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Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Despite the Nigel Evans trial, the wrongly accused are not the main victims in rape cases (Guardian)

Yes the innocent MP suffered, but we must not go back to the Jimmy Savile era and ignore those who've been sexually abused, says Owen Jones.

2. Ed’s big mistake was his break with the past (Times)

Great things happened in the Blair and Brown years, writes John McTernan. Taking pride in those successes would give Labour a bit of swagger.

3. Banks fiddled while Rome burned: how to predict the next global financial crisis (Guardian)

Amid signs of another asset bubble, and as memories of the last crisis fade, we might be seeing the beginnings of the next crash, writes Larry Elliott. 

4. The Lib Dems are a Goldilocks party or they are nothing (Times)

‘Thatcherism plus immigration’ will never be a vote-winner, says Stephen Tall. 

5. This could be when Greece defaults (Financial Times)

It not in recession nor is it recovering, writes Wolfgang Münchau. It has collapsed. But there is another story.

6. Incentives to mitigate climate change are not in vain (Independent)

The latest IPCC report gives reasons to believe that climate change can be tackled, says an Independent editorial. 

7. Labour must be more pro-business (Financial Times)

The electoral clock is ticking and it needs to go further and faster, writes Alan Milburn.

8. Tory-led coalition should pay high price for turning dream of owning own home into a nightmare (Daily Mirror)

In building his so-called recovery on the quicksands of soaring house prices and debt, George Osborne prices Generation Rent out of buying a roof over their head, writes Kevin Maguire. 

9. Britain's economy needs more than just growth (Guardian)

The positive GDP figures are well timed for the 2015 election, but inequality in education will hold us back in the long term, warns Chris Huhne. 

10. A welcome plan to ease the pressure on hospitals (Daily Telegraph)

The only question, as the pressures on the NHS mount, is whether it will be anywhere near enough, says a Telegraph editorial. 

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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