Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Ed Miliband is no weakling but this union battle could destroy him (Daily Telegraph)

The Labour leader has picked a fight that has very little relevance to voters, warns Mary Riddell.

2. It’s unavoidable: we need a directly elected PM (Times

The party system is crumbling, writes Daniel Finkelstein. More primaries and less biddable politicians will lead to a constitutional revolution.

3. Miliband, Labour and Falkirk: the real problem is unions aren't influential enough (Guardian)

If Falkirk is used to weaken trade unionists' role in politics it can only entrench the closed circle of corporate power, says Seumas Milne.

4. Why China will not buy the world (Financial Times)

The Chinese economy is marked by its dependence on others, writes Martin Wolf.

5. Jimmy Mubenga's unlawful killing was a death waiting to happen (Guardian)

Mubenga's inquest has shed light on the murky world of the privatised deportation business, write Deborah Coles and Mark Scott.

6. Egypt will spark terrorism across the globe (Times

The deaths of 51 people in Cairo is like a recruiting sergeant’s bugle call to violent radicals, writes Roger Boyes.

7. Labour and the unions: Mr Miliband rolls the dice (Guardian)

The party leader has set big things running, not all of which were fully spelled out in a speech at London's St Bride Foundation, says a Guardian editorial.

8. Some protests suit Blair more than others (Independent)

Now the coup threatens to boost extremists, and sends a terrible message worldwide, says Ian Birrell.

9. Royal Mail will have the freedom to thrive (Daily Telegraph)

Privatising Royal Mail will help secure our postal service's long-term future, says Michael Fallon.

10. The story of the QE2 symbolises the shifting wealth of the world (Independent)

The west’s new role: supplier of luxury we can’t afford ourselves, writes Hamish McRae.

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Theresa May’s stage-managed election campaign keeps the public at bay

Jeremy Corbyn’s approach may be chaotic, but at least it’s more authentic.

The worst part about running an election campaign for a politician? Having to meet the general public. Those ordinary folk can be a tricky lot, with their lack of regard for being on-message, and their pesky real-life concerns.

But it looks like Theresa May has decided to avoid this inconvenience altogether during this snap general election campaign, as it turns out her visit to Leeds last night was so stage-managed that she barely had to face the public.

Accusations have been whizzing around online that at a campaign event at the Shine building in Leeds, the Prime Minister spoke to a room full of guests invited by the party, rather than local people or people who work in the building’s office space.

The Telegraph’s Chris Hope tweeted a picture of the room in which May was addressing her audience yesterday evening a little before 7pm. He pointed out that, being in Leeds, she was in “Labour territory”:

But a few locals who spied this picture online claimed that the audience did not look like who you’d expect to see congregated at Shine – a grade II-listed Victorian school that has been renovated into a community project housing office space and meeting rooms.

“Ask why she didn’t meet any of the people at the business who work in that beautiful building. Everyone there was an invite-only Tory,” tweeted Rik Kendell, a Leeds-based developer and designer who says he works in the Shine building. “She didn’t arrive until we’d all left for the day. Everyone in the building past 6pm was invite-only . . . They seemed to seek out the most clinical corner for their PR photos. Such a beautiful building to work in.”

Other tweeters also found the snapshot jarring:

Shine’s founders have pointed out that they didn’t host or invite Theresa May – rather the party hired out the space for a private event: “All visitors pay for meeting space in Shine and we do not seek out, bid for, or otherwise host any political parties,” wrote managing director Dawn O'Keefe. The guestlist was not down to Shine, but to the Tory party.

The audience consisted of journalists and around 150 Tory activists, according to the Guardian. This was instead of employees from the 16 offices housed in the building. I have asked the Conservative Party for clarification of who was in the audience and whether it was invite-only and am awaiting its response.

Jeremy Corbyn accused May of “hiding from the public”, and local Labour MP Richard Burgon commented that, “like a medieval monarch, she simply briefly relocated her travelling court of admirers to town and then moved on without so much as a nod to the people she considers to be her lowly subjects”.

But it doesn’t look like the Tories’ painstaking stage-management is a fool-proof plan. Having uniform audiences of the party faithful on the campaign trail seems to be confusing the Prime Minister somewhat. During a visit to a (rather sparsely populated) factory in Clay Cross, Derbyshire, yesterday, she appeared to forget where exactly on the campaign trail she was:

The management of Corbyn’s campaign has also resulted in gaffes – but for opposite reasons. A slightly more chaotic approach has led to him facing the wrong way, with his back to the cameras.

Corbyn’s blunder is born out of his instinct to address the crowd rather than the cameras – May’s problem is the other way round. Both, however, seem far more comfortable talking to the party faithful, even if they are venturing out of safe seat territory.

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.

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