Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. As we ogle her shoes, Teflon Theresa eyes No 10 (Sunday Times) (£)

In Westminster’s unending quest for the next leader, fancies are turning towards the home secretary, says Adam Boulton.

2. Are you in a sham marriage? (Observer)

Border Agency officials ruined a wedding last week, but maybe we should all take their test, says Victoria Coren.

3. Could Chris Christie’s magic work for the Tories? (Sunday Telegraph)

Appealing to the blue-collar middle class does not come naturally to any party in Britain, says Janet Daley.

4. 66,000 girls mutilated - and we've let them do it (Mail on Sunday)

FGM has been banned here, in theory, since 1985. But it goes on, says Rachel Johnson.

5. A comedian rants and politics looks fun. Now let the grown-ups talk (Sunday Times) (£)

It is not surprising that people think MPs are useless when they get into power, says Camilla Cavendish.

6. Ed Miliband has no answer to IDS the dragon-slayer (Sunday Telegraph)

There have been snarl-ups, but Iain Duncan Smith is undeterred – if welfare reform was easy, he’ll say, someone else would have done it by now, writes Bruce Anderson.

7. Which part of a woman's body will we be taught to despise next? (Observer)

Kate's grey hair is just the latest bit to come under scrutiny, says Barbara Ellen

8. Why Dave needs a 95% loan to keep his dream home (Mail on Sunday)

David Cameron will ‘channel’ Margaret Thatcher this week, says James Forsyth

9. Even a vote for Nick Clegg is better than not voting (Independent on Sunday)

Politicians tend to pay more attention to rich, older men such as Russell Brand or Jeremy Paxman, says John Rentoul.

10. Under the Tories we have become Fool Britannia as foreign countries cash in on our energy bills (Sunday Mirror)

Why not employ our redundant former shipyard workers to make wind turbines instead of sending the work abroad, asks John Prescott.

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A glossary of football’s most hackneyed phrases – and what they mean

This is the time of the season when we all get tired. Time to break out the cliches.

This is the time of the season when we all get tired. The players, poor petals, are exhausted. The refs have had enough of being shouted at. The hot-dog sellers are running out of hot dogs. And the TV commentators, bless ’em, are running out of clichés. So, between now and the end, look out for the following tired old phrases, well-worn adjectives and hackneyed descriptions, and do feel sorry for them. They know not what they are doing.

It will go right to the wire. In the case of the Prem, this isn’t even true. Leicester are as good as there. It is only true of the Championship, where three teams – Burnley, Middlesbrough and Brighton – are on 87 points each, with the fourth team miles away. Now that will go to the wire. The phrase comes from those pre-war reporters in the US who telegraphed their copy. When it didn’t get through, or they’d never filed it, being too lazy or too drunk, they would blame the technology and say, “It’s down to the wire.”

Dead men walking. This is when the pundits decide to hold a seance in the studio, taking advantage of Alan Shearer having sent us all to sleep. It also refers to Pellegrini of Man City and Hiddink of Chelsea. They have known for ages they’re dead parrots, not long for this life, with their successors lined up even while their bodies are still warm. I think a moment of silence is called for. “Dead men walking” refers only to football. Must not be used in connection with other activities, such as media. When someone is sacked on a newspaper, they immediately get sent home on gardening leave, just in case they manage to introduce a spot of subversion into the classified ads, such as: “Five underpants carefully kept; make up; red dungarees; offers considered, Kent.” (The first letters of each word give it away, tee hee.)

World class. The number-one phrase when they can’t think of any other synonyms for what was quite good. As well as goals, you now hear of world-class throw-ins, world-class goal kicks, world-class haircuts
and world-class pies in the press room at half-time, yum yum.

He’s got a hell of a left peg. That’s because he borrowed it from his mam when she was hanging out the washing.

He’s got it in his locker. The fool. Why did he leave his left peg there? No wonder he keeps falling over.

And the sub is stripped off, ready to come on. So it’s naked football now, is it?

Old-fashioned defending. There’s a whole lexicon to describe brutal tackles in which the defender kicks someone up in the air, straight to A&E.

Doing the dirty work/putting himself about/an agricultural tackle/left his calling card. Alternative clichés that every commentator has in his locker for when yet another world-class, manic, nasty, desperate physical assault is committed by a player at Sunderland, Newcastle and Norwich, currently scared shitless about going down and losing their three Bentleys.

Opened up his body. This is when an operation takes place on the field, such as open-heart surgery, to work out whether any Aston Villa player has got one. OK – it is, in fact, one of the weary commentator’s nicer compliments. He can’t actually describe what the striker did, as it was so quick, so clever, and he totally missed it, but he must have done something with his body, surely. Which isn’t even correct, either. You shoot with your feet.

Very much so. This is a period phrase, as popularised by Sir Alf Ramsey. He got it into his head he must talk proper, sound solemn, or at least like a trade union leader of the times, so instead of saying “yes” he would say “very much so”. It’s having a comeback. Listen to Glen Hoddle – I guarantee that between now and the end of the season he’ll say it ten times, whenever someone has interrupted and he wants to get back to the aperçu he was about to share with us.

Most unpredictable Premier season ever. Or so Sky is telling us, on the hour, meaning “since last season”, which was the most unpredictable one since, er, the season before that.

Hunter Davies is a journalist, broadcaster and profilic author perhaps best known for writing about the Beatles. He is an ardent Tottenham fan and writes a regular column on football for the New Statesman.

This article first appeared in the 28 April 2016 issue of the New Statesman, The new fascism