Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. The Cyprus eurozone bailout conditions are bank robbery pure and simple (Guardian)

This is yet another euro bailout that punishes ordinary people to prop up a bust financial system, writes Aditya Chakrabortty. How long can the euro last now?

2. Press battle thaws Labour-Lib Dem frost (Financial Times)

This could in future be seen as the dawn of a new coalition, writes Janan Ganesh.

3. Across the Rubicon (Times)

David Cameron’s Royal Charter subjects a free press to Parliament and sets a dangerous precedent, argues a Times leader.

4. A Leveson deal worth backing (Independent)

It is not credible to claim that the existing form of self-regulation was working, says an Independent editorial.

5. Politicians and press regulation: a good deal on paper … (Guardian)

The political class as a whole could discover that the brokering has only just begun, says a Guardian editorial.

6. Crosby’s cunning plan for a Tory victory – no more stupid ideas (Daily Telegraph)

There will be no more nods to fashion that leave voters on the right mystified or angry, says Benedict Brogan.

7. In the war on the poor, Pope Francis is on the wrong side (Guardian)

In Latin America a new Inquisition has betrayed Catholic priests who risk their lives to stand up to tyrants – as I've witnessed, writes George Monbiot. 

8. Europe’s leaders run out of credit in Cyprus (Financial Times)

The problem remains the gap in trust between north and south, says Gideon Rachman.

9. Will Britain's press repent its nasty ways? Don't hold your breath (Guardian)

A small triumph for citizens the royal charter may be, but for now we're still stuck with the most savage papers in Europe, says Polly Toynbee.

10. Forget privacy – it’s conversation Google is killing (Independent)

Google Glass will make its users even more detached from the immediate real world, writes Dominic Lawson. 

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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