Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Slandering Britain's Roma isn't courageous. It's racist (Guardian)

The arrival of marginalised people is challenging not because of who they are, but because they are poor, writes Gary Younge.

2. The Obama presidency is failing (Financial Times)

With the exception of the debt ceiling debacle, he has fallen at almost every hurdle, says Edward Luce.

3. At last, a Plan B to stop global warming (Times)

Existing renewable energy hurts economies, writes Bjorn Lomborg. We should follow Japan and find cheaper forms of clean power.

4. 2014 is not 1914, but Europe is getting increasingly angry and nationalist (Guardian)

While Germany focuses on forging a government, populist anti-EU parties look set to do well at next year's elections, writes Timothy Garton Ash.

5. The real poison is to be found in Arafat's legacy (Independent)

He placed vain trust in Israel and the US - mistakes that his people are still paying for, writes Robert Fisk. 

6. The squeezed middle class also deserves a tax cut (Times)

Britain can’t win the global race if taxes remain such a burden, says Dominic Raab. 

7. Tory toff David Cameron's hollow talk of aspiration is falling flat in middle-income homes (Daily Mirror)

Call-me-Dave’s unclassy to urge people to dream as he entrenches division, says Kevin Maguire. 

8. We should be humbly thanking the super-rich, not bashing them (Daily Telegraph)

As well as creating jobs and giving to charity, the wealthy should be hailed as Tax Heroes, says Boris Johnson. 

9. Typhoon Haiyan must spur us on to slow climate change (Guardian)

The damage caused by extreme weather events bring home the need to curb carbon emissions and combat global warming, says Chris Huhne. 

10. Sykes and Ukip could put Labour into No 10 (Daily Telegraph)

Cameron should be wary of Ukip, says a Telegraph editorial. The 2015 election could be decided not by a clash with Labour but a feud within the right.

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Who will win in Manchester Gorton?

Will Labour lose in Manchester Gorton?

The death of Gerald Kaufman will trigger a by-election in his Manchester Gorton seat, which has been Labour-held since 1935.

Coming so soon after the disappointing results in Copeland – where the seat was lost to the Tories – and Stoke – where the party lost vote share – some overly excitable commentators are talking up the possibility of an upset in the Manchester seat.

But Gorton is very different to Stoke-on-Trent and to Copeland. The Labour lead is 56 points, compared to 16.5 points in Stoke-on-Trent and 6.5 points in Copeland. (As I’ve written before and will doubtless write again, it’s much more instructive to talk about vote share rather than vote numbers in British elections. Most of the country tends to vote in the same way even if they vote at different volumes.)

That 47 per cent of the seat's residents come from a non-white background and that the Labour party holds every council seat in the constituency only adds to the party's strong position here. 

But that doesn’t mean that there is no interest to be had in the contest at all. That the seat voted heavily to remain in the European Union – around 65 per cent according to Chris Hanretty’s estimates – will provide a glimmer of hope to the Liberal Democrats that they can finish a strong second, as they did consistently from 1992 to 2010, before slumping to fifth in 2015.

How they do in second place will inform how jittery Labour MPs with smaller majorities and a history of Liberal Democrat activity are about Labour’s embrace of Brexit.

They also have a narrow chance of becoming competitive should Labour’s selection turn acrimonious. The seat has been in special measures since 2004, which means the selection will be run by the party’s national executive committee, though several local candidates are tipped to run, with Afzal Khan,  a local MEP, and Julie Reid, a local councillor, both expected to run for the vacant seats.

It’s highly unlikely but if the selection occurs in a way that irritates the local party or provokes serious local in-fighting, you can just about see how the Liberal Democrats give everyone a surprise. But it’s about as likely as the United States men landing on Mars any time soon – plausible, but far-fetched. 

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