CommentPlus: pick of the papers

The ten must read pieces from the Sunday papers.

1. David Cameron's ambivalent relationship with the lady in blue (Observer)

The prime minister thinks he can be as radical as Margaret Thatcher without being as divisive, says Andrew Rawnsley. That won't be easy.

2. The row over child benefit obscures the radicalism of David Cameron's plans (Sunday Telegraph)

Matthew d'Ancona argues that we should ignore the self-interest of the rich, and focus on the true importance of David Cameron's plans.

3. It's not the unfairness you mind. It's the money (Sunday Times) (£)

Yes, the child benefit cuts are unequal, says Matthew Parris, but what are you really cross about? Or would it seem too selfish to say?

4. A power play to match Blair v Brown (Independent on Sunday)

Having alienated three key figures in his party, the new Labour leader will need every ounce of authority he can muster, says John Rentoul.

5. Vince Cable must be bold and break Murdoch's stranglehold (Observer)

Henry Porter warns that unless the business secretary intervenes, the merger of BSkyB with News International could further threaten the wellbeing of British media.

6. In it together? Not if you're above money (Sunday Times) (£)

It's not easy to tell if you're rich, says Janice Turner. But if you can buy your way out of trouble, you're not sharing the nation's pain.

7. The Conservatives' child benefit plans sent precisely the wrong signal (Sunday Telegraph)

The concept of fairness is not being applied to the middle classes, argues Janet Daley. The child benefit change shows that the Tories are swallowing the left's definition of fairness.

8. It's time the army relieved the police of their guns (Independent on Sunday)

Crispin Black argues that we should seriously consider transferring responsibility for all armed operations except basic bodyguarding to the army before it is too late.

9. Prophet with Honour (Sunday Times)

The Nobel Peace Prize this year was a good choice, says the leading article. Awarding Liu Xiaobo directs attention to the struggle of a brave man.

10. Only a sadist would inflict Dryden on our schoolchildren (Observer)

Michael Gove's plan to put the literary 'greats' back in our schools shows how far out of step he truly is, says Catherine Bennett.

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Why it's far too early to declare Ukip dead

The party could yet thrive if Brexit disappoints those who voted Leave.

"Nothing except a battle lost can be half as melancholy as a battle won," wrote the Duke of Wellington after Waterloo. Ukip can testify to this. Since achieving its founding aim - a British vote to leave the EU - the party has descended into a rolling crisis.

Theresa May's vow to pursue Brexit, and to achieve control of immigration, robbed Ukip of its political distinctiveness. But the party's greatest enemy has been itself. Its leader Paul Nuttall did not merely lose the Stoke by-election (despite the city recording the highest Leave vote), he self-destructed in the process. Contrary to his assertions, Nuttall did not achieve a PhD, was never a professional footballer and did not lose "close personal friends" at Hillsborough. Ukip's deputy Peter Whittle pleaded last weekend that voters needed more time to get to know Nuttall. No, the problem was that they got to know him all too well. A mere three months after becoming leader, Nuttall has endured a level of mockery from which far stronger men would struggle to recover (and he may soon be relieved of the task).

Since then, Ukip's millionaire sugar daddy Arron Banks has threatened to leave the party unless he is made chairman and Nigel Farage is awarded a new role (seemingly that of de facto leader). For good measure, Farage (a man who has failed seven times to enter parliament) has demanded that Ukip's only MP Douglas Carswell is expelled for the crime of failing to aid his knighthood bid. Not wanting to be outdone, Banks has vowed to stand against Carswell at the next election if the dissenter is not purged. Any suggestion that the party's bloodlust was sated by the flooring of Steve Woolfe and Diane James's 18-day leadership has been entirely dispelled.

For all this, it is too early to pronounce Ukip's death (as many have). Despite May's ascension and its myriad woes, it has maintained an average poll rating of 12 per cent this year. This is far from its 2014 zenith, when it polled as high as 25 per cent, but also far from irrelevancy. Incapable of winning Labour seats itself, Ukip could yet gift them to the Conservatives by attracting anti-Tory, anti-Corbyn voters (in marginals, the margins matter).

Though Theresa May appears invulnerable, Brexit could provide fertile political territory for Ukip. Those who voted Leave in the hope of a radical reduction in immigration will likely be dismayed if only a moderate fall results. Cabinet ministers who boasted during the referendum of their desire to reduce immigration have already been forced to concede that newcomers will be required to fill vacancies for years to come. Ukip will be the natural vehicle for those aggrieved by Brexit "betrayal". Some Leave voters are already dismayed by the slowness of the process (questioning why withdrawal wasn't triggered immediately) and will revolt at the "transitional period" and budget contributions now regarded as inevitable.

The declarations of Ukip's death by both conservatives and liberals have all the hallmarks of wishful thinking. Even if the party collapses in its present form, something comparable to it would emerge. Indeed, the complacency of its opponents could provide the very conditions it needs to thrive.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.