Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. What exactly can private schools teach the state sector? (Guardian)

As the head of an independent school puts forward plans to tackle inequality, he forgets his sector's dire record when working in state education, says John Harris.

2. The rise of a new US federalism (Financial Times)

With federal government largely paralysed, the future is being shaped in the cities, writes Edward Luce.

3. What is it about male politicians that they seem to have such problems dealing with women? (Independent)

In France, female MPs endure obscene gestures, wolf whistles and other insults, writes Yasmin Alibhai Brown. 

4. Our housing is in crisis – we need both brownfield and greenfield sites (Guardian)

The tougher the planning controls, the higher the house prices, writes Chris Huhne. We must ease restrictions in our cities and in the countryside.

5. Cleggton Keynes in England’s rolling hills? No thanks, Nick (Daily Telegraph)

We don’t need any new 'garden’ cities, writes Boris Johnson. London’s brownfield sites can solve the housing crisis.

6. Obama’s plan for US surveillance (Financial Times)

The proposals offer only a modest advance on what is needed, says an FT editorial. 

7. After Owen Jones’s open letter to Ukip voters last week, here is my reply (Independent)

I fear that you may have been reading too much into a statistical sample and haven’t taken the time to get out and meet our voters, writes Nigel Farage to Owen Jones.

8. Growing Pains (Times)

As the global economy slowly recovers, policymakers should recall that debt-fuelled consumption has limits, says a Times editorial.

9. I believe this ghastly woman hastened my friend's death (Daily Mail)

Lord McAlpine was broken down by the cruel strain of being a victim of Sally Bercow's terrible lie, writes Simon Heffer. 

10. If we don’t care, we will legalise euthanasia (Times)

Dutch right-to-die laws opened the door to the killing of mentally ill patients, writes Peter Franklin. 

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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