Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. The world would miss the US policeman (Financial Times)

The US’s ‘red lines’ underpin global security from the Pacific to eastern Europe, writes Gideon Rachman.

2. Merkel the European will wake up – once Germany's elections are over (Guardian)

It may look as if the chancellor is dozing on the volcano of the European crisis: but that will all change if she wins a third term, writes Ulrich Beck.

3. Britain should stay on track with HS2 (Daily Telegraph)

The high-speed rail link will display national ambition and help to rebalance the economy, argues a Daily Telegraph leader.

4. The lobbying bill will save corporate PRs but silence the protesters (Guardian)

Today parliament must wake up to a lobbying law designed to muzzle the government's biggest critics before the election, says Polly Toynbee.

5. Britain’s wish to intervene will survive (Financial Times)

Far from being a foreign policy realist, David Cameron has a taste for moral activism, writes Janan Ganesh.

6. Cameron the quarterback can’t keep relying on a Hail Mary pass (Daily Telegraph)

The only sure way for Cameron to put himself beyond the reach of the Tory posse on his trail is a healthy majority, writes Benedict Brogan.

7. For Syria's sake, end Iran's isolation (Guardian)

Iranian support to help the west bring an end to the civil war in Syria would be beyond price, writes Shirley Williams. 

8. Exposing the UKIP sham will not be enough (Times)

Andy Coulson misses the point: Farage’s party is part of a wider discontent with politics, says Tim Montgomerie.

Six months after the worst scandal in the history of our supermarkets, it is the shops and food manufacturers that are having the last laugh, writes Alex Renton. 

10. So who still thinks Israel is the root of Middle East problems? (Independent)

When regimes in the Middle East feel threatened by their own people, they immediately seek to blame the insurrection on Israel or ‘the Jews’, writes Dominic Lawson. 

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Jeremy Corbyn's Labour conference speech shows how he's grown

The leader's confident address will have impressed even his fiercest foes. 

It is not just Jeremy Corbyn’s mandate that has been improved by his re-election. The Labour leader’s conference speech was, by some distance, the best he has delivered. He spoke with far greater confidence, clarity and energy than previously. From its self-deprecating opening onwards ("Virgin Trains assure me there are 800 empty seats") we saw a leader improved in almost every respect. 

Even Corbyn’s firecest foes will have found less to take issue with than they may have anticipated. He avoided picking a fight on Trident (unlike last year), delivered his most forceful condemnation of anti-Semitism (“an evil”) and, with the exception of the Iraq war, avoided attacks on New Labour’s record. The video which preceded his arrival, and highlighted achievements from the Blair-Brown years, was another olive branch. But deselection, which Corbyn again refused to denounce, will remain a running sore (MPs alleged that Hillsborough campaigner Sheila Coleman, who introduced Corbyn, is seeking to deselect Louise Ellman and backed the rival TUSC last May).

Corbyn is frequently charged with lacking policies. But his lengthy address contained several new ones: the removal of the cap on council borrowing (allowing an extra 60,000 houses to be built), a ban on arms sales to abusive regimes and an arts pupil premium in every primary school.

On policy, Corbyn frequently resembles Ed Miliband in his more radical moments, unrestrained by Ed Balls and other shadow cabinet members. He promised £500bn of infrastructure investment (spread over a decade with £150bn from the private sector), “a real living wage”, the renationalisation of the railways, rent controls and a ban on zero-hours contracts.

Labour’s greatest divisions are not over policy but rules, strategy and culture. Corbyn’s opponents will charge him with doing far too little to appeal to the unconverted - Conservative voters most of all. But he spoke with greater conviction than before of preparing for a general election (acknowledging that Labour faced an arithmetical “mountain”) and successfully delivered the attack lines he has often shunned.

“Even Theresa May gets it, that people want change,” he said. “That’s why she stood on the steps of Downing Street and talked about the inequalities and burning injustices in today’s Britain. She promised a country: ‘that works not for a privileged few but for every one of us’. But even if she manages to talk the talk, she can’t walk the walk. This isn’t a new government, it’s David Cameron’s government repackaged with progressive slogans but with a new harsh right-wing edge, taking the country backwards and dithering before the historic challenges of Brexit.”

After a second landslide victory, Corbyn is, for now, unassailable. Many MPs, having voted no confidence in him, will never serve on the frontbench. But an increasing number, recognising Corbyn’s immovability, speak once again of seeking to “make it work”. For all the ructions of this summer, Corbyn’s speech will have helped to persuade them that they can.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.