Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Surveillance in the US and UK: Spreading national insecurity (Guardian)

Where legislatures and judges fail, whistleblowers keep open the only channel left for public accountability, says a Guardian editorial.

2. Erdogan is confronting a new Sixties spirit (Times)

European leaders can help the cause of reform by bringing Turkey into the EU fold, says Jack Straw.

3. Hail the honest about Greece's bailout (Financial Times)

The IMF’s admission is welcome but the hard part will be acting on it, says Wolfgang Münchau.

4. Ahmadinejad’s successor is supposed to be chosen by the people, not guardians (Independent)

This is not a real election for Iran but a competition between clerical favourites, writes Robert Fisk.

5. The People's Assembly will cohere the left - and finally give Labour some real competition (Independent)

The anti-austerity gathering will not only be a show of force, but a launchpad for a missing force in British politics, says Owen Jones.

6. At last, the parties get serious on spending (Daily Telegraph)

Ed Balls’s conversion over pension costs has thrown down the gauntlet to the Tories, says Andrew Haldenby.

7. Churches must fight to keep their freedom (Times)

The campaign against gay marriage was a mistake, writes Tim Montgomerie. Religious liberty itself is under threat from a new intolerance.

8. The bedroom tax has made huge problems even worse (Guardian)

The government's housing benefit changes are a mess, ramping up arrears and emptying out streets, writes John Harris. But what would Labour do differently?

9. Can Osborne defuse our debt timebomb? (Sun)

A nudge towards devaluation, without real evidence that the UK is serious about cutting debt, could trigger a full-blown currency crisis, writes Trevor Kavanagh. 

10. The proud moment when I realised I was worth hacking (Daily Telegraph)

A strange, late-night message confirmed my suspicions – internet privacy doesn’t exist, writes Boris Johnson.

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Inside a shaken city: "I just want to be anywhere that’s not Manchester”

The morning after the bombing of the Manchester Arena has left the city's residents jumpy.

On Tuesday morning, the streets in Manchester city centre were eerily silent.

The commuter hub of Victoria Station - which backs onto the arena - was closed as police combed the area for clues, and despite Mayor Andy Burnham’s line of "business as usual", it looked like people were staying away.

Manchester Arena is the second largest indoor concert venue in Europe. With a capacity crowd of 18,000, on Monday night the venue was packed with young people from around the country - at least 22 of whom will never come home. At around 10.33pm, a suicide bomber detonated his device near the exit. Among the dead was an eight-year-old girl. Many more victims remain in hospital. 

Those Mancunians who were not alerted by the sirens woke to the news of their city's worst terrorist attack. Still, as the day went on, the city’s hubbub soon returned and, by lunchtime, there were shoppers and workers milling around Exchange Square and the town hall.

Tourists snapped images of the Albert Square building in the sunshine, and some even asked police for photographs like any other day.

But throughout the morning there were rumours and speculation about further incidents - the Arndale Centre was closed for a period after 11.40am while swathes of police descended, shutting off the main city centre thoroughfare of Market Street.

Corporation Street - closed off at Exchange Square - was at the centre of the city’s IRA blast. A postbox which survived the 1996 bombing stood in the foreground while officers stood guard, police tape fluttering around cordoned-off spaces.

It’s true that the streets of Manchester have known horror before, but not like this.

I spoke to students Beth and Melissa who were in the bustling centre when they saw people running from two different directions.

They vanished and ducked into River Island, when an alert came over the tannoy, and a staff member herded them through the back door onto the street.

“There were so many police stood outside the Arndale, it was so frightening,” Melissa told me.

“We thought it will be fine, it’ll be safe after last night. There were police everywhere walking in, and we felt like it would be fine.”

Beth said that they had planned a day of shopping, and weren’t put off by the attack.

“We heard about the arena this morning but we decided to come into the city, we were watching it all these morning, but you can’t let this stop you.”

They remembered the 1996 Arndale bombing, but added: “we were too young to really understand”.

And even now they’re older, they still did not really understand what had happened to the city.

“Theres nowhere to go, where’s safe? I just want to go home,” Melissa said. “I just want to be anywhere that’s not Manchester.”

Manchester has seen this sort of thing before - but so long ago that the stunned city dwellers are at a loss. In a city which feels under siege, no one is quite sure how anyone can keep us safe from an unknown threat

“We saw armed police on the streets - there were loads just then," Melissa said. "I trust them to keep us safe.”

But other observers were less comforted by the sign of firearms.

Ben, who I encountered standing outside an office block on Corporation Street watching the police, was not too forthcoming, except to say “They don’t know what they’re looking for, do they?” as I passed.

The spirit of the city is often invoked, and ahead of a vigil tonight in Albert Square, there will be solidarity and strength from the capital of the North.

But the community values which Mancunians hold dear are shaken to the core by what has happened here.

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