Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Does Labour have the appetite to support the Casserole Club? (Daily Telegraph)

A radical plan to reshape the state and hand power and money to local authorities is proving controversial in the shadow cabinet, writes Mary Riddell. 

2. The long, withdrawing roar of trade unionism (Times)

Once a power in the land the union movement still dominates the public sector, writes Daniel Finkelstein. But for how much longer?

3. If robots divide us, they will conquer (Financial Times)

The rise of intelligent technologies may cost us dear – unless we understand the dangers, says Martin Wolf.

4. Labour and the unions: two cheers for democracy (Guardian)

Mr Miliband's plan goes a long way in the right direction, but some of the details remain muddy, says a Guardian editorial.

5. Get off the Speaker’s back. He deserves a much better press (Times)

His work has done much to restore the status of the Commons, says Tim Montgomerie.

6. Pakistan's future is tied to the Taliban (Guardian)

With the impending withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, the time has come to talk – despite the horrific wave of bombings, says Tariq Ali.

7. Independence can revive Scotland (Financial Times)

A Yes vote offers Scots the chance to emulate their Victorian forebears, writes Michael Fry.

8. There are very good reasons a foetus cannot be a victim of crime (Guardian)

Criminalising women who drink while pregnant would set a profoundly dangerous legal precedent, writes Zoe Williams. Support for the idea is driven by wild overestimates of foetal alcohol syndrome.

9. Russia doesn’t seem to care that it has had to spend stupid money in order to host the Winter Olympics. Maybe it should (Independent)

The Games are stunningly, ludicrously, absurdly expensive, writes Hamish McRae. To take a round figure they look like costing $50bn.

10. Why the NHS is crossing the Rubicon (Daily Telegraph)

The 'Francis effect’ following the scandal of bad treatment at Stafford Hospital is leading to more nurses, less box-ticking, and greater transparency, says Jeremy Hunt.

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Tony Blair won't endorse the Labour leader - Jeremy Corbyn's fans are celebrating

The thrice-elected Prime Minister is no fan of the new Labour leader. 

Labour heavyweights usually support each other - at least in public. But the former Prime Minister Tony Blair couldn't bring himself to do so when asked on Sky News.

He dodged the question of whether the current Labour leader was the best person to lead the country, instead urging voters not to give Theresa May a "blank cheque". 

If this seems shocking, it's worth remembering that Corbyn refused to say whether he would pick "Trotskyism or Blairism" during the Labour leadership campaign. Corbyn was after all behind the Stop the War Coalition, which opposed Blair's decision to join the invasion of Iraq. 

For some Corbyn supporters, it seems that there couldn't be a greater boon than the thrice-elected PM witholding his endorsement in a critical general election. 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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