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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An alternative Trainspotting script for John Humphrys’ Radio 4 “Choose Life” tribute

Born chippy.

Your mole often has Radio 4’s Today programme babbling away comfortingly in the background while emerging blinking from the burrow. So imagine its horror this morning, when the BBC decided to sully this listening experience with John Humphrys doing the “Choose Life” monologue from Trainspotting.

“I chose not to choose life: I chose something else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you’ve got Radio 4?” he concluded, as a nation cringed.

Introduced as someone who has “taken issue with modernity”, Humphrys launched into the film character Renton’s iconic rant against the banality of modern life.

But Humphrys’ role as in-studio curmudgeon is neither endearing nor amusing to this mole. Often tasked with stories about modern technology and digital culture by supposedly mischievous editors, Humphrys sounds increasingly cranky and ill-informed. It doesn’t exactly make for enlightening interviews. So your mole has tampered with the script. Here’s what he should have said:

“Choose life. Choose a job and then never retire, ever. Choose a career defined by growling and scoffing. Choose crashing the pips three mornings out of five. Choose a fucking long contract. Choose interrupting your co-hosts, politicians, religious leaders and children. Choose sitting across the desk from Justin Webb at 7.20 wondering what you’re doing with your life. Choose confusion about why Thought for the Day is still a thing. Choose hogging political interviews. Choose anxiety about whether Jim Naughtie’s departure means there’s dwindling demand for grouchy old men on flagship political radio shows. Choose a staunch commitment to misunderstanding stories about video games and emoji. Choose doing those stories anyway. Choose turning on the radio and wondering why the fuck you aren’t on on a Sunday morning as well. Choose sitting on that black leather chair hosting mind-numbing spirit-crushing game shows (Mastermind). Choose going over time at the end of it all, pishing your last few seconds on needlessly combative questions, nothing more than an obstacle to that day’s editors being credited. Choose your future. Choose life . . .”

I'm a mole, innit.