Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Ed Miliband has a cunning plan: win power and then give it away (Daily Telegraph)

With big spending cuts inevitable after the next election, Labour’s new localism makes economic sense, says Mary Riddell. 

2. Aid money can’t work magic here – but it can overseas (Times)

More should be spent on flood management schemes in Britain, but don’t take it from the aid budget, says Tim Montgomerie. 

3. Enslave the robots and free the poor (Financial Times)

The prospect of far better lives depends on how the gains are produced and distributed, writes Martin Wolf. 

4. For devolution to work, we need talent outside London (Independent)

A century ago, civic leaders in cities and towns outside London had a power, influence and prestige comparable to the government in Westminster, writes Oliver Wright. 

5. Floods happen sometimes: the blame game is for show (Guardian)

Cameron may have rushed to the rescue, writes Simon Jenkins. But the truth is the government cannot insulate us from every evil under the sun.

6. Britain shouldn’t copy the xenophobic Swiss (Times)

The EU reaction to the immigration vote may indicate how much UK renegotiation is possible, writes Roger Boyes. 

7. The floods: coping strategy (Guardian)

David Cameron was keen to show he was a Gerhard Schröder and not a George W Bush, says a Guardian editorial. 

8. A fall guy for the floods comes out fighting (Daily Telegraph)

Lord Smith and the Environment Agency have been unfairly hung out to dry, says Geoffrey Lean. 

9. Smoking in cars: the hidden agenda behind the ban (Guardian)

The MPs who can't bear to see children in smoky cars but are unmoved by their poverty are simply demonising poor parents, says Zoe Williams. 

10. Political appointments require honesty (Financial Times)

Without robust safeguards, our institutions could be weakened, writes Patrick Diamond.

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There are two sides to the Muslim segregation story

White families must also be prepared to have Muslim neighbours. 

Dame Louise Casey finally published her review on social integration in Britain. Although it mentions all communities, there is a clear focus on Muslim communities. However, the issues she raises - religious conservatism, segregation in some areas and Muslim women experiencing inequalities -  are not new. In this case, they have been placed in one report and discussed in the context of hindering integration. If we are truly committed to addressing these issues, though, we have a duty of care to discuss the findings with nuance, not take them out of context, as some tabloids have already done.

The review, for example, highlights that in some areas Muslims make up 85 per cent of the local population. This should not be interpreted to mean that Muslims are choosing to isolate themselves and not integrate. For a start, the review makes it clear that there are also certain areas in Britain that are predominantly Sikh, Hindu or Jewish.

Secondly, when migrants arrive in the UK, it is not unreasonable for them to gravitate towards people from similar cultural and faith backgrounds.  Later, they may choose to remain in these same areas due to convenience, such as being able to buy their own food, accessing their place of worship or being near elderly relatives.

However, very little, if any, attention is given to the role played by white families in creating segregated communities. These families moved out of such areas after the arrival of ethnic minorities. This isn't necessarily due to racism, but because such families are able to afford to move up the housing ladder. And when they do move, perhaps they feel more comfortable living with people of a similar background to themselves. Again, this is understandable, but it highlights that segregation is a two-way street. Such a phenomenon cannot be prevented or reversed unless white families are also willing to have Muslim neighbours. Is the government also prepared to have these difficult conversations?

Casey also mentions inequalities that are holding some Muslim women back, inequalities driven by misogyny, cultural abuses, not being able to speak English and the high numbers of Muslim women who are economically inactive. It’s true that the English language is a strong enabler of integration. It can help women engage better with their children, have access to services and the jobs market, and be better informed about their rights.

Nevertheless, we should remember that first-generation Pakistani and Bangladeshi women, who could not speak English, have proved perfectly able to bring up children now employed in a vast range of professions including politics, medicine, and the law. The cultural abuses mentioned in the review such as forced marriage, honour-based violence and female genital mutilation, are already being tackled by government. It would be more valuable to see the government challenge the hate crimes and discrimination regularly faced by Muslim women when trying to access public services and the jobs market. 

The review recommends an "Oath of Integration with British Values and Society" for immigrants on arrival. This raises the perennial question of what "British Values" are. The Casey review uses the list from the government’s counter-extremism strategy. In reality, the vast majority of individuals, regardless of faith or ethnic background, would agree to sign up to them.  The key challenge for any integration strategy is to persuade all groups to practice these values every day, rather than just getting immigrants to read them out once. 

Shaista Gohir is the chair of Muslim Women's Network UK, and Sophie Garner is the general secretary and a barrister.