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Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Miliband must aim to reduce inequality, not the size of your gas bill (Daily Telegraph)

Economist Thomas Piketty points the way for the Labour Party to win back votes from its traditional supporters, says Mary Riddell.  

2. Labour would put schools in local hands (Guardian)

The party's education policy would ensure local oversight of free schools and academies to drive up standards, says David Blunkett.

3. Only shock-and-awe sanctions will hurt Putin (Times)

War in Ukraine is growing closer, writes Roger Boyes. The west may have to accept the pain of lost business.

4. A vote for UKIP would be a vote for the very worst of Thatcherism (Daily Mirror)

There is only one party which truly understands the cost-of-living crisis, says Ed Miliband. 

5. David Cameron: intimations of political mortality (Guardian)

The prime minister's remarks on governing in a new hung parliament are a small sign of his wider political weakness, says a Guardian editorial. 

6. A ripple of hope in a stagnant world (Financial Times)

Excess supply and low interest rates go hand in hand and could put the recovery at risk, warns Martin Wolf. 

7. The rent racket: tenants are trapped in a game of Monopoly that won't end (Guardian

Private landlords enjoy an absurd level of power over tenants, writes Zoe Williams. Yet they reject even minimal regulation.

8. A huge UK-based company is the subject of a takeover by an even bigger US-based company. Should we be worried? (Independent)

If the Pfizer deal goes through, this isn't just yet another story of a British company selling out to a foreign one, writes Hamish McRae. It's about tax, too.

9. Cyril Smith and the ghost of politics future (Times)

The corrupt control of local institutions by a powerful celebrity politician could make a comeback in our times, says Daniel Finkelstein.

10. So why isn’t it racist when other parties talk about controlling immigration? (Independent)

The reason Labour is losing support to Ukip is because the working class have been hardest hit by Labour’s disastrous policies, says Nigel Farage. 

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Geoffrey Howe dies, aged 88

Howe was Margaret Thatcher's longest serving Cabinet minister – and the man credited with precipitating her downfall.

The former Conservative chancellor Lord Howe, a key figure in the Thatcher government, has died of a suspected heart attack, his family has said. He was 88.

Geoffrey Howe was the longest-serving member of Margaret Thatcher's Cabinet, playing a key role in both her government and her downfall. Born in Port Talbot in 1926, he began his career as a lawyer, and was first elected to parliament in 1964, but lost his seat just 18 months later.

Returning as MP for Reigate in the Conservative election victory of 1970, he served in the government of Edward Heath, first as Solicitor General for England & Wales, then as a Minister of State for Trade. When Margaret Thatcher became opposition leader in 1975, she named Howe as her shadow chancellor.

He retained this brief when the party returned to government in 1979. In the controversial budget of 1981, he outlined a radical monetarist programme, abandoning then-mainstream economic thinking by attempting to rapidly tackle the deficit at a time of recession and unemployment. Following the 1983 election, he was appointed as foreign secretary, in which post he negotiated the return of Hong Kong to China.

In 1989, Thatcher demoted Howe to the position of leader of the house and deputy prime minister. And on 1 November 1990, following disagreements over Britain's relationship with Europe, he resigned from the Cabinet altogether. 

Twelve days later, in a powerful speech explaining his resignation, he attacked the prime minister's attitude to Brussels, and called on his former colleagues to "consider their own response to the tragic conflict of loyalties with which I have myself wrestled for perhaps too long".

Labour Chancellor Denis Healey once described an attack from Howe as "like being savaged by a dead sheep" - but his resignation speech is widely credited for triggering the process that led to Thatcher's downfall. Nine days later, her premiership was over.

Howe retired from the Commons in 1992, and was made a life peer as Baron Howe of Aberavon. He later said that his resignation speech "was not intended as a challenge, it was intended as a way of summarising the importance of Europe". 

Nonetheless, he added: "I am sure that, without [Thatcher's] resignation, we would not have won the 1992 election... If there had been a Labour government from 1992 onwards, New Labour would never have been born."

Jonn Elledge is the editor of the New Statesman's sister site CityMetric. He is on Twitter, far too much, as @JonnElledge.