Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. A Lab-Lib deal in 2015 may be Ed Miliband's only chance of government (Guardian)

If Labour is serious about being open to coalition in 2015, the party must ditch its autocratic way of doing things now, writes Martin Kettle.

2. Stop the plotting, Mr Cameron, and rediscover your will to win (Daily Telegraph)

The Tories should be working on bold policies, not planning for another coalition, says Iain Martin.

3. Don’t blindly trust guardians of security (Financial Times)

Before the leaks, we had little insight into the scale of the NSA’s access to information, writes John Gapper.

4. Why I’m torn between freedom and security (Times)

Was the detention of David Miranda an assault on the press or a necessary protection? It’s impossible to decide, says Matt Ridley.

5. Caught in the crossfire of an ever dirtier war (Daily Mail)

The harrowing images of hundreds of dead Syrian children and adults will test the diplomatic patience of the west to the limit, writes Michael Burleigh. 

6. An uneasy election that is Angela Merkel’s to lose (Independent)

The visit of the Chancellor to Dachau says a lot about her political strategy, writes Mary Dejevsky. 

7. Innovation needs help of an active state (Financial Times)

Productive public spending leads to growth, as illustrated by the US, writes Mariana Mazzucato.

8. Fracking faces a little local difficulty (Daily Telegraph)

A measly 1 per cent of the spoils is not enough to convince residents to put up with fracking, writes Isabel Hardman. 

9. This was a coup: we must support Egypt's people, not its generals (Guardian)

The west must not risk losing legitimacy across the Middle East, says Douglas Alexander. It has to be clear in backing democracy, and defy al-Qaida's hate.

10. The young need help, not condemnation (Independent)

Does Nick Hurd even know what ‘grit’ is, asks Jane Merrick. The situation ‘Neets’ are in is not their fault.

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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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