Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Leveson inquiry: in search of a smoking gun (Guardian)

Lord Justice Leveson could soon discover why David Cameron failed to give Andy Coulson full security vetting, says Ian Katz.

2. Too clever by half just isn’t clever enough (Times) (£)

Rachel Sylvester writes that the coalition is in danger of failing the "hang on a minute" test. Voters want common sense, not smart wheezes.

3. Ed’s got talent, but he has to win over the toughest crowd of all (Daily Telegraph)

The electorate needs more than a Labour love-in if it is to trust the party with power, says Mary Riddell.

4. Greece’s exit may become the euro’s envy (Financial Times)

History shows that there is life after financial crises, writes Arvind Subramanian.

5. Never take your foot off the reform pedal (Times) (£)

Filling the MoD black hole meant fighting inertia and a culture of resistance, says Liam Fox. It worked.

6. Moral decay? Family life's the best it's been for 1,000 years (Guardian)

George Monbiot says that Conservatives' concerns about marriage seem to be based on a past that is fabricated from their own anxieties and obsessions.

7. One bullseye cannot rescue Obama’s global record (Financial Times)

The US president’s real problem is that he has over-promised and under-delivered, says Gideon Rachman.

8. It’s bullying, Mitt. How can you not recall it? (Times) (£)

You’re a perpetrator, a victim or a bystander. Ben Macintyre says that the playground incident tells us much about the presidential hopeful.

9. Clegg and Cameron's cruellest day (Guardian)

From business to the disabled, Polly Toynbee says that Monday was special even for a cabinet whose dogmatic bungling is unrivalled in modern Britain.

10. What to expect from François Hollande (Financial Times)

The new French president has a clear three-point economic strategy, writes Philippe Aghion.



Ukip's Nigel Farage and Paul Nuttall. Photo: Getty
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Is the general election 2017 the end of Ukip?

Ukip led the way to Brexit, but now the party is on less than 10 per cent in the polls. 

Ukip could be finished. Ukip has only ever had two MPs, but it held an outside influence on politics: without it, we’d probably never have had the EU referendum. But Brexit has turned Ukip into a single-issue party without an issue. Ukip’s sole remaining MP, Douglas Carswell, left the party in March 2017, and told Sky News’ Adam Boulton that there was “no point” to the party anymore. 

Not everyone in Ukip has given up, though: Nigel Farage told Peston on Sunday that Ukip “will survive”, and current leader Paul Nuttall will be contesting a seat this year. But Ukip is standing in fewer constituencies than last time thanks to a shortage of both money and people. Who benefits if Ukip is finished? It’s likely to be the Tories. 

Is Ukip finished? 

What are Ukip's poll ratings?

Ukip’s poll ratings peaked in June 2016 at 16 per cent. Since the leave campaign’s success, that has steadily declined so that Ukip is going into the 2017 general election on 4 per cent, according to the latest polls. If the polls can be trusted, that’s a serious collapse.

Can Ukip get anymore MPs?

In the 2015 general election Ukip contested nearly every seat and got 13 per cent of the vote, making it the third biggest party (although is only returned one MP). Now Ukip is reportedly struggling to find candidates and could stand in as few as 100 seats. Ukip leader Paul Nuttall will stand in Boston and Skegness, but both ex-leader Nigel Farage and donor Arron Banks have ruled themselves out of running this time.

How many members does Ukip have?

Ukip’s membership declined from 45,994 at the 2015 general election to 39,000 in 2016. That’s a worrying sign for any political party, which relies on grassroots memberships to put in the campaigning legwork.

What does Ukip's decline mean for Labour and the Conservatives? 

The rise of Ukip took votes from both the Conservatives and Labour, with a nationalist message that appealed to disaffected voters from both right and left. But the decline of Ukip only seems to be helping the Conservatives. Stephen Bush has written about how in Wales voting Ukip seems to have been a gateway drug for traditional Labour voters who are now backing the mainstream right; so the voters Ukip took from the Conservatives are reverting to the Conservatives, and the ones they took from Labour are transferring to the Conservatives too.

Ukip might be finished as an electoral force, but its influence on the rest of British politics will be felt for many years yet. 

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