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Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. As Labour stalls, it’s time to bring on the new Balls (Daily Telegraph)

Far from blaming the shadow chancellor for "crashing the car", Ed Balls's party is giving him more power, writes Mary Riddell. 

2. Time for Draghi to open the sluice (Financial Times)

Markets are betting on indefinite austerity, writes Martin Wolf. If it comes to an end, the euro crisis could return.

3. The starry-eyed west is walking into Iran’s trap (Times)

Hassan Rouhani is the plausible front man for a regime still bent on building a nuclear bomb, writes Roger Boyes.

4. The Union is in better shape than we think (Daily Telegraph)

A series of faux pas by Scottish nationalists has cheered up the Better Together camp, says Alan Cochrane. 

5. Ed Miliband must give up his love of state intervention (Guardian)

The Labour leader's stance on AstraZeneca is beyond silly, writes Simon Jenkins. He needs a route map to cash in on the coalition's chaos.

6. Pfizer/AstraZeneca: prescription for failure (Guardian)

The case against a takeover by the US company is easy to make – and then there is the bigger industrial picture, says a Guardian editorial. 

7. Pfizer takeover needs a proper investigation (Daily Mail)

The attempted takeover is an issue of profound importance for British jobs, science and industry, says a Daily Mail editorial. 

8. How much you spend on a haircut holds the key to maintaining a stable economy in an era of low inflation (Independent)

Central banks will in future rely less on interest rates to try to stop bubbles, writes Hamish McRae.

9. The man who won a Nobel prize for parking (Times)

From crime to tuition fees, countless aspects of our lives are influenced by the late economist Gary Becker, writes Daniel Finkelstein. 

10. How a proud corporate history can lead to poor governance (Financial Times)

The Co-op and University of Oxford have fallen victim to failed governance structures, writes John Kay. 

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Why Ukip might not be dead just yet

Nigel Farage's party might have a second act in it. 

Remember Ukip? Their former leader Nigel Farage is carving out a living as a radio shock jock and part-time film critic. The party is currently midway through a leadership election to replace Paul Nuttall, who quit his post following their disastrous showing at the general election.

They are already facing increasing financial pressure thanks to the loss of short money and, now they no longer have any MPs, their parliamentary office in Westminster, too. There may be bigger blows to come. In March 2019, their 24 MEPs will all lose their posts when Britain leaves the European Union, denying another source of funding. In May 2021, if Ukip’s disastrous showing in the general election is echoed in the Welsh Assembly, the last significant group of full-time Ukip politicians will lose their seats.

To make matters worse, the party could be badly split if Anne-Marie Waters, the founder of Sharia Watch, is elected leader, as many of the party’s MEPs have vowed to quit if she wins or is appointed deputy leader by the expected winner, Peter Whittle.

Yet when you talk to Ukip officials or politicians, they aren’t despairing, yet. 

Because paradoxically, they agree with Remainers: Theresa May’s Brexit deal will disappoint. Any deal including a "divorce bill" – which any deal will include – will fall short of May's rhetoric at the start of negotiations. "People are willing to have a little turbulence," says one senior figure about any economic fallout, "but not if you tell them you haven't. We saw that with Brown and the end of boom and bust. That'll be where the government is in March 2019."

They believe if Ukip can survive as a going concern until March 2019, then they will be well-placed for a revival. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.