Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Logically speaking, we need more grey areas (Times) (£)

In all arguments, from faith to politics, sexuality to morality, a little messed-up thinking takes us a long way, says Matthew Parris.

2. Miliband keeps going off the radar and is in danger of sinking without trace (Independent)

George Mudie is a maverick, but he shouldn’t be dismissed by Team Miliband, writes Andrew Grice.

3. We can't afford to be cynical about the Israel-Palestinian peace talks (Guardian)

John Kerry has shown the will to get things moving, and even old hands aren't as pessimistic as usual. There's room for hope, says Jonathan Freedland.

4. Of course people at the BBC are biased: why not make a virtue of it? (Telegraph)

We need the BBC to be more like the newspapers - open about the unavoidably political beliefs of its staff, argues Graeme Archer.

5. The internet is often vile, but we can make it civilised (FT) (£)

The challenge is to make online abuse as despised as racism at football matches, writes Helen Lewis.

6. What does idealism get you today? Abuse, derision, or sometimes prison (Guardian)

From Bradley Manning to the Jane Austen banknote campaigners to 'outsider artists', the world does not seem to favour those acting on idealist principles these days, says Deborah Orr.

7. They busted us, but the police were the dopes (Times) (£)

Forty years ago Britain’s drug laws turned today’s pillars of the Establishment into criminals and rebels, says Carol Sarler.

8. A new Doctor Who, but the same old moral core (Telegraph)

The 12th Time Lord, who takes over from Matt Smith, will inherit a show of unique resilience and enduring values, writes Matthew Norman.

9. Think how good the House of Lords could be (Independent)

What we need is more mavericks, individuals and expertise rather than more tribalism, says Ian Birrell.

10. Labour MP George Mudie's "hesitant and confused" outburst at Ed Miliband stings because it rings true (Mirror)

David Cameron and the Conservatives are there for the taking yet too often Miliband fails to land the killer punches, says Kevin Maguire.

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Geoffrey Howe dies, aged 88

Howe was Margaret Thatcher's longest serving Cabinet minister – and the man credited with precipitating her downfall.

The former Conservative chancellor Lord Howe, a key figure in the Thatcher government, has died of a suspected heart attack, his family has said. He was 88.

Geoffrey Howe was the longest-serving member of Margaret Thatcher's Cabinet, playing a key role in both her government and her downfall. Born in Port Talbot in 1926, he began his career as a lawyer, and was first elected to parliament in 1964, but lost his seat just 18 months later.

Returning as MP for Reigate in the Conservative election victory of 1970, he served in the government of Edward Heath, first as Solicitor General for England & Wales, then as a Minister of State for Trade. When Margaret Thatcher became opposition leader in 1975, she named Howe as her shadow chancellor.

He retained this brief when the party returned to government in 1979. In the controversial budget of 1981, he outlined a radical monetarist programme, abandoning then-mainstream economic thinking by attempting to rapidly tackle the deficit at a time of recession and unemployment. Following the 1983 election, he was appointed as foreign secretary, in which post he negotiated the return of Hong Kong to China.

In 1989, Thatcher demoted Howe to the position of leader of the house and deputy prime minister. And on 1 November 1990, following disagreements over Britain's relationship with Europe, he resigned from the Cabinet altogether. 

Twelve days later, in a powerful speech explaining his resignation, he attacked the prime minister's attitude to Brussels, and called on his former colleagues to "consider their own response to the tragic conflict of loyalties with which I have myself wrestled for perhaps too long".

Labour Chancellor Denis Healey once described an attack from Howe as "like being savaged by a dead sheep" - but his resignation speech is widely credited for triggering the process that led to Thatcher's downfall. Nine days later, her premiership was over.

Howe retired from the Commons in 1992, and was made a life peer as Baron Howe of Aberavon. He later said that his resignation speech "was not intended as a challenge, it was intended as a way of summarising the importance of Europe". 

Nonetheless, he added: "I am sure that, without [Thatcher's] resignation, we would not have won the 1992 election... If there had been a Labour government from 1992 onwards, New Labour would never have been born."

Jonn Elledge is the editor of the New Statesman's sister site CityMetric. He is on Twitter, far too much, as @JonnElledge.