Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. The arts are more than a way to make money, Maria Miller (Observer)

The culture minister tells Hull what a financial boon being City of Culture will be. She's missing the point, writes Catherine Bennett.

2. Thanks to Paul Flowers, expect politics to get ugly again (Sunday Telegraph)

There was tacit agreement that politicians’ past indiscretions were a private matter, says Matthew D'Ancona, but the gloves could be off for the election in 2015.

3. Needed fast: a human face on the invisible crime of modern slavery (Sunday Times) (£)

Slavery is back, in the country that so proudly abolished it 180 years ago, writes Camilla Cavendish.

4. David Cameron demeans his office (Independent on Sunday)

Ed Miliband: The Conservatives’ tactics of fear and smear raise serious questions about type of politics we want.

5. How can banking still be a source of scandal so long after the crash? (Observer)

There are alarming signs that people are behaving as if there were nothing really to learn from the bubble years, says Andrew Rawnsley.

6. Tory smearing of Labour is vilest form of politics - and all because they are in a mess (Mirror)

We’re set for one of the dirtiest election campaigns this country has seen, says Owen Jones, writing as a guest columnist.

7. Yes, we do need to change the age of consent. To 35. (Independent on Sunday)

The first pleasure of bodily love isn’t penetration - it's disobedience, says Howard Jacobson.

8. Pulling off these two deals might just rescue President Knife Edge (Sunday Times) (£)

The Obama presidency — like the Nixon, Reagan, Clinton and Bush presidencies before it — is now in a severe second-term crisis, writes Andrew O'Sullivan.

9. Self-improving strivers need rewarding, too (Sunday Telegraph)

Janet Daley: Bizarrely, only the truly rich and the truly poor have had their income tax cut

10. Universities should be the last place to ban free speech (Observer)

The censorship of an atheist bookstall at freshers' week is just another example of heavy-handed repression in our universities, writes Nick Cohen.

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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.