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Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Smart Alex Salmond has had a nasty run-in with reality (Daily Telegraph)

The latest assault from London on keeping the pound and Brussels on joining the EU has left the SNP leader bruised and battered, writes Alan Cochrane. 

2. With seven months to go to the Scottish referendum, the scaremongering has begun (Guardian)

It is simply not true that an independent Scotland would get no place in the EU or a currency union, says Angus Roxburgh. We need facts not scare tactics.

3. Clegg may be batting his eyelashes at Labour, but he won't turn a cold shoulder on the Tories (Independent)

The key issue in any future negotiations for a coalition is the precise context in which they take place, not Clegg’s politics, writes Steve Richards. 

4. How we ended up paying farmers to flood our homes (Guardian)

This government let the farming lobby rip up the rulebook on soil protection – and now we are suffering the consequences, says George Monbiot.

5. The storms reveal how little governments can do (Financial Times)

We have come to see the state as omnipotent in the face of any problem, writes Janan Ganesh. 

6. Cameron's student visa policy is a disastrous own goal (Guardian)

The prime minister's careless immigration pledge is putting off some of our brightest visitors – and damaging Britain, says Timothy Garton Ash.

7. Scotland can be a model for how to split (Financial Times)

There are remarkably few examples of nations breaking up in a civilised way, writes Gideon Rachman. 

8. Salmond’s case for keeping sterling is bluster and abuse (Times)

By the SNP’s logic Britain should adopt the dollar, writes John McTernan. 

9. Fashion is one of the most hyper-capitalist businesses (Guardian)

Haute couture is one of the very few businesses allowed to present itself as not being wholly about commerce, but the facts say otherwise, writes Aditya Chakrabortty.

10. Clegg’s Dangerous Shift (Times)

In his attempt to woo the left, the Deputy Prime Minister risks losing voters in southern and rural constituencies, says a Times editorial. 

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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.