Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Don't get mad about the Mail's use of the Philpotts to tarnish the poor – get even (Guardian)

30 years of widening inequality have built a Tory Narnia riven by distrust, writes Zoe Williams. It doesn't have to be like this.

2. The PM's critics are wrong. He’s on the verge of something great (Daily Telegraph)

A revolution is under way in health, welfare and education that may change Britain forever, says Peter Oborne.

3. We can’t limit free speech. Even for Di Canio (Times)

Once I proclaimed ‘no platform for fascists’, writes David Aaronovitch. Now I can see that toleration is a far more potent weapon.

4. We need a nuclear deterrent more than ever (Daily Telegraph)

A credible and continuous independent nuclear deterrent remains a crucial component of our national security, argues David Cameron.

5. Trident: the nuclear jobcentre (Guardian)

Treating Trident as an employment scheme will leave Britain ill equipped for the real threat: terrorism, says Richard Norton-Taylor.

6. Gove and the unions are betraying our children (Independent)

Their noisy debate leaves parents aghast at what awaits our children in the classroom, writes Jane Merrick.

7. Cleaner politics in France (Financial Times)

Hollande’s move to raise standards is overdue, says an FT editorial.

8. Real Time Information may be a reform too far (Daily Telegraph)

Whitehall’s record does not fill us with confidence that a major IT reform to the PAYE system will be handled well, says a Telegraph editorial.

9. Financial reform is coming to America (Financial Times)

It is no longer in the interests of Obama’s critics to delay, writes Barney Frank.

10. Don't make a martyr of Bradley Manning (Guardian)

The US should be a beacon of justice, not a bully, writes PJ Crowley. Any further pursuit of Manning is a propaganda gift to the country's enemies.

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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