Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

  1. How can the Tories end their family feud with Ukip? (Guardian)
    Insulting Nigel Farage won't work, but David Cameron shouldn't impersonate him either. The answer is far subtler, writes Jonathan Freedland.
  2. What can David Cameron do? Have a referendum in this parliament (Telegraph)
    The Prime Minister David Cameron should be ready to leave the EU if he does not get the reforms he wants, writes Charles Moore.
  3. Farage aims to destroy sensible Toryism (Times)
    Cameron must energetically defend his vision of a moderate and outward-looking Conservative Party, writes Matthew Parris.
  4. Ukip’s victory will make all British political parties nervous (Financial Times)
    The role of Nigel Farage’s party is still more psychological than electoral, writes Janan Ganesh
  5. How to deal with a problem like Ukip? Take them head-on (Independent)
    Calling Farage's party racist allows it to play the victim card. So attack policies instead, writes James Moore
  6. There's only one way for Dave to stub out Farage (Daily Mail)
    Winning back UKIP voters might mean getting a new leader, and it would almost certainly involve breaking the Coalition, writes Simon Heffer.
  7. Syria: a roadmap to peace (Guardian)
    Syrians need a regional settlement that is owned by the region – and the UN security council must make that happen, writes former SDP leader David Owen.
  8. The cell door must slam shut on Stuart Hall (Telegraph)
    When the fate is decided of the former BBC presenter Stuart Hall, the mere passage of time should play no part, writes Matthew Norman.
  9. Feminism 2.0 is hot, rude and self-confident (Times)
    Revelations about 1970s sexual predators show why we needed feminism. In the age of internet porn we need it again, writes Janice Turner.
  10. Talk is cheap in the clampdown on tax avoidance (Financial Times)
    Even milder reforms will be hard to realise, writes Vanessa Houlder.

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

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Labour must unite idealists and nativists to beat Ukip

The party has no coherent economic policy, says Labour donor John Mills. 

The heart of the dilemma faced by Labour is that, by and large, its working-class supporters think that you should look after your own first and everyone else afterwards, while its more idealistic middle-class supporters don’t share these nativist views. Add to this the fact that the Labour party nowadays is more middle class, more internationalist, more public sector-orientated, more metropolitan, more intellectual and less interested in winning elections than it has ever been before, and you can see why Ukip is a huge potential threat.

Ukip started by attracting mainly disaffected Conservative voters who thought their party was weak on the EU and who didn’t like David Cameron’s liberal approach to social issues. More recently, especially during the EU referendum, Ukip picked up a huge amount of Labour support. Of the 9.3m people who voted Labour in the 2015 general election, close to 3.5m of them voted for Leave – and half of these people say they are not going to vote Labour in future. Where are they going to go?

The crucial issue is whether Ukip, having gone through all its recent traumas, will get its act together to scoop up these footloose voters. Up to now, the glue which has held Ukip together has been hostility to the EU and distrust of the political establishment. It has lacked coherent policy. This leaves Ukip still essentially a protest operation rather than as a potentially governing party. But this could change. 

With Labour now increasingly idealistic rather than nativist, Ukip may pull together a string of policies that promise support for working-class solidarity, immigration restrictions, social conservatism and a reindustrialisation plan – very much the platform which won Donald Trump the US presidency. Such a manifesto could attract sufficiently widespread working-class support to make large numbers of Labour seats vulnerable. Ukip came second in 120 constituencies during the 2015 general election. There doesn’t have to be a very large swing for Ukip to start picking up enough seats to make the prospect of a future Labour government more and more remote.

Faced with this prospect, what can Labour do? Three key strategies suggest themselves. One is to avoid alienating potential Labour supporters by trying to persuade them that they should have voted Remain. On the contrary, the party must clearly accept the referendum result, and fight hard and constructively towards getting the best possible Brexit deal. 

Second, Ukip is weak on economic policy. It is all very well to promise reindustrialisation and better jobs, but how is Ukip going to fulfil them? Populism shades very easily into protectionism. There is a principled case for open markets to produce more prosperity - but this may only be possible if there are also changes to monetary and exchange rate policy to avoid unmanageable commercial competition. Ukip may, like the Labour party, find this a hard case to make.

Third, Labour needs to change its tone. There needs to be less talk of abstract universal values and more of concrete steps to improve people’s lives. Labour must celebrate working-class attitudes to self-help, trade unionism, mutual support, patriotism and solidarity. The party must build on the huge influx of members, not least because they are the cadres for the future, but it also must avoid alienating old supporters with many years of experience and commitment. It is up to the party leadership to create such a change.

As it stands, too many Labour people are still trying to derail Brexit. The party has no coherent economic policy and it still looks too London-centric, divorced from its working-class roots. Not a good place to be if Ukip pulls itself together. 

John Mills is a businessman and a Labour donor. He founded the group Labour Leave ahead of the EU referendum and has recently published the pamphlet "Why Trump Won"