Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. The problem with unions is they're not strong enough (Guardian)

Trade unions are subject to hysterical abuse, but they are essential to democracy, equality and economic recovery, writes Seumas Milne.

2. Draghi alone cannot save the euro (Financial Times)

The ECB has done what it can and has won some time but the main challenge remains, says Martin Wolf.

3. Dastardly plots and stalking Borises – blame yourself, Dave (Daily Telegraph)

Much of the trouble is a by-product of the economic pain that could cost the Conservatives the next election, writes Benedict Brogan.

4. If Romney risks nothing he will win nothing (Times) (£)

The Republican challenger must channel the spirit of Teddy Roosevelt if he is to win over crucial swing voters, says Daniel Finkelstein.

5. We need a new mindset on mental health (Financial Times)

On pure investment grounds, we should do much more about our wellbeing and that of our children, says Richard Layard.

6. Hijacking Olympic glory for political gain is dangerous (Guardian)

I love sport, but the media's pop psychology and UK politicians' bellowing patriotism has cheapened the athletes' achievement, says Simon Jenkins.

7. Will they get justice at last? (Independent)

Nothing can undo the disgraceful cover-up of the Hillsborough disaster, says James Lawton.

8. Bigotry, insults and Nick Clegg's true agenda (Daily Mail)

In an unguarded moment of frankness, Nick Clegg has revealed his true feelings about opponents of gay marriage, says a Daily Mail editorial.

9. The Netherlands gets ready to turn left (Guardian)

But, unlike in France, this Dutch political shift won't mark a turning point against austerity measures, says Chris Aalberts.

10. Britain was free, but we Tories were done for (Daily Telegraph)

Exit from the ERM saw the party spiral into a cycle of reprisals that almost destroyed it, writes Daniel Hannan.


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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