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Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. This is no recovery, this is a bubble – and it will burst (Guardian)

With policymakers unwilling to introduce tough regulation, we're heading for trouble, says Ha-Joon Chang. 

2. A battle over Ukraine can be avoided (Financial Times)

To stop the country being torn apart its fate must be decided by the Ukrainian people, writes Gideon Rachman. 

3. Mrs Merkel can’t give Cameron what he needs (Times)

Germany’s Chancellor lacks the political freedom to agree the kind of renegotiation Tory Eurosceptics hunger for, says Rachel Sylvester.

4. Why are Eurosceptics still so gloomy? (Independent)

Those who insisted Britain must not join the euro have achieved all that they wanted, writes Steve Richards.

5.  David Cameron’s election gamble could electrify British politics (Daily Telegraph)

A "no deals" promise would be a rallying cry to the right, says Benedict Brogan. 

6. Dear Rebecca Adlington, they're the ugly ones (Guardian)

This is my message to the best British swimmer of her generation, writes Laurie Penny. If you've had a "nose shrink", it's OK. I've got your back.

7. Cameron must not dampen this Eurosceptic momentum (Guardian)

 If Alternative für Deutschland wants to join the Tories in Europe, it should be allowed to, no matter what Merkel thinks, says Paul Goodman. 

8. We misjudge Merkel’s vim for EU reform (Financial Times)

The real error is to overrate her capacity to deliver change, even if she wanted it, says Janan Ganesh. 

9. Salmond has to answer some serious questions (Daily Telegraph)

Scotland's First Minister is uncomfortable confronting certain policy areas, but they need to be addressed, says a Telegraph editorial. 

10. Piers Morgan did gun control more harm than good (Times)

In the US, weapons co-exist with a peacefulness that puts Britain to shame, says Justin Webb. 

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The SNP thinks it knows how to kill hard Brexit

The Supreme Court ruled MPs must have a say in triggering Article 50. But the opposition must unite to succeed. 

For a few minutes on Tuesday morning, the crowd in the Supreme Court listened as the verdict was read out. Parliament must have the right to authorise the triggering of Article 50. The devolved nations would not get a veto. 

There was a moment of silence. And then the opponents of hard Brexit hit the phones. 

For the Scottish government, the pro-Remain members of the Welsh Assembly and Sinn Féin in Northern Ireland, the victory was bittersweet. 

The ruling prompted Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, to ask: “Is it better that we take our future into our own hands?”

Ever the pragmatist, though, Sturgeon has simultaneously released her Westminster attack dogs. 

Within minutes of the ruling, the SNP had vowed to put forward 50 amendments (see what they did there) to UK government legislation before Article 50 is enacted. 

This includes the demand for a Brexit white paper – shared by MPs from all parties – to a clause designed to prevent the UK reverting to World Trade Organisation rules if a deal is not agreed. 

But with Labour planning to approve the triggering of Article 50, can the SNP cause havoc with the government’s plans, or will it simply be a chorus of disapproval in the rest of Parliament’s ear?

The SNP can expect some support. Individual SNP MPs have already successfully worked with Labour MPs on issues such as benefit cuts. Pro-Remain Labour backbenchers opposed to Article 50 will not rule out “holding hands with the devil to cross the bridge”, as one insider put it. The sole Green MP, Caroline Lucas, will consider backing SNP amendments she agrees with as well as tabling her own. 

But meanwhile, other opposition parties are seeking their own amendments. Jeremy Corbyn said Labour will seek amendments to stop the Conservatives turning the UK “into a bargain basement tax haven” and is demanding tariff-free access to the EU. 

Separately, the Liberal Democrats are seeking three main amendments – single market membership, rights for EU nationals and a referendum on the deal, which is a “red line”.

Meanwhile, pro-Remain Tory backbenchers are watching their leadership closely to decide how far to stray from the party line. 

But if the Article 50 ruling has woken Parliament up, the initial reaction has been chaotic rather than collaborative. Despite the Lib Dems’ position as the most UK-wide anti-Brexit voice, neither the SNP nor Labour managed to co-ordinate with them. 

Indeed, the Lib Dems look set to vote against Labour’s tariff-free amendment on the grounds it is not good enough, while expecting Labour to vote against their demand of membership of the single market. 

The question for all opposition parties is whether they can find enough amendments to agree on to force the government onto the defensive. Otherwise, this defeat for the government is hardly a defeat at all. 

 

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