Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. The Tory party's gone crazy over Europe, and it's Cameron's fault (Daily Telegraph)

Some may see a clever new strategy, but the simple truth is that No 10 has lost control, writes Benedict Brogan. 

2. The noise on immigration is drowning out real problems (Guardian)

Desperate to sound tough, politicians are in fact making it harder to improve the plight of domestic slaves in Britain, says Polly Toynbee.

3. Britons are lazy? Don’t let Boris get away with that (Independent)

It's not 'sloth' that ruined this country's economy, whatever Boris Johnson may say, but it is another of the Seven Deadly Sins, writes Owen Jones. So let’s aim fire at greed.

4. The Tories have become ungovernable (Financial Times)

Drama is giving way to farce, writes Janan Ganesh. The eurosceptic demands are now plain odd.

5. We need to frack, but we need wind power too (Times)

Environmentalists and climate-change doubters must both get real about our energy needs, says Will Straw.

6. Obama is right to stay out of Syria (Financial Times)

The president is taking a position – and it is not the easy option, says Gideon Rachman.

7. Two parties both riven by the same old splits (Times)

The Tories are being sucked into the whirlpool of Europe, but Labour’s division on the economy runs just as deep, writes Rachel Sylvester.

8. You can’t blame Brussels for Britain’s debts (Daily Telegraph)

Our liabilities are now the highest in Europe - and that's just the start of our problems, says Dominic Raab. 

9. This is one EU crisis that need not exist (Daily Mail)

David Cameron is making unnecessary trouble for himself by appearing to pick fights with his party, where no serious disagreement exists, says a Daily Mail editorial.

10. Oxford University won't take funding from tobacco companies. But Shell's OK (Guardian)

If scholars are prepared to take an ethical stance against money from tobacco companies, why won't they against Big Oil too, asks George Monbiot.

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Theresa May is paying the price for mismanaging Boris Johnson

The Foreign Secretary's bruised ego may end up destroying Theresa May. 

And to think that Theresa May scheduled her big speech for this Friday to make sure that Conservative party conference wouldn’t be dominated by the matter of Brexit. Now, thanks to Boris Johnson, it won’t just be her conference, but Labour’s, which is overshadowed by Brexit in general and Tory in-fighting in particular. (One imagines that the Labour leadership will find a way to cope somehow.)

May is paying the price for mismanaging Johnson during her period of political hegemony after she became leader. After he was betrayed by Michael Gove and lacking any particular faction in the parliamentary party, she brought him back from the brink of political death by making him Foreign Secretary, but also used her strength and his weakness to shrink his empire.

The Foreign Office had its responsibility for negotiating Brexit hived off to the newly-created Department for Exiting the European Union (Dexeu) and for navigating post-Brexit trade deals to the Department of International Trade. Johnson was given control of one of the great offices of state, but with no responsibility at all for the greatest foreign policy challenge since the Second World War.

Adding to his discomfort, the new Foreign Secretary was regularly the subject of jokes from the Prime Minister and cabinet colleagues. May likened him to a dog that had to be put down. Philip Hammond quipped about him during his joke-fuelled 2017 Budget. All of which gave Johnson’s allies the impression that Johnson-hunting was a licensed sport as far as Downing Street was concerned. He was then shut out of the election campaign and has continued to be a marginalised figure even as the disappointing election result forced May to involve the wider cabinet in policymaking.

His sense of exclusion from the discussions around May’s Florence speech only added to his sense of isolation. May forgot that if you aren’t going to kill, don’t wound: now, thanks to her lost majority, she can’t afford to put any of the Brexiteers out in the cold, and Johnson is once again where he wants to be: centre-stage. 

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.