Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. The failure of this Islamist experiment poses a danger far beyond Egypt (Guardian)

Too many in the Muslim world will now conclude that democracy has no place for them - and be drawn to violence, writes Jonathan Freedland.

2. Scrap Tory associations, build a new party (Times)

Labour isn't the only one with local difficulties, writes Matthew Parris, grassroots Conservatives no longer represent modern Britain.

3. Unite in Falkirk - amateur and irresponsible (Guardian)

Eric Joyce, the outgoing Falkirk MP, is unimpressed by the selection process to find a successor.

4. Who will be there for you when you grow old (Times)

Janice Turner confronts the demographic and social catastrophe that will engulf the NHS.

5. Laptops and the case for high speed rail (Financial Times)

It's easier to grasp the costs than the benefits of HS2, writes Sarah O'Connor.

6. If we sell school places overseas, full blown privatisation won't be far off (Guardian)

Fiona Millar sees the ever deeper penetration of market forces as the logical extension of Michael Gove's agenda.

7. The flaws in selection are not Labour's alone (Daily Telegraph)

The Tory system kind of works. Primaries would be better, says Graeme Archer.

8. Tom Watson: my part in his downfall (Daily Telegraph)

Brisk yet thorough precis of an admired and feared Labour power-broker, by Dan Hodges.

9. Edward Snowden is a traitor just as surely as George Blake was (Daily Telegraph)

Charles Moore is unimpressed by justifications of the great CIA data-snoop leak.

10. A Conservative-Referendum party: The vindication of Sir James Goldsmith (Daily Mail)

Adrian Hilton is pleased as punch that the mood that destroyed John Major's government now sets the tone for the modern Conservative party.

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Who really controls the Labour Party now?

Jeremy Corbyn's allies will struggle to achieve their ambition to remove general secretary Iain McNicol.

Jeremy Corbyn's advance at the general election confirmed his place as Labour leader. Past opponents recognise not only that Corbyn could not be defeated but that he should not be.

They set him the test of winning more seats – and he passed. From a position of strength, Corbyn was able to reward loyalists, rather than critics, in his shadow cabinet reshuffle. 

But what of his wider control over the party? Corbyn allies have restated their long-held ambition to remove Labour general secretary Iain McNicol, and to undermine Tom Watson by creating a new post of female deputy leader (Watson lost the honorific title of "party chair" in the reshuffle, which was awarded to Corbyn ally Ian Lavery).

The departure of McNicol, who was accused of seeking to keep Corbyn off the ballot during the 2016 leadership challenge, would pave the way for the removal of other senior staff at Labour HQ (which has long had an acrimonious relationship with the leader's office). 

These ambitions are likely to remain just that. But Labour figures emphasise that McNicol will remain general secretary as long he retains the support of the GMB union (of which he is a former political officer) and that no staff members can be removed without his approval.

On the party's ruling National Executive Committee, non-Corbynites retain a majority of two, which will grow to three when Unite loses a seat to Unison (now Labour's biggest affiliate). As before, this will continue to act as a barrier to potential rule changes.

The so-called "McDonnell amendment", which would reduce the threshold for Labour leadership nominations from 15 per cent of MPs to 5 per cent, is still due to be tabled at this year's party conference, but is not expected to pass. After the election result, however, Corbyn allies are confident that a left successor would be able to make the ballot under the existing rules. 

But Labour's gains (which surprised even those close to the leader) have reduced the urgency to identify an heir. The instability of Theresa May's government means that the party is on a permanent campaign footing (Corbyn himself expects another election this year). For now, Tory disunity will act as a force for Labour unity. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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