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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What Jeremy Corbyn gets right about the single market

Technically, you can be outside the EU but inside the single market. Philosophically, you're still in the EU. 

I’ve been trying to work out what bothers me about the response to Jeremy Corbyn’s interview on the Andrew Marr programme.

What bothers me about Corbyn’s interview is obvious: the use of the phrase “wholesale importation” to describe people coming from Eastern Europe to the United Kingdom makes them sound like boxes of sugar rather than people. Adding to that, by suggesting that this “importation” had “destroy[ed] conditions”, rather than laying the blame on Britain’s under-enforced and under-regulated labour market, his words were more appropriate to a politician who believes that immigrants are objects to be scapegoated, not people to be served. (Though perhaps that is appropriate for the leader of the Labour Party if recent history is any guide.)

But I’m bothered, too, by the reaction to another part of his interview, in which the Labour leader said that Britain must leave the single market as it leaves the European Union. The response to this, which is technically correct, has been to attack Corbyn as Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland are members of the single market but not the European Union.

In my view, leaving the single market will make Britain poorer in the short and long term, will immediately render much of Labour’s 2017 manifesto moot and will, in the long run, be a far bigger victory for right-wing politics than any mere election. Corbyn’s view, that the benefits of freeing a British government from the rules of the single market will outweigh the costs, doesn’t seem very likely to me. So why do I feel so uneasy about the claim that you can be a member of the single market and not the European Union?

I think it’s because the difficult truth is that these countries are, de facto, in the European Union in any meaningful sense. By any estimation, the three pillars of Britain’s “Out” vote were, firstly, control over Britain’s borders, aka the end of the free movement of people, secondly, more money for the public realm aka £350m a week for the NHS, and thirdly control over Britain’s own laws. It’s hard to see how, if the United Kingdom continues to be subject to the free movement of people, continues to pay large sums towards the European Union, and continues to have its laws set elsewhere, we have “honoured the referendum result”.

None of which changes my view that leaving the single market would be a catastrophe for the United Kingdom. But retaining Britain’s single market membership starts with making the argument for single market membership, not hiding behind rhetorical tricks about whether or not single market membership was on the ballot last June, when it quite clearly was. 

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