Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Antisemitism doesn't always come doing a Hitler salute (Guardian)

Hatred of Jews is often more coded than explicit, but the Daily Mail's attack on Ralph Miliband pressed all the same old buttons, Jonathan Freedland writes.

2.The greatest trick Fifa ever pulled was to issue a Qatar weather warning (Guardian)

 Marina Hyde: The 2022 World Cup is being built by slaves in a non-democracy, but that's not the issue for Sepp Blatter and co.

3. From Zulu to the 'White Widow', why do all African stories need a white face? (Guardian)

Samantha Lewthwaite's involvement in the Westgate mall siege in Kenya may not be complete fiction, but either way the real story is about much more than her.

4. The real target should not have been Miliband senior, but his son (Telegraph)

By saying that Labour would freeze energy prices, Ed Miliband fulfils his father Ralph’s vision of state control, writes Charles Moore.

5. Green dreams that have been blown away (Telegraph)

The Government's volte-face over the Planning and Energy Act shows how times have changed

6. You’ll soon be able to buy that AK47 again (Telegraph)

The FBI has closed Silk Road and arrested its alleged founder Ross Ulbricht, but another secret online market is bound to open before long

7.Slowly, the Whitehall machine has adapted to coalition. But it may well need to go further (Independent)

This Government has been a good advert for sharing power, writes Andrew Grice.

8. The price of a loaf is of little importance (FT)

Cameron’s critics chose a singularly useless indicator, writes Tim Harford.

9. There’s no point trying to live in London (FT)

Property fetishism pervades Britain and buyers are becoming more neurotic, says Christian Oliver

10. Geeks can be girls (Telegraph)

By Gillian Tett: ‘Computing has become culturally defined as ‘male’ in the western student world’.

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Cabinet audit: what does the appointment of Andrea Leadsom as Environment Secretary mean for policy?

The political and policy-based implications of the new Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

A little over a week into Andrea Leadsom’s new role as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), and senior industry figures are already questioning her credentials. A growing list of campaigners have called for her resignation, and even the Cabinet Office implied that her department's responsibilities will be downgraded.

So far, so bad.

The appointment would appear to be something of a consolation prize, coming just days after Leadsom pulled out of the Conservative leadership race and allowed Theresa May to enter No 10 unopposed.

Yet while Leadsom may have been able to twist the truth on her CV in the City, no amount of tampering will improve the agriculture-related side to her record: one barely exists. In fact, recent statements made on the subject have only added to her reputation for vacuous opinion: “It would make so much more sense if those with the big fields do the sheep, and those with the hill farms do the butterflies,” she told an audience assembled for a referendum debate. No matter the livelihoods of thousands of the UK’s hilltop sheep farmers, then? No need for butterflies outside of national parks?

Normally such a lack of experience is unsurprising. The department has gained a reputation as something of a ministerial backwater; a useful place to send problematic colleagues for some sobering time-out.

But these are not normal times.

As Brexit negotiations unfold, Defra will be central to establishing new, domestic policies for UK food and farming; sectors worth around £108bn to the economy and responsible for employing one in eight of the population.

In this context, Leadsom’s appointment seems, at best, a misguided attempt to make the architects of Brexit either live up to their promises or be seen to fail in the attempt.

At worst, May might actually think she is a good fit for the job. Leadsom’s one, water-tight credential – her commitment to opposing restraints on industry – certainly has its upsides for a Prime Minister in need of an alternative to the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP); a policy responsible for around 40 per cent the entire EU budget.

Why not leave such a daunting task in the hands of someone with an instinct for “abolishing” subsidies  thus freeing up money to spend elsewhere?

As with most things to do with the EU, CAP has some major cons and some equally compelling pros. Take the fact that 80 per cent of CAP aid is paid out to the richest 25 per cent of farmers (most of whom are either landed gentry or vast, industrialised, mega-farmers). But then offset this against the provision of vital lifelines for some of the UK’s most conscientious, local and insecure of food producers.

The NFU told the New Statesman that there are many issues in need of urgent attention; from an improved Basic Payment Scheme, to guarantees for agri-environment funding, and a commitment to the 25-year TB eradication strategy. But that they also hope, above all, “that Mrs Leadsom will champion British food and farming. Our industry has a great story to tell”.

The construction of a new domestic agricultural policy is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Britain to truly decide where its priorities for food and environment lie, as well as to which kind of farmers (as well as which countries) it wants to delegate their delivery.

In the context of so much uncertainty and such great opportunity, Leadsom has a tough job ahead of her. And no amount of “speaking as a mother” will change that.

India Bourke is the New Statesman's editorial assistant.