Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Why I no longer support a new high-speed rail line (Financial Times)

All the parties – especially Labour – should think twice before binding themselves irrevocably to HS2, writes Peter Mandelson.

2. Miliband hopes his tortoise will prevail over the Cameron hare (Daily Telegraph)

The Labour leader’s calm belies an air of frustration among many MPs and supporters, writes Mary Riddell.

3. We no longer believe the left will look after us (Times)

Large majorities of voters think Europe’s governments tax unfairly and spend inefficiently, writes Peter Kellner.

4. To rein in top pay, keep MPs poor and furious (Guardian)

As long as politicians harbour a pay grievance against public sector colleagues, they are more likely to guard the public purse, writes Simon Jenkins.

5. How can we be confident that things are really getting better? (Independent)

There have been so many disappointments over the economic recovery that caution is wise, writes Hamish McRae. So which green shoots are the ones we can rely on?

6. Egypt, Brazil, Turkey: without politics, protest is at the mercy of the elite (Guardian)

From Egypt to Brazil, street action is driving change, but organisation is essential if it's not to be hijacked or disarmed, says Seumas Milne.

7. Risks of a hard landing for China (Financial Times)

Beijing might need to do what its leaders neither want nor expect, writes Martin Wolf.

8. Don’t be tempted by nice Nigel Farage (Daily Telegraph)

Labour could well win the next general election if the Tories let down their guard, says Chris Grayling.

9. Most gay people still fear a knock at the door (Times)

Millions are persecuted for being homosexual, writes Daniel Finkelstein. The pursuit of global equality is still one of the great civil rights causes.

10. George Osborne's latest flop over 'shares for rights' is typical of modern government (Independent)

This measure's history says a lot about the replacement of ideology with marketing, says Andreas Whittam Smith. 

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Commons Confidential: Fearing the Wigan warrior

An electoral clash, select committee elections as speed dating, and Ed Miliband’s political convalescence.

Members of Labour’s disconsolate majority, sitting in tight knots in the tearoom as the MP with the best maths skills calculates who will survive and who will die, based on the latest bad poll, observe that Jeremy Corbyn has never been so loyal to the party leadership. The past 13 months, one told me, have been the Islington rebel’s longest spell without voting against Labour. The MP was contradicted by a colleague who argued that, in voting against Trident renewal, Corbyn had defied party policy. There is Labour chatter that an early general election would be a mercy killing if it put the party out of its misery and removed Corbyn next year. In 2020, it is judged, defeat will be inevitable.

The next London mayoral contest is scheduled for the same date as a 2020 election: 7 May. Sadiq Khan’s people whisper that when they mentioned the clash to ministers, they were assured it won’t happen. They are uncertain whether this indicates that the mayoral contest will be moved, or that there will be an early general election. Intriguing.

An unguarded retort from the peer Jim O’Neill seems to confirm that a dispute over the so-called Northern Powerhouse triggered his walkout from the Treasury last month. O’Neill, a fanboy of George Osborne and a former Goldman Sachs chief economist, gave no reason when he quit Theresa May’s government and resigned the Tory whip in the Lords. He joined the dots publicly when the Resolution Foundation’s director, Torsten Bell, queried the northern project. “Are you related to the PM?” shot back the Mancunian O’Neill. It’s the way he tells ’em.

Talk has quietened in Westminster Labour ranks of a formal challenge to Corbyn since this year’s attempt backfired, but the Tories fear Lisa Nandy, should the leader fall under a solar-powered ecotruck selling recycled organic knitwear.

The Wigan warrior is enjoying favourable reviews for her forensic examination of the troubled inquiry into historic child sex abuse. After Nandy put May on the spot, the Tory three-piece suit Alec Shelbrooke was overheard muttering: “I hope she never runs for leader.” Anna Soubry and Nicky Morgan, the Thelma and Louise of Tory opposition to Mayhem, were observed nodding in agreement.

Select committee elections are like speed dating. “Who are you?” inquired Labour’s Kevan Jones (Granite Central)of a stranger seeking his vote. She explained that she was Victoria Borwick, the Tory MP for Kensington, but that didn’t help. “This is the first time you’ve spoken to me,” Jones continued, “so the answer’s no.” The aloof Borwick lost, by the way.

Ed Miliband is joining Labour’s relaunched Tribune Group of MPs to continue his political convalescence. Next stop: the shadow cabinet?

Kevin Maguire is Associate Editor (Politics) on the Daily Mirror and author of our Commons Confidential column on the high politics and low life in Westminster. An award-winning journalist, he is in frequent demand on television and radio and co-authored a book on great parliamentary scandals. He was formerly Chief Reporter on the Guardian and Labour Correspondent on the Daily Telegraph.

This article first appeared in the 27 October 2016 issue of the New Statesman, American Rage