Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. You made me a Lord, Ed, but even I think it's time you grew up and became a real leader (Mail on Sunday)

People want to know what Labour is about, writes Maurice Glasman. It is time Ed Miliband got out of his political lay-by and told them.

It’s notable now how many advocates of immigration are on the right, while the left apologises for past mistakes, writes Matthew d'Ancona.

3. Slick marketing and hi-tech politics are leaving voters feeling cold (Observer)

Sophisticated electioneering, with its tailored and targeted messages, ignores the concerns of the wider electorate, writes Sonia Sodha.

4. Another hung parliament: A user's guide (Independent on Sunday)

Ed Balls should not be allowed in any future Lib-Lab negotiations, says John Rentoul.

5. Ed Miliband is Labour's Alex Ferguson and he needs to give any slacking ministers the hairdyer treatment (Sunday Mirror)

The Labour leader needs a good captain to ensure the team works together on the pitch, says John Prescott.

6. Egypt: we may despise the Muslim Brotherhood, but a coup is a coup (Observer)

Europe and the US need to accept that the Muslim Brotherhood may be foul, but it did not abolish democracy, writes Nick Cohen.

7. Stop swotting up, Ed - the test has begun and you're failing (Sunday Times)

The Labour leader needs to be shocked out of his placid belief that his political strategy is working out just fine, writes Jenni Russell.

8. So much migration puts Europe's dykes in danger of bursting (Independent on Sunday)

David Cameron plans to renegotiate the basic tenets of the EU, write David Goodhart and Lodewijk Asscher. He may find support in surprising quarters, including the Dutch liberal left.

9. A lion among men, felled by a coward’s rifle (Sunday Times)

Mick Deane was a calm, clever, humorous and reassuring presence in every situation, writes Adam Boulton.

10. Why Labour’s downfall is not all good news (Sunday Telegraph)

Ed Miliband has an obligation to the country to pull his party into some sort of plausible shape, says Janet Daley.

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Donald Trump's inauguration signals the start of a new and more unstable era

A century in which the world's hegemonic power was a rational actor is about to give way to a more terrifying reality. 

For close to a century, the United States of America has been the world’s paramount superpower, one motivated by, for good and for bad, a rational and predictable series of motivations around its interests and a commitment to a rules-based global order, albeit one caveated by an awareness of the limits of enforcing that against other world powers.

We are now entering a period in which the world’s paramount superpower is neither led by a rational or predictable actor, has no commitment to a rules-based order, and to an extent it has any guiding principle, they are those set forward in Donald Trump’s inaugural: “we will follow two simple rules: hire American and buy American”, “from this day forth, it’s going to be America first, only America first”.

That means that the jousting between Trump and China will only intensify now that he is in office.  The possibility not only of a trade war, but of a hot war, between the two should not be ruled out.

We also have another signal – if it were needed – that he intends to turn a blind eye to the actions of autocrats around the world.

What does that mean for Brexit? It confirms that those who greeted the news that an US-UK trade deal is a “priority” for the incoming administration, including Theresa May, who described Britain as “front of the queue” for a deal with Trump’s America, should prepare themselves for disappointment.

For Europe in general, it confirms what should already been apparent: the nations of Europe are going to have be much, much more self-reliant in terms of their own security. That increases Britain’s leverage as far as the Brexit talks are concerned, in that Britain’s outsized defence spending will allow it acquire goodwill and trade favours in exchange for its role protecting the European Union’s Eastern border.

That might allow May a better deal out of Brexit than she might have got under Hillary Clinton. But there’s a reason why Trump has increased Britain’s heft as far as security and defence are concerned: it’s because his presidency ushers in an era in which we are all much, much less secure. 

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