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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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.