Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Sir John Major has broken his silence – let’s hope the party is listening (Daily Telegraph)

The former PM wants less 'ideology’ and more talk about what matters to ordinary people, writes Peter Oborne. 

2. It's not all immigrants who the Tories fear. It's the mobile poor (Guardian)

The real aim of recent policies is to segregate belonging according to income, writes Zoe Williams. The more you earn, the more rights you have.

3. Drone strikes set a dangerous precedent (Financial Times)

A nation at war with an abstract threat has no right to mount a pre-emptive killing spree, says David Pilling. 

4. Osborne is best when he’s most unpopular (Times)

There is a Bad Osbo who obsesses about political tactics and a Good Osbo who takes long-term decisions, writes Tim Montgomerie.

5. Grangemouth could help shape the Scottish referendum (Guardian)

The SNP has cast itself as defender of the economy from the icy wind of global markets, writes Martin Kettle. What's icier than closure on the Forth?

6. Oil and troubled waters for Alex Salmond (Daily Telegraph)

The closure of Scotland’s sole refinery would be a body-blow to the SNP’s dream of independence, says Alan Cochrane.

7. John Major's snide attack on the PM over fuel prices was as flawed as his six disastrous years in Number 10 (Daily Mail)

The more one re-reads Sir John’s words, the more they read like a calculated act of treacher, says Simon Heffer. 

8. Cameron must stop Europe’s latest assault on Britain (Times)

New regulations on technology are utter madness, writes Rohan Silva. 

9. The Prime Minister is in a bind over energy prices, but cutting green levies is no way out (Independent)

Cameron has sounded the death knell of his once-vaunted green conservatism, says an Independent leader.

10. Companies must adapt to new rules (Financial Times)

Banks and utilities need to make their case, be open and look beyond immediate troubles, writes John Gapper.

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Benn vs McDonnell: how Brexit has exposed the fight over Labour's party machine

In the wake of Brexit, should Labour MPs listen more closely to voters, or their own party members?

Two Labour MPs on primetime TV. Two prominent politicians ruling themselves out of a Labour leadership contest. But that was as far as the similarity went.

Hilary Benn was speaking hours after he resigned - or was sacked - from the Shadow Cabinet. He described Jeremy Corbyn as a "good and decent man" but not a leader.

Framing his overnight removal as a matter of conscience, Benn told the BBC's Andrew Marr: "I no longer have confidence in him [Corbyn] and I think the right thing to do would be for him to take that decision."

In Benn's view, diehard leftie pin ups do not go down well in the real world, or on the ballot papers of middle England. 

But while Benn may be drawing on a New Labour truism, this in turn rests on the assumption that voters matter more than the party members when it comes to winning elections.

That assumption was contested moments later by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell.

Dismissive of the personal appeal of Shadow Cabinet ministers - "we can replace them" - McDonnell's message was that Labour under Corbyn had rejuvenated its electoral machine.

Pointing to success in by-elections and the London mayoral election, McDonnell warned would-be rebels: "Who is sovereign in our party? The people who are soverign are the party members. 

"I'm saying respect the party members. And in that way we can hold together and win the next election."

Indeed, nearly a year on from Corbyn's surprise election to the Labour leadership, it is worth remembering he captured nearly 60% of the 400,000 votes cast. Momentum, the grassroots organisation formed in the wake of his success, now has more than 50 branches around the country.

Come the next election, it will be these grassroots members who will knock on doors, hand out leaflets and perhaps even threaten to deselect MPs.

The question for wavering Labour MPs will be whether what they trust more - their own connection with voters, or this potentially unbiddable party machine.