Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. If trade unions don't fight the workers' corner - others will (Independent)

The political and media establishments treat unions as if they have no legitimate place in life, writes Owen Jones.

2. We are fighting Islamism from ignorance, as we did the cold war (Guardian)

The west wasted trillions in needless conflict with the USSR, says Simon Jenkins. Now we are being brainwashed into confrontation with Iran.

3. The 50p tax rate is a bomb that a brave Chancellor would defuse (Daily Telegraph)

A radical Budget from George Osborne will prevent an exodus of wealth from the UK, says Fraser Nelson.

4. Why reform of House of Lords is a botch (Financial Times)

Reform is likely to make the process of legislating more difficult and its quality even worse, warns Martin Wolf.

5. The no-fuss way to elect the House of Lords (Times) (£)

Here's how to make the Upper House more democratic without stuffing it full of third-rate party hacks, writes Philip Collins.

6. Tax credit cut will hit hardest those the Tories love to praise - working families (Guardian)

The government is hurting those trying to stay off the dole, while filling workplaces with free staff, writes Polly Toynbee. Voters should be shocked.

7. Is there really no alternative? Let Irish voters be the judge of that (Independent)

Solutions are being pushed on the basis of "no alternative", says Adrian Hamilton. Yet there are alternatives.

8. Pc David Rathband: where was the help he needed? (Daily Telegraph)

The support system is failing wounded police officers, writes Peter Stanford.

9. Even the lawyers oppose secret courts! (Daily Mail)

Ministers are attempting to undermine the treasured principle "that public justice should be dispensed in public", says a Daily Mail editorial.

10. UK must not sell off Wedgwood's legacy (Financial Times)

We must celebrate the Steve Jobs of his day, writes Richard Lambert.

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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