Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Friends and foes are wondering if Mr Miliband has lost the plot (Daily Telegraph)

If Labour persists with the nursery school politics, the party is heading for defeat at the polls, says Mary Riddell. 

2. What are the Conservatives trying to hide? (Times)

If their memberships collapse, parties lose touch with local communities, writes Paul Goodman. And that should worry all of us.

3. Labour should hammer home one simple message on the economy (Guardian)

To regain voter confidence on the economy the party must point out that the pain of austerity has not been worth it, says Robert Skidelsky.

4. Any other ‘statesman’ who negotiated peace like John Kerry would be treated as a thief (Independent)

Kerry isn’t on the Palestinians' side, says Robert Fisk. He’s going all out for ‘peace’ on Israeli  government terms.

5. Yes, Mr Bryant made a fool of himself. But has Labour now revealed its vote-winner? (Daily Mail)

 Labour has now concluded that economic nationalism is the path to power, writes Andrew Alexander.

6. Tell the truth: the NHS will soon be bust (Times)

There’s no end to medical advances and their astronomical costs, writes Gaby Hinsliff. The trouble is, we can’t possibly afford them.

7. Gibraltar and the Falklands deny the logic of history (Guardian)

These relics of empire pay hardly any UK tax – but when the neighbours cut up nasty, they demand the British protect them, writes Simon Jenkins.

8. A 21st-century Nasser could give the Arab world its voice (Guardian)

Egypt's coup makers are phoney nationalists, writes Seumas Milne. But the goal of independence and social justice unites people across the region.

9. Carney is yet to bend markets to his will (Financial Times)

There are limits to what a central bank can credibly promise, writes Martin Sandbu.

10. Homeowners are not so bubbly this time (Daily Telegraph)

A jump in house prices used to be cause for celebration, writes Richard Dyson. So why are homeowners wary about the latest increase?

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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