Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. We can’t afford to ignore climate change (Financial Times)

As the Philippines recovers, fossil-fuel lobbies focus on the short term, writes Jeffrey Sachs.

2. Why even atheists should be praying for Pope Francis (Guardian)

Francis could replace Obama as the pin-up on every liberal and leftist wall, says Jonathan Freedland. He is now the world's clearest voice for change.

3. Steady at the helm there, Mr Cameron (Times)

If the PM is feeling the pressure from the Tory right, he needs to quell the ranks and steer the ship, writes Matthew Parris.

4. If Labour want to start apologising, it shouldn't be over economic migration (Guardian)

Jack Straw's admission of guilt over deciding to allow economic migration in 2004 is disingenuous, and sidesteps the real mistakes they made, says Deborah Orr.

5. A glasnost moment? Unlikely. The Chinese remember what happened to the Soviets (Independent)

Shining through the new document is Mr Xi’s determination to retain and bolster the Communist Party’s hold on power, writes Peter Popham.

6. The coalition is steadily coming undone (Independent)

Ed Miliband's pledge last month to freeze energy prices has not only dominated headlines, it has driven a wedge between the Tories and the Lib Dems, says Andrew Grice.

7. Is the economic recovery built to last? (Times)

Instead of a Germanic economy built on manufacturing, our recovery risks resembling Spain’s property boom, says Stephen King.

8. The lessons gone unlearnt at Westminster (Daily Telegraph)

The fallibility of MPs Nadine Dorries and Nadhim Zahawi is regrettably familiar, writes Vicki Woods.

9. A bet against London is no sure thing (Financial Times)

There is far more to the British capital than hot money and hot air, writes Tim Harford.

10. Why does a brush with death make people turn to religion? (Daily Telegraph)

Sir John Tavener’s final broadcast brought home with force the truths of faith, argues Charles Moore.

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What Jeremy Corbyn gets right about the single market

Technically, you can be outside the EU but inside the single market. Philosophically, you're still in the EU. 

I’ve been trying to work out what bothers me about the response to Jeremy Corbyn’s interview on the Andrew Marr programme.

What bothers me about Corbyn’s interview is obvious: the use of the phrase “wholesale importation” to describe people coming from Eastern Europe to the United Kingdom makes them sound like boxes of sugar rather than people. Adding to that, by suggesting that this “importation” had “destroy[ed] conditions”, rather than laying the blame on Britain’s under-enforced and under-regulated labour market, his words were more appropriate to a politician who believes that immigrants are objects to be scapegoated, not people to be served. (Though perhaps that is appropriate for the leader of the Labour Party if recent history is any guide.)

But I’m bothered, too, by the reaction to another part of his interview, in which the Labour leader said that Britain must leave the single market as it leaves the European Union. The response to this, which is technically correct, has been to attack Corbyn as Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland are members of the single market but not the European Union.

In my view, leaving the single market will make Britain poorer in the short and long term, will immediately render much of Labour’s 2017 manifesto moot and will, in the long run, be a far bigger victory for right-wing politics than any mere election. Corbyn’s view, that the benefits of freeing a British government from the rules of the single market will outweigh the costs, doesn’t seem very likely to me. So why do I feel so uneasy about the claim that you can be a member of the single market and not the European Union?

I think it’s because the difficult truth is that these countries are, de facto, in the European Union in any meaningful sense. By any estimation, the three pillars of Britain’s “Out” vote were, firstly, control over Britain’s borders, aka the end of the free movement of people, secondly, more money for the public realm aka £350m a week for the NHS, and thirdly control over Britain’s own laws. It’s hard to see how, if the United Kingdom continues to be subject to the free movement of people, continues to pay large sums towards the European Union, and continues to have its laws set elsewhere, we have “honoured the referendum result”.

None of which changes my view that leaving the single market would be a catastrophe for the United Kingdom. But retaining Britain’s single market membership starts with making the argument for single market membership, not hiding behind rhetorical tricks about whether or not single market membership was on the ballot last June, when it quite clearly was. 

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