Show Hide image

Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Ed Miliband will live or die on the altar of immigration (Daily Telegraph)

The Labour leader should resist the temptation to shift to the right to counter Ukip’s threat, says Mary Riddell. 

2. Cleanse Fifa of corruption by leaving it, not playing along (Guardian)

We've danced to Blatter's tune for too long, writes Simon Jenkins. Britain, the birthplace of football, should set up a rival body – if only we had the guts.

3. Cities make us happy: more power to them (Times)

If we want places such as Manchester and Cambridge to thrive, they need more control over their own destiny, says Daniel Finkelstein. 

4. The problem with hospitals (Independent)

If a few hospitals are in trouble financially, it’s their problem, writes Oliver Wright. But if lots of hospitals are...

5. Let's not savage Kirstie Allsopp for having a view on motherhood (Guardian)

Until we allow women the freedom that we give to men, they will continue to receive vitriol simply for speaking out, writes Zoe Williams.

6. A university education is priceless (Daily Telegraph)

It is impossible to put a value on eccentric dons, time-wasting and learning to think, says A. N. Wilson. 

7. US sets an example on climate change (Financial Times)

America’s measures to cut carbon emissions must lead to a global agreement, writes John Kerry.

8. The NHS: money matters (Guardian)

Talk of an existential crisis, repeated most recently by Labour veteran Frank Field, no longer looks alarmist, says a Guardian editorial. 

9. Bold reforms aid Mexico’s growth (Financial Times)

The spur has been big improvements in policy but also in governance, says Martin Wolf.

10. The odd couple who may just save the union (Times)

A peer and a kick-boxing Tory leader have plotted a middle way for Scots who want to vote No without feeling unpatriotic, writes Alice Thomson. 

Show Hide image

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.