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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It's Gary Lineker 1, the Sun 0

The football hero has found himself at the heart of a Twitter storm over the refugee children debate.

The Mole wonders what sort of topsy-turvy universe we now live in where Gary Lineker is suddenly being called a “political activist” by a Conservative MP? Our favourite big-eared football pundit has found himself in a war of words with the Sun newspaper after wading into the controversy over the age of the refugee children granted entry into Britain from Calais.

Pictures published earlier this week in the right-wing press prompted speculation over the migrants' “true age”, and a Tory MP even went as far as suggesting that these children should have their age verified by dental X-rays. All of which leaves your poor Mole with a deeply furrowed brow. But luckily the British Dental Association was on hand to condemn the idea as unethical, inaccurate and inappropriate. Phew. Thank God for dentists.

Back to old Big Ears, sorry, Saint Gary, who on Wednesday tweeted his outrage over the Murdoch-owned newspaper’s scaremongering coverage of the story. He smacked down the ex-English Defence League leader, Tommy Robinson, in a single tweet, calling him a “racist idiot”, and went on to defend his right to express his opinions freely on his feed.

The Sun hit back in traditional form, calling for Lineker to be ousted from his job as host of the BBC’s Match of the Day. The headline they chose? “Out on his ears”, of course, referring to the sporting hero’s most notable assets. In the article, the tabloid lays into Lineker, branding him a “leftie luvvie” and “jug-eared”. The article attacked him for describing those querying the age of the young migrants as “hideously racist” and suggested he had breached BBC guidelines on impartiality.

All of which has prompted calls for a boycott of the Sun and an outpouring of support for Lineker on Twitter. His fellow football hero Stan Collymore waded in, tweeting that he was on “Team Lineker”. Leading the charge against the Murdoch-owned title was the close ally of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and former Channel 4 News economics editor, Paul Mason, who tweeted:

Lineker, who is not accustomed to finding himself at the centre of such highly politicised arguments on social media, responded with typical good humour, saying he had received a bit of a “spanking”.

All of which leaves the Mole with renewed respect for Lineker and an uncharacteristic desire to watch this weekend’s Match of the Day to see if any trace of his new activist persona might surface.


I'm a mole, innit.