Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Economics should dictate the RBS sale (Financial Times)

Selling shares to Sid might make good politics, writes Alistair Darling, but the government must rise above that and put the interests of the country first.

2. We don’t share Europe’s vision. So I want out (Times)

Cameron’s promise of renegotiation is just an insincere ploy, writes Michael Portillo. Let’s hope the voters have more guts than their leaders.

3. I'm no Fergie fan. But he's proof that if you want to be the best, you have to breathe fire (Daily Mail)

Those attributes which led to Alex Ferguson’s football greatness are also the secret to achievement in the other combative trades and professions, writes Roy Hattersley. 

4. Nigel Farage gives good telly, so UKIP trumps the Greens (Guardian)

It has almost as many councillors as UKIP and more MPs, so why does the media so consistently ignore the Green Party, asks Zoe Williams.

5. This Queen’s Speech proves that the coalition is still going strong (Daily Telegraph)

The footsoldiers may be squabbling, but those at the top are determined to see the job through, says Peter Oborne.

6. Tories are hurting from a rush into coalition (Times)

Cameron should have formed a minority administration in 2010 and fought a second election that autumn, argues Steve Richards.

7. The sun is at last setting on Britain's imperial myth (Guardian)

The atrocities in Kenya are the tip of a history of violence that reveals the repackaging of empire for the fantasy it is, says Pankaj Mishra.

8. If you believe investors, we’re on the mend (Independent)

These price movements represent the considered opinion of thousands of professionals, writes Andreas Whittam Smith.

9. We’re going to help criminals to go straight (Daily Telegraph)

Britain’s reoffending rates are shameful – it’s time to break this pernicious cycle, says Chris Grayling.

10. Microsoft has just blown its oldest trick (Financial Times)

A computer that people cannot switch off or find their way around is not useful, writes John Gapper.

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Richmond is a victory for hope - now let's bring change across the country

The regressives are building their armies. 

Last night a regressive alliance was toppled. Despite being backed by both Ukip and the Conservative Party, Zac Goldsmith was rejected by the voters of Richmond Park.

Make no mistake, this result will rock the Conservative party – and in particularly dent their plans for a hard and painful Brexit. They may shrug off this vote in public, but their majority is thin and their management of the post-referendum process is becoming more chaotic by the day. This is a real moment, and those of us opposing their post-truth plans must seize it.

I’m really proud of the role that the Green party played in this election. Our local parties decided to show leadership by not standing this time and urging supporters to vote instead for the candidate that stood the best chance of winning for those of us that oppose Brexit. Greens’ votes could very well be "what made the difference" in this election (we received just over 3,500 votes in 2015 and Sarah Olney’s majority is 1,872) - though we’ll never know exactly where they went. Just as importantly though, I believe that the brave decision by the local Green party fundamentally changed the tone of the election.

When I went to Richmond last weekend, I met scores of people motivated to campaign for a "progressive alliance" because they recognised that something bigger than just one by election is at stake. We made a decision to demonstrate you can do politics differently, and I think we can fairly say that was vindicated. 

There are some already attacking me for helping get one more Liberal Democrat into Parliament. Let me be very clear: the Lib Dems' role in the Coalition was appalling – propping up a Conservative government hell bent on attacking our public services and overseeing a hike in child poverty. But Labour’s record of their last time in office isn't immune from criticism either – not just because of the illegal war in Iraq but also their introduction of tuition fees, privatisation of our health service and slavish worship of the City of London. They, like the Liberal Democrats, stood at the last election on an austerity manifesto. There is a reason that we remain different parties, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn't also seize opportunities like this to unite behind what we have in common. Olney is no perfect candidate but she has pledged to fight a hard Brexit, campaign against airport expansion and push for a fair voting system – surely progressives can agree that her win takes us forward rather than backwards?

Ultimately, last night was not just defeat of a regressive alliance but a victory for hope - a victory that's sorely needed on the back of of the division, loss and insecurity that seems to have marked much of the rest of this year. The truth is that getting to this point hasn’t been an easy process – and some people, including local Green party members have had criticisms which, as a democrat, I certainly take seriously. The old politics dies hard, and a new politics is not easy to forge in the short time we have. But standing still is not an option, nor is repeating the same mistakes of the past. The regressives are building their armies and we either make our alternative work or risk the left being out of power for a generation. 

With our NHS under sustained attack, our climate change laws threatened and the increasing risk of us becoming a tax haven floating on the edge of the Atlantic, the urgent need to think differently about how we win has never been greater. 

An anti-establishment wave is washing over Britain. History teaches us that can go one of two ways. For the many people who are utterly sick of politics as usual, perhaps the idea of politicians occasionally putting aside their differences for the good of the country is likely to appeal, and might help us rebuild trust among those who feel abandoned. So it's vital that we use this moment not just to talk among ourselves about how to work together but also as another spark to start doing things differently, in every community in Britain. That means listening to people, especially those who voted for Britain to leave the EU, hearing what they’re saying and working with them to affect change. Giving people real power, not just the illusion of it.

It means looking at ways to redistribute power and money in this country like never before, and knowing that a by-election in a leafy London suburb changes nothing for the vast majority of our country.

Today let us celebrate that the government's majority is smaller, and that people have voted for a candidate who used her victory speech to say that she would "stand up for an open, tolerant, united Britain".  But tomorrow let’s get started on something far bigger - because the new politics is not just about moments it's about movements, and it will only work if nobody is left behind.

 

Caroline Lucas is the MP for Brighton Pavilion.