOP mistakes (Financial Times)

Your party won’t consider your reforms if they think you don’t respect them, says Jon Huntsman.

6. These spending cuts go to the heart of what sort of society we want to be (Independent)

Decisions made now will tie the hands of the next government too, writes Hamish McRae. 

7. Who are terrorists talking to? We must know (Times)

Clever use of surveillance technology doesn’t recruit terrorists; it puts them in jail, says Nick Herbert.

8. Japan’s bumpy road to a recovery (Financial Times)

Abe’s economic nationalism may clash with that of China, writes Martin Wolf.

9. Britain's wars fuel terror. Denying it only feeds Islamophobia (Guardian)

Those who send British troops to shed blood in the Muslim world must share the blame for atrocities like Woolwich, argues Seumas Milne. 

10. The real reason our shops are shutting up (Daily Telegraph)

It’s easy to blame the internet, but soaring rates and rents are crippling high street retailers, writes Mary Hull. 

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Voters are turning against Brexit but the Lib Dems aren't benefiting

Labour's pro-Brexit stance is not preventing it from winning the support of Remainers. Will that change?

More than a year after the UK voted for Brexit, there has been little sign of buyer's remorse. The public, including around a third of Remainers, are largely of the view that the government should "get on with it".

But as real wages are squeezed (owing to the Brexit-linked inflationary spike) there are tentative signs that the mood is changing. In the event of a second referendum, an Opinium/Observer poll found, 47 per cent would vote Remain, compared to 44 per cent for Leave. Support for a repeat vote is also increasing. Forty one per cent of the public now favour a second referendum (with 48 per cent opposed), compared to 33 per cent last December. 

The Liberal Democrats have made halting Brexit their raison d'être. But as public opinion turns, there is no sign they are benefiting. Since the election, Vince Cable's party has yet to exceed single figures in the polls, scoring a lowly 6 per cent in the Opinium survey (down from 7.4 per cent at the election). 

What accounts for this disparity? After their near-extinction in 2015, the Lib Dems remain either toxic or irrelevant to many voters. Labour, by contrast, despite its pro-Brexit stance, has hoovered up Remainers (55 per cent back Jeremy Corbyn's party). 

In some cases, this reflects voters' other priorities. Remainers are prepared to support Labour on account of the party's stances on austerity, housing and education. Corbyn, meanwhile, is a eurosceptic whose internationalism and pro-migration reputation endear him to EU supporters. Other Remainers rewarded Labour MPs who voted against Article 50, rebelling against the leadership's stance. 

But the trend also partly reflects ignorance. By saying little on the subject of Brexit, Corbyn and Labour allowed Remainers to assume the best. Though there is little evidence that voters will abandon Corbyn over his EU stance, the potential exists.

For this reason, the proposal of a new party will continue to recur. By challenging Labour over Brexit, without the toxicity of Lib Dems, it would sharpen the choice before voters. Though it would not win an election, a new party could force Corbyn to soften his stance on Brexit or to offer a second referendum (mirroring Ukip's effect on the Conservatives).

The greatest problem for the project is that it lacks support where it counts: among MPs. For reasons of tribalism and strategy, there is no emergent "Gang of Four" ready to helm a new party. In the absence of a new convulsion, the UK may turn against Brexit without the anti-Brexiteers benefiting. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.