Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. My advice to Labour: be of good cheer, be bold, stop jumping at shadows (Guardian)

 Forget the Wallace and Grommit jibes, says Polly Toynbee. Leaders are the embodiment of their policies – and Ed Miliband's can win him the election.

2. Cameron has an inspiring message, so let's hear it (Daily Telegraph)

With the rise of Ukip, it is crucial that the PM makes the argument for a Tory government, says Fraser Nelson.

3. Syria deal holds a lesson – talk to Iran (Financial Times)

After all the mistakes with Damascus, the US has a chance to put things right with Tehran, writes Philip Stephens.

4. The Blair-Brown war cost the Labour party dear (Guardian)

When Labour returns to office, Ed Miliband must ensure that the errors of the last generation are not repeated by his, writes Benjamin Wegg-Prosser.

5. The Bedroom Tax: The Tories’ idea of fairness that could yet return to haunt them (Independent)

So is the bedroom tax the new poll tax, asks Donald Macintyre. The wording favours the critics.

6. Labour’s salvation? The hated Lib Dems (Times)

Fear and loathing of Nick Clegg’s party runs deep on the left, but wooing them is the way back to power, writes Philip Collins.

7. Who do you think you’re kidding, Mr Schauble? (Daily Telegraph)

The eurozone may have avoided calamity, but all the underlying problems are still there, says Jeremy Warner. 

8. How Labour's lies and spin poisoned politics (Daily Mail)

The revelations contained in Damian McBride's memoirs drag New Labour's reputation to even lower depths, says a Daily Mail editorial.

9. Fed gets it right but says it wrong (Financial Times)

It will now be harder for markets to trust the central bank, says an FT editorial.

10. Italy needs this to be the end of Berlusconi (Independent)

Can this disgraced man really even believe what he is saying, asks Peter Popham. 

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