Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. It’s mad to blame our housing crisis on 'blooming foreigners’ (Daily Telegraph)

Talent and investment from abroad will help create jobs and build the homes we need, says Boris Johnson. 

2. Stupid to think the Tea Party is brainless (Financial Times)

The way to deal with the movement is not through ridicule but to understand its motivation – and the fact it is not finished yet, writes Edward Luce.

3. Saving the planet from short-termism will take man-on-the-moon commitment (Guardian)

JFK's lunar vision is needed if business is to see the long-term benefits of greening the economy as well as the short-term costs, says Larry Elliott. 

4. Nick Clegg is right to reject free schools (Guardian)

Pushy parents who want to dictate how their child is educated should send them to private school, not set up a free one, says Melissa Kite.

5. Not being England isn’t a big enough vision for Scotland (Times)

Independence must be more than just a left-wing project, says John McTernan. 

6. Parliament has forsaken our liberty. Law is the last resort (Guardian)

Who sanctioned the snatching powers of the secret state? Blair? Straw? David Miliband? It's ripe for judicial review, says Chris Huhne.

7. Critics of predatory energy firms must not conflate prices with investment (Independent)

Consumers have every right to feel angered by price rises just announced, says an Independent editorial. 

8. No to Leveson! A free press is vital to protect our rights and liberties (Independent)

Press regulation will stifle local news even worse than national, says Nigel Farage. 

9. This warrior nation welcomes foreign fighters (Times)

At Trafalgar Nelson relied on outside help, writes Robert Crampton. The British Armed Forces always have.

10. A new dawn for nuclear power? (Daily Telegraph)

Once Britain led the world in atomic energy, but decades of political dithering have left Chinese and French firms in the lead, says Michael Hanlon.

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The Brexit elite want to make trade great again – but there’s a catch

The most likely trade partners will want something in return. And it could be awkward. 

Make trade great again! That's an often overlooked priority of Britain's Brexit elite, who believe that by freeing the United Kingdom from the desiccated hand of the European bureaucracy they can strike trade deals with the rest of the world.

That's why Liam Fox, the Trade Secretary, is feeling particularly proud of himself this morning, and has written an article for the Telegraph about all the deals that he is doing the preparatory work for. "Britain embarks on trade crusade" is that paper's splash.

The informal talks involve Norway, New Zealand, and the Gulf Cooperation Council, a political and economic alliance of Middle Eastern countries, including Kuwait, the UAE and our friends the Saudis.

Elsewhere, much symbolic importance has been added to a quick deal with the United States, with Theresa May saying that we were "front of the queue" with President-Elect Donald Trump in her speech this week. 

As far as Trump is concerned, the incoming administration seems to see it differently: Wilbur Ross, his Commerce Secretary, yesterday told Congress that the first priority is to re-negotiate the Nafta deal with their nearest neighbours, Canada and Mexico.

In terms of judging whether or not Brexit is a success or not, let's be clear: if the metric for success is striking a trade deal with a Trump administration that believes that every trade deal the United States has struck has been too good on the other party to the deal, Brexit will be a failure.

There is much more potential for a genuine post-Brexit deal with the other nations of the English-speaking world. But there's something to watch here, too: there is plenty of scope for trade deals with the emerging powers in the Brics - Brazil, India, etc. etc.

But what there isn't is scope for a deal that won't involve the handing out of many more visas to those countries, particularly India, than we do currently.

Downing Street sees the success of Brexit on hinging on trade and immigration. But political success on the latter may hobble any hope of making a decent go of the former. 

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