Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Orthodox economists have failed their own market test (Guardian)

Students are demanding alternatives to a free-market dogma with a disastrous record, writes Seumas Milne. That's something we all need.

2. It’s no coincidence the MPs found guilty of fiddling are all Labour (Daily Telegraph)

The party may take the moral high ground, but lying and cheating are deep in its DNA, says Peter Oborne. 

3. Bernard Ingham says Northerners who loathe the Tories are ‘demented’. Perhaps I can put him straight... (Independent)

Slashing the welfare state and cutting taxes on the wealthy was never going to play well, says Owen Jones. 

4. This Pope is no liberal. He’s a true Catholic (Times)

Francis has won the Left’s admiration but this 'pro-lifer' opposes abortion as much as poverty, writes Tim Montgomerie. 

5. Accurate forecasts suit Osborne for once (Financial Times)

Expect a warts-and-all account of the OBR’s inability to see the recovery, says Chris Giles.

6. Has pride in public service had its day? (Daily Telegraph)

Ordinary people are being let down far too often by those who put their own interests first, says Sue Cameron.

7. China will keep its leaders busy (Financial Times)

They have set themselves a formidable task that will have far-reaching consequences, writes David Pilling. 

8. You can’t have an amnesty for murder (Times)

As Northern Ireland becomes increasingly like the rest of Europe it must observe the same legal principles, says David Aaronovitch.

9. The best healthcare delivery system in the world? Are you off your rocker? (Independent)

The Republicans are on a hot streak thanks to Obamacare's false start, writes David Usborne. 

10. JFK's assassination wasn't the end of anything, it just felt that way (Guardian)

Every generation has its Kennedy moments, writes Martin Kettle. From 9/11 to Iraq, history moves on.

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Why do the words “soup, swoop, loop de loop” come to mind every time I lift a spoon to my lips?

It’s all thanks to Barry and Anita.

A while ago I was lending a friend the keys to our house. We keep spare keys in a ceramic pot I was given years ago by someone who made it while on an art-school pottery course. “That’s er . . . quite challenging,” the friend said of the pot.

“Is it?” I replied. “I’d stopped noticing how ugly it is.”

“Then it’s a grunty,” she said.

“A what?” I asked.

“A grunty. It’s something you have in your house that’s hideous and useless but you’ve stopped noticing it completely, so it’s effectively invisible.”

I was much taken with this idea and realised that as well as “grunties” there are also “gruntyisms”: things you say or do, though the reason why you say or do them has long since been forgotten. For example, every time we drink soup my wife and I say the same thing, uttered in a strange monotone: we say, “Soup, swoop, loop de loop.” How we came to say “soup, swoop, loop de loop” came about like this.

For a married couple, the years between your mid-thirties and your late forties might be seen as the decade of the bad dinner party. You’re no longer looking for a partner, so the hormonal urge to visit crowded bars has receded, but you are still full of energy so you don’t want to stay in at night, either. Instead, you go to dinner parties attended by other couples you don’t necessarily like that much.

One such couple were called Barry and Anita. Every time we ate at their house Barry would make soup, and when serving it he would invariably say, “There we are: soup, swoop, loop de loop.” After the dinner party, as soon as we were in the minicab going home, me and Linda would start drunkenly talking about what an arse Barry was, saying to each other, in a high-pitched, mocking imitation of his voice: “Please do have some more of this delicious soup, swoop, loop de loop.” Then we’d collapse against each other laughing, convincing the Algerian or Bengali taxi driver once again of the impenetrability and corruption of Western society.

Pretty soon whenever we had soup at home, Linda and I would say to each other, “Soup, swoop, loop de loop,” at first still ridiculing Barry, but eventually we forgot why we were saying it and it became part of the private language every couple develop, employed long after we’d gratefully ceased having soupy dinners with Barry and Anita.

In the early Nineties we had an exchange student staying with us for a year, a Maori girl from the Cook Islands in the southern Pacific. When she returned home she took the expression “soup, swoop, loop de loop” with her and spread it among her extended family, until finally the phrase appeared in an anthropological dissertation: “ ‘Soup swoop, loop de loop.’ Shamanistic Incantations in Rarotongan Food Preparation Rituals” – University of Topeka, 2001. 

This article first appeared in the 21 July 2016 issue of the New Statesman, The English Revolt