Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. How hateful is Britain? Insulted, bullied and murdered – for being disabled (Independent)

In our supposedly civilised society, people who are ‘different’ still face abuse, vigilante justice and death, writes Ian Birrell.

2. The last prejudice? Don’t be fat in fashion or politics (Times) (£)

Women have broken through many ceilings and barriers but they’re still not allowed to be size-16s , writes Janice Turner.

3. Parliament needs to rein in the sinister growth of the payroll government (Telegraph)

The time has come for a proper inquiry into one of Westminster’s biggest open secrets - the growth of prime ministerial power through the payroll vote, says Paul Goodman.

4. Jeremy Paxman is as much 'stuck in' politics as you or I, Nick Clegg (Guardian)

To cast the Newsnight presenter as a parasite reveals Clegg's alarming delusion that politics is only done by politicians, says Marina Hyde.

5. Dig deep, sow seeds and watch Britain grow (Times) (£)

The UK needs HS3 as well as HS2. We need two new cities and more technical colleges. We need long-term vision, says Matthew Parris.

6. John Cole: on paper and on TV, a man of integrity (Guardian)

His integrity was never in doubt, visible in newspaper offices as it would later become to millions of BBC television viewers, says Michael White.

7. Swallow your contempt – Wonga is the symptom, not the problem (Financial Times)(£)

Disdain is no guide to regulating a socially useful sector, writes Tim Harford.

8. Politicians, learn this: people cannot live by bread alone (Guardian)

Russell Brand, Grayson Perry and co are our new priests, plugging a gap the church no longer fills and that our leaders fear to address, writes Jonathan Freedland.

9. Clean up the police, Theresa - or forget about No.10 (Daily Mail)

May has a massive obstacle to overcome if she is to lead: the catastrophic crisis of confidence in the police, for whom she is ultimately responsible, says Simon Heffer.

10. Prince Charles at 65: A modern man of undimmed energy ready to be king (Telegraph)

As the Prince of Wales approaches his 65th birthday, he has made a success of his current, unique role, and that bodes well for his next, argues Charles Moore.

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Theresa May’s stage-managed election campaign keeps the public at bay

Jeremy Corbyn’s approach may be chaotic, but at least it’s more authentic.

The worst part about running an election campaign for a politician? Having to meet the general public. Those ordinary folk can be a tricky lot, with their lack of regard for being on-message, and their pesky real-life concerns.

But it looks like Theresa May has decided to avoid this inconvenience altogether during this snap general election campaign, as it turns out her visit to Leeds last night was so stage-managed that she barely had to face the public.

Accusations have been whizzing around online that at a campaign event at the Shine building in Leeds, the Prime Minister spoke to a room full of guests invited by the party, rather than local people or people who work in the building’s office space.

The Telegraph’s Chris Hope tweeted a picture of the room in which May was addressing her audience yesterday evening a little before 7pm. He pointed out that, being in Leeds, she was in “Labour territory”:

But a few locals who spied this picture online claimed that the audience did not look like who you’d expect to see congregated at Shine – a grade II-listed Victorian school that has been renovated into a community project housing office space and meeting rooms.

“Ask why she didn’t meet any of the people at the business who work in that beautiful building. Everyone there was an invite-only Tory,” tweeted Rik Kendell, a Leeds-based developer and designer who says he works in the Shine building. “She didn’t arrive until we’d all left for the day. Everyone in the building past 6pm was invite-only . . . They seemed to seek out the most clinical corner for their PR photos. Such a beautiful building to work in.”

Other tweeters also found the snapshot jarring:

Shine’s founders have pointed out that they didn’t host or invite Theresa May – rather the party hired out the space for a private event: “All visitors pay for meeting space in Shine and we do not seek out, bid for, or otherwise host any political parties,” wrote managing director Dawn O'Keefe. The guestlist was not down to Shine, but to the Tory party.

The audience consisted of journalists and around 150 Tory activists, according to the Guardian. This was instead of employees from the 16 offices housed in the building. I have asked the Conservative Party for clarification of who was in the audience and whether it was invite-only and am awaiting its response.

Jeremy Corbyn accused May of “hiding from the public”, and local Labour MP Richard Burgon commented that, “like a medieval monarch, she simply briefly relocated her travelling court of admirers to town and then moved on without so much as a nod to the people she considers to be her lowly subjects”.

But it doesn’t look like the Tories’ painstaking stage-management is a fool-proof plan. Having uniform audiences of the party faithful on the campaign trail seems to be confusing the Prime Minister somewhat. During a visit to a (rather sparsely populated) factory in Clay Cross, Derbyshire, yesterday, she appeared to forget where exactly on the campaign trail she was:

The management of Corbyn’s campaign has also resulted in gaffes – but for opposite reasons. A slightly more chaotic approach has led to him facing the wrong way, with his back to the cameras.

Corbyn’s blunder is born out of his instinct to address the crowd rather than the cameras – May’s problem is the other way round. Both, however, seem far more comfortable talking to the party faithful, even if they are venturing out of safe seat territory.

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.

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