Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. How Ed Miliband can harness the right's tactics to bring in a wave of left-wing populism in 2014 (Independent)

Simple messages must be repeated ad infinitum, hammered into the electorate’s skulls, says Owen Jones. 

2. What viral content does to news (Financial Times)

The fastest-growing forms of online ‘content’ are click-bait headlines and videos, writes John Gapper.

3. The prospect of the 2015 general election will reveal our parties' true colours (Guardian)

Labour's challenge is to build a spirit of optimism, while the Lib Dems will need to recast their collusion as restraint, says Zoe Williams. 

4. Miliband is a far worse leader than Kinnock (Times)

In 1992 Labour failed the voters’ trust test, writes Tim Montgomerie. Now it refuses to face the truth about its economic errors.

5. Scapegoating migrants for Britain's crisis will damage us all (Guardian)

The Tories and Ukip are vying to terrify the public about Romanians and Bulgarians, writes Seumas Milne. What's needed is protection at work and a crash housing programme.

6. Europe is slowly strangling the life out of national democracy (Daily Telegraph)

Decisions affecting the lives of voters are being taken by bureaucrats and unelected 'experts', says Peter Oborne. 

7. You’re wrong. But do you want to be told? (Times)

The wide gap between perception and reality is a challenge for those unwilling to pander to populism, says David Aaronovitch.  

8. It is Unionist cowardice that is largely to blame for the failure to reach an agreement in Northern Ireland (Independent)

If Unionists imagine that a show of obstinacy now will gain them a better deal on flags and parades in the long run, they are mistaken, says an Independent editorial. 

9. FTSE 100 at 30: A big hand for the Footsie (Daily Telegraph)

The launch of the FTSE 100 index 30 years ago signalled a new era for investors – creating great wealth as well as causing mayhem, writes Martin Vander Weyer. 

10. Abe could say sorry by shunning Yasukuni (Financial Times)

The sincerity of several leaders’ remorse for Japan’s past aggression is questioned, writes David Pilling. 

Show Hide image

It's Gary Lineker 1, the Sun 0

The football hero has found himself at the heart of a Twitter storm over the refugee children debate.

The Mole wonders what sort of topsy-turvy universe we now live in where Gary Lineker is suddenly being called a “political activist” by a Conservative MP? Our favourite big-eared football pundit has found himself in a war of words with the Sun newspaper after wading into the controversy over the age of the refugee children granted entry into Britain from Calais.

Pictures published earlier this week in the right-wing press prompted speculation over the migrants' “true age”, and a Tory MP even went as far as suggesting that these children should have their age verified by dental X-rays. All of which leaves your poor Mole with a deeply furrowed brow. But luckily the British Dental Association was on hand to condemn the idea as unethical, inaccurate and inappropriate. Phew. Thank God for dentists.

Back to old Big Ears, sorry, Saint Gary, who on Wednesday tweeted his outrage over the Murdoch-owned newspaper’s scaremongering coverage of the story. He smacked down the ex-English Defence League leader, Tommy Robinson, in a single tweet, calling him a “racist idiot”, and went on to defend his right to express his opinions freely on his feed.

The Sun hit back in traditional form, calling for Lineker to be ousted from his job as host of the BBC’s Match of the Day. The headline they chose? “Out on his ears”, of course, referring to the sporting hero’s most notable assets. In the article, the tabloid lays into Lineker, branding him a “leftie luvvie” and “jug-eared”. The article attacked him for describing those querying the age of the young migrants as “hideously racist” and suggested he had breached BBC guidelines on impartiality.

All of which has prompted calls for a boycott of the Sun and an outpouring of support for Lineker on Twitter. His fellow football hero Stan Collymore waded in, tweeting that he was on “Team Lineker”. Leading the charge against the Murdoch-owned title was the close ally of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and former Channel 4 News economics editor, Paul Mason, who tweeted:

Lineker, who is not accustomed to finding himself at the centre of such highly politicised arguments on social media, responded with typical good humour, saying he had received a bit of a “spanking”.

All of which leaves the Mole with renewed respect for Lineker and an uncharacteristic desire to watch this weekend’s Match of the Day to see if any trace of his new activist persona might surface.


I'm a mole, innit.