Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Now it’s David Cameron’s turn to display his one-nation credentials (Daily Telegraph)

It’s a simple choice for the Tories: face defeat or rekindle the high hopes of two years ago, says Peter Oborne.

2. Miliband and Blair have more in common than those stuck in the past can allow (Guardian)

Like Eric Hobsbawn, Miliband and Blair recognise the Labour party has to transcend old failed labourism to win and govern, says Martin Kettle.

3. Innovation drives America’s reinvention (Financial Times)

From looking lost in telecoms and energy, the US has recovered and raced ahead of competition, writes John Gapper.

4. Savile’s time was different. We’ve grown up (Times) (£)

Today, rumours of sex with under-age girls bring instant investigation, writes David Aaronovitch. Forty years ago people looked the other way.

5. Maria Miller, the abortion limit and a case of ideology masquerading as science (Independent)

The minister should hold back on her lifestyle advice, says Mary Ann Sieghart.

6. Tweaking it all for the telly is infantilising our party conferences (Guardian)

The accent is on clarity, repetition and brevity; delegates are reduced to meat, writes Zoe Williams. There hardly seems room for politics.

7. Whitehall's West Coast railway disaster (Daily Telegraph)

Ministers and mandarins must work together to avoid repeating the West Coast rail franchise fiasco, says Sue Cameron.

8. David Cameron has lost his chance to redefine the Tories (Guardian)

He has abandoned the vision of one-nation conservatism that so inspired me, and retoxified his party, says Philip Blond.

9. One nation? Hypocritical Red Ed is the most divisive Labour leader for decades (Daily Mail)

Miliband attempts to conceal his own privileged background, while stoking up the politics of envy, says Stephen Glover.

10. Demographics ignite China’s factory riots (Financial Times)

The country can no longer rely on an endless stream of pliant migrant workers, says David Pilling.

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Paul Nuttall is like his party: sad, desperate and finished

The party hope if they can survive until March 2019, they will grow strong off disillusionment with Brexit. They may not make it until then. 

It’s a measure of how far Ukip have fallen that while Theresa May faced a grilling over her social care U-Turn and Jeremy Corbyn was called to account over his past, the opening sections of Andrew Neill’s interview with Paul Nuttall was about the question of whether or not his party has a future.

The blunt truth is that Ukip faces a battering in this election. They will be blown away in the seats they have put up a candidate in and have pre-emptively retreated from numerous contests across the country.

A party whose leader in Wales once said that climate change was “ridiculous” is now the victim of climate change itself. With Britain heading out of the European Union and Theresa May in Downing Street, it’s difficult to work out what the pressing question in public life to which Ukip is the answer.

Their quest for relevance isn’t helped by Paul Nuttall, who at times tonight cast an unwittingly comic figure. Pressing his case for Ukip’s burka ban, he said earnestly: “For [CCTV] to work, you have to see people’s faces.” It was if he had intended to pick up Nigel Farage’s old dogwhistle and instead put a kazoo to his lips.

Remarks that are, written down, offensive, just carried a stench of desperation. Nuttall’s policy prescriptions – a noun, a verb, and the most rancid comment underneath a Mail article – came across as a cry for attention. Small wonder that senior figures in Ukip expect Nuttall to face a move on his position, though they also expect that he will see off any attempt to remove him from his crown.

But despite his poor performance, Ukip might not be dead yet. There was a gleam of strategy amid the froth from Nuttall in the party’s pledge to oppose any continuing payment to Brussels as part of the Brexit deal, something that May and Corbyn have yet to rule out.

If May does manage to make it back to Downing Street on 8 June, the gap between campaign rhetoric – we’ll have the best Brexit, France will pay for it – and government policy – we’ll pay a one-off bill and continuing contributions if need be – will be fertile territory for Ukip, if they can survive as a going concern politically and financially, until March 2019.

On tonight’s performance, they’ll need a better centre-forward than Paul Nuttall if they are to make it that far. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.

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