Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. China has thrown down a gauntlet (Financial Times)

Beijing has turned control of the air space around the Senkaku Islands into a test of the US, writes Philip Stephens. 

2. Misery looms for the 'have-it-all' generation (Daily Telegraph)

As the baby boomers approach retirement, many face a retirement crisis, thanks to QE, writes Jeremy Warner.

3. Energy's big six: the more we learn, the worse they look (Guardian)

Cutting the 'green crap' from energy bills is a damaging electoral sweetener – the signs are voters will not be fooled, says Polly Toynbee.

4. The case for the Union is still strong – so why does the government not make it? (Daily Telegraph)

Alex Salmond and the SNP are being given a free hand to blame London for their own mistakes, says Fraser Nelson. 

5. Tories and the cult of home ownership (Financial Times)

Promoting house-buying is a form of stimulus that does not overtly add to the fiscal deficit, writes Samuel Brittan. 

6. There is no link between porn and sex crime (Times)

Rape and violence are about power and the male nature, writes Philip Collins. Moral panic about legal images is pointless.

7. The U-turning Tories are making their lack of conviction obvious (Daily Telegraph)

Not knowing what they believe makes for messy messaging for the Tories, says Isabel Hardman. 

8. Leveson: Britain's press needs to learn humility – I should know (Guardian)

As a former Sun editor, I know newspapers are dictatorships, says David Yelland. Their hysterical reaction to Leveson proves it.

9. If I were young and Scottish, I would vote yes to independence (Independent)

The country is certainly strong enough to stand on its own, writes Mary Dejevsky. 

10. Why the assault on cigarette packets? They already look like props in a horror movie (Guardian)

I hate smoking, writes Simon Jenkins. But I also hate being told by the government how to look after my body. Cameron should leave smokers.

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Cabinet audit: what does the appointment of Liam Fox as International Trade Secretary mean for policy?

The political and policy-based implications of the new Secretary of State for International Trade.

Only Nixon, it is said, could have gone to China. Only a politician with the impeccable Commie-bashing credentials of the 37th President had the political capital necessary to strike a deal with the People’s Republic of China.

Theresa May’s great hope is that only Liam Fox, the newly-installed Secretary of State for International Trade, has the Euro-bashing credentials to break the news to the Brexiteers that a deal between a post-Leave United Kingdom and China might be somewhat harder to negotiate than Vote Leave suggested.

The biggest item on the agenda: striking a deal that allows Britain to stay in the single market. Elsewhere, Fox should use his political capital with the Conservative right to wait longer to sign deals than a Remainer would have to, to avoid the United Kingdom being caught in a series of bad deals. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. He usually writes about politics.