Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. David Miranda, schedule 7 and the danger that all reporters now face (Guardian)

As the events in a Heathrow transit lounge – and the Guardian offices – have shown, the threat to journalism is real and growing, writes Alan Rusbridger.

2. Prepare to add HS2 and Universal Credit to our depressing list of fiascos (Daily Telegraph)

From the poll tax to HS2, ministers seem incapable of calling a halt to a failing policy, writes Philip Johnston.

3. How to cure Europe’s left (Financial Times)

Social democrats need to promote reform of their own favoured institutions, says Anthony Painter.

4. Why we all love Charlie Bucket (and despise the poor in real life) (Guardian)

We love the poor in fairytales, but survey after survey shows we are all too quick to blame real people who fall on hard times, writes Polly Toynbee. 

5. How will politicians vote? (Times)

Political parties must be transparent about their strategy for any hung Parliament, says a Times editorial.

6. Stability is what Egypt needs now (Financial Times)

If clean government, order and economic growth return then there is a chance for democracy, writes Gideon Rachman.

7. What is behind this fracking mania? Unbridled machismo (Guardian)

The prime minister's love of shale gas is not driven by jobs or energy security, but a fixation with manly extractive industries, writes George Monbiot.

8. Help to Buy is a dangerous political placebo... (Independent)

...but rising house prices are among the economic figures making Labour feel sick, writes Dominic Lawson.

9. In Cameron's casualised Britain, zero-hours contracts create a climate of fear (Guardian)

These contracts are symptomatic of job insecurity and falling living standards, writes Chuka Umunna. But Labour can offer a fairer way of working.

10. Section 28 hurt the Tories more than young gay people (Independent)

During the 15 years in which Section 28 was law, no local authority was prosecuted, writes Andy McSmith.

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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