Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. On the topic of political meddling, RBS and the like can shut up (Guardian)

Stephen Hester wanted to turn RBS into a 'normal' bank, but it wasn't his to turn, writes Simon Jenkins. After £45bn, government can do what it wants.

2. Osborne should not have meddled (Financial Times)

The chancellor has interfered in areas better left to managers, writes Jonathan Ford.

3. If only Britain had joined the euro (Guardian)

If Gordon Brown had chosen to join the single currency 10 years ago, both the European Union and Britain would be stronger now, says Will Hutton.

4. Politicians place too much faith in figures (Daily Telegraph)

Data is a useful tool, but over-reliance on it means major problems are too often ignored, says Fraser Nelson. 

5. Why Ofsted is wrong about bright children in comprehensives (Guardian)

Ofsted is playing to Michael Gove's agenda by scaremongering about bright children, writes Peter Wilby. The facts tell a different story.

6. Labour’s addicted to meddling, not spending (Times

The party must stop thinking the state can solve every problem and trust ordinary people to fix their own lives, says Philip Collins. 

7. I’ve got no time for page three, but... (Daily Telegraph)

Glossy magazines jammed with size-zero models are far more worthy of our scorn, writes Isabel Hardman.

8. Government must tread fine balance in building the information economy (Independent)

The opportunities are huge, but so are the risks, writes Vince Cable. 

9. Failure of Leadership (Times

Nick Clegg knew there were serious allegations against Lord Rennard, yet he failed to act in a fair and effective manner, says a Times leader. 

10. Cease this talk of competitiveness (Financial Times)

The word makes much of trade, economic and even foreign policy sound like a zero-sum game, writes Samuel Brittan. 

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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.