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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Sadiq Khan gives Jeremy Corbyn's supporters a lesson on power

The London mayor doused the Labour conference with cold electoral truths. 

There was just one message that Sadiq Khan wanted Labour to take from his conference speech: we need to be “in power”. The party’s most senior elected politician hammered this theme as relentlessly as his “son of a bus driver” line. His obsessive emphasis on “power” (used 38 times) showed how far he fears his party is from office and how misguided he believes Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters are.

Khan arrived on stage to a presidential-style video lauding his mayoral victory (a privilege normally reserved for the leader). But rather than delivering a self-congratulatory speech, he doused the conference with cold electoral truths. With the biggest personal mandate of any British politician in history, he was uniquely placed to do so.

“Labour is not in power in the place that we can have the biggest impact on our country: in parliament,” he lamented. It was a stern rebuke to those who regard the street, rather than the ballot box, as the principal vehicle of change.

Corbyn was mentioned just once, as Khan, who endorsed Owen Smith, acknowledged that “the leadership of our party has now been decided” (“I congratulate Jeremy on his clear victory”). But he was a ghostly presence for the rest of the speech, with Khan declaring “Labour out of power will never ever be good enough”. Though Corbyn joined the standing ovation at the end, he sat motionless during several of the applause lines.

If Khan’s “power” message was the stick, his policy programme was the carrot. Only in office, he said, could Labour tackle the housing crisis, air pollution, gender inequality and hate crime. He spoke hopefully of "winning the mayoral elections next year in Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham", providing further models of campaigning success. 

Khan peroration was his most daring passage: “It’s time to put Labour back in power. It's time for a Labour government. A Labour Prime Minister in Downing Street. A Labour Cabinet. Labour values put into action.” The mayor has already stated that he does not believe Corbyn can fulfil this duty. The question left hanging was whether it would fall to Khan himself to answer the call. If, as he fears, Labour drifts ever further from power, his lustre will only grow.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.