Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. The scandal of millions not paid enough to live on (Observer)

Archbishop of York John Sentamu takes a stand on low wages.

2. Parliament needs to wake up about banking (Sunday Telegraph)

Liam Halligan wonders how vital reform of the financial sector has been shunted into the political silly season.

3. Ignore the hype, Britain's recovery is a fantasy (Observer)

A pitiful rise in GDP is nothing to celebrate. The economy is weak and dysfunctional, says Will Hutton.

4. The Tories are smiling but their problems haven't gone away (Observer)

Andrew Rawnsley finds Conservatives lurching from extreme despair to irrational exuberance.

5. On Trident, we're still fighting the Cold War (Independent on Sunday)

Danny Alexander restates the Lib Dem position of nuclear deterrance-lite, although he doesn't call it that.  

6. David Cameron, social reformer, takes on the web pornographers (Sunday Telegraph)

Matthew D'Ancona casts the Prime Minister as a moral crusader for the digital age.

7. David Cameron listens to Sam. Pity he won't give more women jobs. (Observer)

Gender descrimination is rife at Westminster, writes Catherine Bennett.

8. Google is a good target for Ed Miliband, Lynton Crosby isn't (Independent on Sunday)

Pick fights with people the voters have heard of, advises John Rentoul.

9. The Crosby show rekindles Tory fighting spirit (Sunday Times)

Adam Boulton joins the chorus of admiration for the galvanising powers of David Cameron's campaign strategist ...

10. The scandal of David Cameron's new spin doctor (Sunday Mirror)

... while John Prescott is unimpressed.

 

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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