Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. The real lessons of the crisis (Financial Times)

The real work that needs to be done is finding ways to recover lost output and productivity, says Martin Wolf. 

2. How Britain made it through the year of living dangerously (Daily Telegraph)

From crime to jobs to the rise of the far right, the prophets of doom have been confounded, says Fraser Nelson. 

3. Charity is a fine thing, but it can't justify the wealth of the 1% (Guardian)

The rich pretend the option is the status quo or outright communism, writes Polly Toynbee. But giving is no excuse for gross inequality.

4. Obama's NSA review gives the lie to Britain's timid platitudes: a debate is possible (Guardian)

In the US, the official response to Snowden's revelations celebrates journalism and calls for real change, writes Alan Rusbridger. In Britain, the picture has been rather different.

5. A good year for Putin but bad for Russia (Financial Times)

Pardoning Khodorkovsky was the act of someone who pretends his nation is still the equal of the US, writes Philip Stephens.

6. A History Boys education is not for everyone (Times)

The real problem for our schools is helping the majority who are left untouched by academic selection, says Philip Collins. 

7. The Lib Dems send in a big beast, but don’t expect carnage (Daily Telegraph)

Even staying distinctively Lib Dem is no guarantee that a junior minister can make an enormous impression, writes Isabel Hardman. 

8. Lee Rigby murder: What do we mean by ‘radicalisation’? (Independent)

After the conviction of Rigby's killers, it’s a term we need to apply carefully, writes Mary Dejevsky. 

9. A History Boys education is not for everyone (Times)

The real problem for our schools is helping the majority who are left untouched by academic selection, says Philip Collins. 

10. The EU is in denial over its failed currency (Daily Telegraph)

While Britain and the US kickstart their economic recovery, Europe clings to its sinking ship, says Jeremy Warner. 

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Leave campaigners are doing down Britain's influence in Europe

As the third biggest country, Britain has huge clout in the EU.

Last week the Leave campaign's Priti Patel took to the airwaves to bang on about the perils of EU regulation, claiming it is doing untold damage to small businesses in the UK. Let's put aside for one minute the fact that eight in ten small firms actually want to stay in the EU because of the huge benefits it brings in terms of trade and investment. Or the fact that the EU has cut red tape by around a quarter in recent years and is committed to doing more. Because the really startling thing Patel said was that these rules come to us "without the British government having a say." That might be forgivable coming from an obscure backbencher or UKIP activist. But as a government minister, Priti Patel knows full well that the UK has a major influence over all EU legislation. Indeed, she sits round the table when EU laws are being agreed.

Don't take it from me, take it from Patel herself. Last August, in an official letter to the House of Lords on upcoming EU employment legislation, the minister boasted she had "worked closely with MEPs to influence the proposal and successfully protected and advanced our interests." And just a few months ago in February she told MPs that the government is engaging in EU negotiations "to ensure that the proposals reflect UK priorities." So either she's been duping the Parliament by exaggerating how much influence she has in Brussels. Or, as is perhaps more likely, she's trying to pull the wool over the British people's eyes and perpetuate a favourite myth of the eurosceptics: that the UK has no say over EU rules.

As the third biggest country, Britain has huge clout in Europe. We have the most votes in the EU Council alongside France, Germany and Italy, where we are on the winning side 87 per cent of the time. The UK also has a tenth of all MEPs and the chairs of three influential European Parliament committees (although admittedly UKIP and Tory sceptics do their best to turn their belief the UK has no influence in Europe into a self-fulfilling prophecy). UKIP MEPs aside, the Brits are widely respected by European counterparts for their common sense and expertise in areas like diplomacy, finance and defence. And to the horror of the French, it is English that has become the accepted lingua franca in the corridors of power in Brussels.

So it's no surprise that the UK has been the driving force behind some of the biggest developments in Europe in recent decades, including the creation of the single market and the enlargement of the EU to Eastern Europe. The UK has also led the way on scrapping mobile roaming charges from next year, and is now setting the agenda on EU proposals that will make it easier to trade online and to access online streaming services like BBC iPlayer or Netflix when travelling abroad. The irony is that the Europe of today which Eurosceptics love to hate is very much a British creation.

The Leave campaign like to deride anyone who warns of the risks of leaving the EU as "talking down Britain." But by denying the obvious, that the UK has a major role in shaping EU decisions, they are the ones guilty of doing our country down. It's time we stood up to their defeatist narrative and made the case for Britain's role in Europe. I am a proud patriot who wants the best for my country, and that is why like many I will be passionately making the case to remain in the EU. Now is not the time to leave, it's time to lead.