Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. It’s Ed 'Ryanair’ Miliband v David 'Business Class' Cameron (Sunday Telegraph)

The Tories realise they are in trouble unless the public believes them to be in the same single class Boeing 737 as the rest of us, says Matthew d'Ancona.

2. Three daunting hurdles that the Labour Party needs to overcome (Observer)

Ed Miliband goes into conference facing huge challenges, writes Andrew Rawnsley. Some signature policies might help convince voters.

3. Zombies stir to drag Ed back to his dark side (Sunday Times)

McBride tells us more than we might like to know about where Miliband came from, writes Adam Boulton.

4. Ed really will be on the rocks if he slips up at the seaside... (Mail on Sunday)

Miliband’s team hope that a conference with a simple, direct policy message can steady the ship, says James Forsyth.
 
5. While Iran and the US talk of peace, the real war keeps going (Independent on Sunday)

Ethnic cleansing continues as President Rouhani prepares to address the UN on Tuesday, writes Patrick Cockburn.

6. Once, British statesmen were defined by their ambition (Mail on Sunday)

Clegg's proud conference boast of what the coalition hasn't done shows we are stuck in the politics of no, says Allister Heath.

7. To fight climate change, we must trust scientific truth and collective action (Observer)

Sceptics will rubbish a new report on climate change, dismissing calls for governmental action, writes Will Hutton. Don't be swayed.

8. Damian McBride knew: Get caught and you walk alone (Independent on Sunday)

It did not damage Gordon Brown's image that he seemed to practise gangland politics, writes John Rentoul.

9. 'Führerprinzip’ is killing off genuine debate (Sunday Telegraph)

The balance between state power and free markets needs to be constantly discussed, says Janet Daley.

10. American gun use is out of control. Shouldn't the world intervene? (Observer)

The death toll from firearms in the US suggests that the country is gripped by civil war, writes Henry Porter.

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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