Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. It's a myth the generations are at war. We're all in this together (Guardian)

Instead of starting a proxy war pitting old voters against young, politicians should be creating whole-family policies, writes Jackie Ashley. 

2. Bridging the poverty gap calls for bold ideas (Daily Telegraph)

Raising the minimum wage will help the poor, but it is no substitute for free-market reform, argues Jeremy Warner.

3. Only trust can dampen this inflamed anger (Times)

Recruiting more black officers is the best way to bring calm to the combustible streets of Tottenham, writes Philip Collins. 

4. Tomorrow holds both risk and riches (Financial Times)

Pressures for conflict in a more disordered planet are there for all to see, writes Philip Stephens. 

5. Gangsterism, not racism, was the root of Duggan’s shooting (Daily Telegraph)

Too many children on council estates are being drawn into a life of crime because work does not pay, says Fraser Nelson. 

6. Winter Olympics: one day the worm will turn against these gods of sport (Guardian)

After Vladimir Putin, how many more leaders will risk their nation's security and economy for an IOC mega-event, asks Simon Jenkins.

7. The strange case of the 'influential’ board (Daily Telegraph)

It was remarkable that Nadhim Zahawi decided to attack the National Planning Policy Framework, says Isabel Hardman. 

8. Free politics from intellectual vacuum (Financial Times)

Conservatives and progressives have to learn from each other, writes Michael Ignatieff.

9. There's no sense in querying the Mark Duggan jury (Independent)

To accuse them of being illogical or stupid is to reject what a jury is for, says Mary Dejevsky.

10. The stench of a cover-up over Libya grows (Times)

The refusal to release a report into the killing of Yvonne Fletcher may be due to official embarrassment, says Ben Macintyre.

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Who will win the Copeland by-election?

Labour face a tricky task in holding onto the seat. 

What’s the Copeland by-election about? That’s the question that will decide who wins it.

The Conservatives want it to be about the nuclear industry, which is the seat’s biggest employer, and Jeremy Corbyn’s long history of opposition to nuclear power.

Labour want it to be about the difficulties of the NHS in Cumbria in general and the future of West Cumberland Hospital in particular.

Who’s winning? Neither party is confident of victory but both sides think it will be close. That Theresa May has visited is a sign of the confidence in Conservative headquarters that, win or lose, Labour will not increase its majority from the six-point lead it held over the Conservatives in May 2015. (It’s always more instructive to talk about vote share rather than raw numbers, in by-elections in particular.)

But her visit may have been counterproductive. Yes, she is the most popular politician in Britain according to all the polls, but in visiting she has added fuel to the fire of Labour’s message that the Conservatives are keeping an anxious eye on the outcome.

Labour strategists feared that “the oxygen” would come out of the campaign if May used her visit to offer a guarantee about West Cumberland Hospital. Instead, she refused to answer, merely hyping up the issue further.

The party is nervous that opposition to Corbyn is going to supress turnout among their voters, but on the Conservative side, there is considerable irritation that May’s visit has made their task harder, too.

Voters know the difference between a by-election and a general election and my hunch is that people will get they can have a free hit on the health question without risking the future of the nuclear factory. That Corbyn has U-Turned on nuclear power only helps.

I said last week that if I knew what the local paper would look like between now and then I would be able to call the outcome. Today the West Cumbria News & Star leads with Downing Street’s refusal to answer questions about West Cumberland Hospital. All the signs favour Labour. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.