Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Nelson Mandela has been laid to rest – but his legacy must not be (Guardian)

The desire to remember Mandela as a brilliant individual who single-handedly guided the nation to democracy is understandable but not honest, says Gary Younge. 

2. Stagnation could be the new normal (Financial Times)

In the past decade, before the crisis, bubbles and loose credit were only sufficient to drive moderate growth, writes Larry Summers.

3. To survive, the Tories must throw the kitchen sink at Ed (Daily Telegraph)

Despite the return of economic growth, the party is stuck in a rut and is losing support, writes Iain Martin. 

4. Saudi Arabia and Iran must end their proxy war in Syria (Guardian)

Peace talks on Syria can't work without a compromise between the two Gulf powers driving the conflict, writes Fawaz Gerges. 

5. Nightmare of a necrocracy that refuses to die (Times)

While other regimes fall, a nuclear North Korea survives with unrelenting tyranny, writes Oliver Kamm.

6. Osborne has failed the very tests he set himself in 2010 – and we are poorer as a result (Independent)

GDP per capita is lower than it was when the coalition was formed, notes David Blanchflower.

7. Saudi Arabia and Iran must end their proxy war in Syria (Guardian)

Peace talks on Syria can't work without a compromise between the two Gulf powers driving the conflict, writes Fawaz Gerges. 

8. Ukraine would be enriched by real democracy (Daily Telegraph)

Poland and other East European countries that joined the EU have benefited hugely, says William Hague. 

9. The White House may soon light up again (Financial Times)

Obama now has the aid he needs to alter the political equation, writes Edward Luce.

10. The UK's civil service needs reform for government to work better (Guardian)

Civil service reform should matter to anyone who believes in effective government, writes Chris Huhne. If the state doesn't work, it can't deliver change.

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No, David Cameron’s speech was not “left wing”

Come on, guys.

There is a strange journalistic phenomenon that occurs when a party leader makes a speech. It is a blend of groupthink, relief, utter certainty, and online backslapping. It happened particularly quickly after David Cameron’s speech to Tory party conference today. A few pundits decided that – because he mentioned, like, diversity and social mobility – this was a centre-left speech. A leftwing speech, even. Or at least a clear grab for the liberal centre ground. And so that’s what everyone now believes. The analysis is decided. The commentary is written. Thank God for that.

Really? It’s quite easy, even as one of those nasty, wicked Tories, to mention that you actually don’t much like racism, and point out that you’d quite like poor children to get jobs, without moving onto Labour's "territory". Which normal person is in favour of discriminating against someone on the basis of race, or blocking opportunity on the basis of class? Of course he’s against that. He’s a politician operating in a liberal democracy. And this isn’t Ukip conference.

Looking at the whole package, it was actually quite a rightwing speech. It was a paean to defence – championing drones, protecting Britain from the evils of the world, and getting all excited about “launching the biggest aircraft carriers in our history”.

It was a festival of flagwaving guff about the British “character”, a celebration of shoehorning our history chronologically onto the curriculum, looking towards a “Greater Britain”, asking for more “national pride”. There was even a Bake Off pun.

He also deployed the illiberal device of inculcating a divide-and-rule fear of the “shadow of extremism – hanging over every single one of us”, informing us that children in UK madrassas are having their “heads filled with poison and their hearts filled with hate”, and saying Britain shouldn’t be “overwhelmed” with refugees, before quickly changing the subject to ousting Assad. How unashamedly centrist, of you, Mr Prime Minister.

Benefit cuts and a reduction of tax credits will mean the Prime Minister’s enthusiasm for “equality of opportunity, as opposed to equality of outcome” will be just that – with the outcome pretty bleak for those who end up losing any opportunity that comes with state support. And his excitement about diversity in his cabinet rings a little hollow the day following a tubthumping anti-immigration speech from his Home Secretary.

If this year's Tory conference wins the party votes, it’ll be because of its conservative commitment – not lefty love bombing.

Anoosh Chakelian is deputy web editor at the New Statesman.