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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Tom Watson rouses Labour's conference as he comes out fighting

The party's deputy leader exhilarated delegates with his paean to the Blair and Brown years. 

Tom Watson is down but not out. After Jeremy Corbyn's second landslide victory, and weeks of threats against his position, Labour's deputy leader could have played it safe. Instead, he came out fighting. 

With Corbyn seated directly behind him, he declared: "I don't know why we've been focusing on what was wrong with the Blair and Brown governments for the last six years. But trashing our record is not the way to enhance our brand. We won't win elections like that! And we need to win elections!" As Watson won a standing ovation from the hall and the platform, the Labour leader remained motionless. When a heckler interjected, Watson riposted: "Jeremy, I don't think she got the unity memo." Labour delegates, many of whom hail from the pre-Corbyn era, lapped it up.

Though he warned against another challenge to the leader ("we can't afford to keep doing this"), he offered a starkly different account of the party's past and its future. He reaffirmed Labour's commitment to Nato ("a socialist construct"), with Corbyn left isolated as the platform applauded. The only reference to the leader came when Watson recalled his recent PMQs victory over grammar schools. There were dissenting voices (Watson was heckled as he praised Sadiq Khan for winning an election: "Just like Jeremy Corbyn!"). But one would never have guessed that this was the party which had just re-elected Corbyn. 

There was much more to Watson's speech than this: a fine comic riff on "Saturday's result" (Ed Balls on Strictly), a spirited attack on Theresa May's "ducking and diving; humming and hahing" and a cerebral account of the automation revolution. But it was his paean to Labour history that roused the conference as no other speaker has. 

The party's deputy channelled the spirit of both Hugh Gaitskell ("fight, and fight, and fight again to save the party we love") and his mentor Gordon Brown (emulating his trademark rollcall of New Labour achivements). With his voice cracking, Watson recalled when "from the sunny uplands of increasing prosperity social democratic government started to feel normal to the people of Britain". For Labour, a party that has never been further from power in recent decades, that truly was another age. But for a brief moment, Watson's tubthumper allowed Corbyn's vanquished opponents to relive it. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.