Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. US Republicans make the poor pay to balance the budget (Guardian)

The impetus to cut food stamps is ideological not fiscal, and low-wages mean work provides no guarantee against hunger, writes Gary Younge. 

2. Worry about the euro, not the EU (Financial Times)

The union is not compatible with a single currency in the long run, warns Wolfgang Münchau.

3. Start spreading the news, New York’s going left (Times)

After two decades of prosperity and falling crime, the Big Apple will end the Giuliani era, writes Justin Webb.

4. Europe is an anchor for British business (Guardian)

Fantasists on the right argue that in this globalised world we should cut free from the EU, writes Vince Cable. The opposite is true, the CBI says.

5. As Morsi goes to trial, General Sisi should remember: Egypt is a dangerous place to rule (Independent)

The erstwhile President appears in court at a tense time even by Egypt's standards, writes Robert Fisk.

6. China built its HS2 in two years. Don’t let Labour derail ours (Daily Telegraph)

Balls and co thought it was a great idea, writes Boris Johnson. Until they spotted a chance to woo the sceptic vote.

7. Outside the Westminster bubble George Osborne's economic recovery election strategy is just another Con (Daily Mirror)

Much of London outside Mayfair and the City isn’t feeling richer, little or none of the growth is reaching them, writes Kevin Maguire.

8. Listen up, Britain! The people who get everything wrong say we can't leave the EU (Daily Mail)

Little more than a decade ago, the CBI insisted we had ‘no alternative’ but to abandon the pound and join the euro, writes Dominic Lawson. 

9. What's all the fuss about the royal charter meaning the end of press freedom? (Guardian)

The royal charter doesn't establish any regulation of the press – but the fourth estate still needs urgently to re-establish credibility, says Chris Huhne.

10. Snowden has done us all a favour (Financial Times)

For a whole generation, the US is coming to stand for Big Brother, writes Edward Luce.

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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