Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Only a peace conference, not air strikes, can stop further bloodshed (Independent)

The US and Russia should force their respective allies to at least agree to a ceasefire, writes Patrick Cockburn.

2. The hand-wringing has to stop. We must act (Times)

If we do not intervene to support freedom and democracy in Egypt and Syria, the Middle East faces catastrophe, says Tony Blair.

3. America’s Middle East alliances are cracking (Financial Times)

Policy rested on five crucial players but these are pulling in different directions, says Gideon Rachman.

4. Immature advisers, moral indignation and the folly of wading into this bloody morass (Daily Mail)

Unfortunately, for the cause of justice and truth, loose talk about morality is a luxury grown-up governments cannot often afford to indulge, writes Max Hastings. 

5. Don't bet against Ed Miliband doing a Mo Farah in 2015 (Guardian)

Middle East in turmoil, two key referendums and a fragile recovery mean Ed can still go for gold at the next election, writes Jackie Ashley.

6. Living standards - too big an issue for politics (Financial Times)

Westminster struggles with the reality that wage stagnation is not a peculiarly British difficulty, writes Janan Ganesh.

7. By crossing Obama’s red line, Assad has forced the US to act (Daily Telegraph)

For the world’s good, America’s credibility as a superpower must be maintained, writes David Blair.

8. None of the experts saw India's debt bubble coming. Sound familiar? (Guardian)

India's economic problems reflect a global boom-to-bust pattern, writes Jayati Ghosh. Why do policymakers act surprised?

9. The Right Track? (Times)

The government needs a more resilient case on the costs and benefits of HS2, says a Times editorial. 

10. Bric wall: A slowdown in emerging markets could threaten the global recovery (Independent)

A significant slump in the developing world would have knock-on effects, notes an Independent editorial.

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Commons Confidential: Hilary’s last laugh

 Benn was born into and loves the Labour Party. His was a cry of frustration. Either he enjoys the last laugh or the lachrymose coup fails.

Observing a careworn Jeremy Corbyn, you may see in his lined face his sadness about his neglected allotment in Finchley, north London, as he imagines weeds sprouting in untilled beds and aphids multiplying, untroubled by organic pesticides. If you do, you would be wrong. Corbyn is keeping his fingers green even as militant moderates plot to snatch the Labour leadership from his weakening grasp and consign Jexit to the compost heap of history.

Broad beans are this year’s bumper crop and already on the table chez Corbyn. “I planted them in October and they’re very resistant to frost,” he proudly tells visitors. “There must be ten to 20 bags’ worth left to pick.” Either Corbyn is in denial, or he was full of beans as the shadow cabinet uprooted itself.

Cider, wellies and silent discos will henceforth always evoke resignations for Tom Watson. Labour’s deputy leader was throwing shapes at Glastonbury as the Labour balloon went up. Think of Peter Mannion standing on a children’s slide for a mobile-phone signal at Stewart Pearson’s Thought Camp in The Thick of It. Watson was scheduled to replace Corbyn in the Left Field chatterati tent.

Dodging paparazzi to head back to London in his shorts, Watson confided to comrades that this episode confirmed to him that politics is a grubby business. His first act was to shower, following a weekend without washing, before trying to clear up the Labour Party’s mess.

The mass walkout from Corbyn’s top team, triggered by Hilary Benn’s sacking, was revenge for the now former shadow foreign secretary. I can reveal that Benn was reduced to tears during last year’s long reshuffle, after Jezza’s apparatchik Seumas Milne demanded guaranteed opposition to military action in Libya. Benn was born into and loves the Labour Party. His was a cry of frustration. Either he enjoys the last laugh or the lachrymose coup fails.

More tales of the wannabe prime minister Boris Johnson’s unappetising behaviour in TV make-up rooms. An artist with the blusher complained that he grabbed, uninvited, one of two cakes that she had been given as a birthday gift. He stuffed it whole into his mouth. When she finished applying the cosmetics, he snaffled the second. The Blond Ambition displayed a similar self-entitlement in championing Brexit to pursue his premiership dream.

For weirdos, every tragedy is an opportunity. Following the assassination of Jo Cox, another female Yorkshire MP received an official-looking letter purportedly from a “security consultant”, with parliamentary and Special Branch clearance, offering to review her safety. A little alarm bell sounded. He was unmasked as a Walter Mitty. The visit of two burly coppers caused him an involuntary bowel movement.

Kevin Maguire is the associate editor (politics) of the Daily Mirror

Kevin Maguire is Associate Editor (Politics) on the Daily Mirror and author of our Commons Confidential column on the high politics and low life in Westminster. An award-winning journalist, he is in frequent demand on television and radio and co-authored a book on great parliamentary scandals. He was formerly Chief Reporter on the Guardian and Labour Correspondent on the Daily Telegraph.

This article first appeared in the 30 June 2016 issue of the New Statesman, The Brexit lies