Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. What does Mr Cameron believe in? His own ministers aren't sure (Observer)

The Tory leader's lack of deep convictions has been good for coalition relations, but bad for dealing with his party, says Andrew Rawnsley.

2. Of course a privileged background matters, and it's not the politics of envy to say so (Sunday Telegraph)

Tories addressing social mobility must accept the scale of the problem, writes Matthew d'Ancona.

3. The big freeze is here, so George cosies up to voters (Mail on Sunday)

Osborne knows that his challenge is to show that the proceeds of growth will be shared, writes James Forsyth.

4. It’s getting better; the Tories just can’t convince us (Sunday Times)

Major, Miliband, Milburn — not one of them is making it any easier for the prime minister to frame the argument his way, writes Adam Boulton.

5. Interest rates rules have been turned upside (Independent on Sunday)

A rise is expected next year, making savers happy and plunging the heavily mortgaged into despair, writes Hamish McRae.

6. The one place we don’t need a visionary leader: on the throne (Sunday Times)

There was another King Charles who believed that his divine right trumped all other opinions, writes Dominic Lawson. It did not end well.

7. George Osborne, call yourself a Tory when you fritter taxes? (Observer)

The chancellor's reckless use of taxpayers' money to boost borrowing on housing is anti-Conservative and will end in disaster, says Nick Cohen.

8. No more evasion and prevarication – Britain's elite must be held to account (Observer)

The blocking of the Chilcot report underlines how the powerful shield their activities from the public, says Henry Porter.

9. Maoist class war wrecked our state schools (Sunday Telegraph)

For too long teachers have thought it wrong to transmit 'posh' standards of literate speech, says Janet Daley.

10. Typhoon Haiyan shows the heat is on for our climate - but Britain has lost its leading role (Sunday Mirror)

Energy Secretary Ed Davey is trying to do the right thing but is opposed by Tories who’d rather listen to Top Gear than top scientists, says John Prescott.
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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