Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. The NHS at 65: chaos, queues and mounting costs (Guardian)

What national healthcare in Britain looks like in 10 years' time depends more on the future of politics than on economics, writes Polly Toynbee.

2. How Carney can succeed in his mission (Financial Times)

Even if he can perform no miracles, the new BoE governor may prove a lucky one, says Martin Wolf.

3. Miliband must defeat Labour’s union barons (Times)

Could it look any worse for Ed – losing control of his party to a public sector union that demands an end to cuts, asks Philip Collins.

4. Coup in Cairo is a rude awakening (Financial Times)

The help the region needs is not of the type the west has been giving, writes Philip Stephens.

5. Tory union-bashing may come at a price (Daily Telegraph)

Attacks on Unite could alienate those workers who are also natural Conservative voters, says Isabel Hardman.

6. Forcing down Evo Morales's plane was an act of air piracy (Guardian)

Denying the Bolivian president air space was a metaphor for the gangsterism that now rules the world, says John Pilger.

7. Paying for Pensions (Times)

The over-60s have been least affected by austerity, notes a Times editorial. But the triple lock on pensions is no longer affordable.

8. It is capitalism, not democracy, that the Arab world needs most (Daily Telegraph)

Property rights for aid: this could be the most effective anti-poverty strategy in history, says Fraser Nelson.

9. How the unions got Red Ed in a headlock (Daily Mail)

Any Labour candidate for either council or parliamentary elections must now be a member of a trade union, writes Andrew Pierce. 

10. When is a military coup not a military coup? When it happens in Egypt, apparently (Independent)

Those Western leaders who are telling us Egypt is still on the path to “democracy” have to remember that Morsi was indeed elected in a real, Western-approved election, writes Robert Fisk.

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Who will win the Copeland by-election?

Labour face a tricky task in holding onto the seat. 

What’s the Copeland by-election about? That’s the question that will decide who wins it.

The Conservatives want it to be about the nuclear industry, which is the seat’s biggest employer, and Jeremy Corbyn’s long history of opposition to nuclear power.

Labour want it to be about the difficulties of the NHS in Cumbria in general and the future of West Cumberland Hospital in particular.

Who’s winning? Neither party is confident of victory but both sides think it will be close. That Theresa May has visited is a sign of the confidence in Conservative headquarters that, win or lose, Labour will not increase its majority from the six-point lead it held over the Conservatives in May 2015. (It’s always more instructive to talk about vote share rather than raw numbers, in by-elections in particular.)

But her visit may have been counterproductive. Yes, she is the most popular politician in Britain according to all the polls, but in visiting she has added fuel to the fire of Labour’s message that the Conservatives are keeping an anxious eye on the outcome.

Labour strategists feared that “the oxygen” would come out of the campaign if May used her visit to offer a guarantee about West Cumberland Hospital. Instead, she refused to answer, merely hyping up the issue further.

The party is nervous that opposition to Corbyn is going to supress turnout among their voters, but on the Conservative side, there is considerable irritation that May’s visit has made their task harder, too.

Voters know the difference between a by-election and a general election and my hunch is that people will get they can have a free hit on the health question without risking the future of the nuclear factory. That Corbyn has U-Turned on nuclear power only helps.

I said last week that if I knew what the local paper would look like between now and then I would be able to call the outcome. Today the West Cumbria News & Star leads with Downing Street’s refusal to answer questions about West Cumberland Hospital. All the signs favour Labour. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.