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What the papers say: Is the party finally over for Ukip?

23 January 2018

8:31 AM

23 January 2018

8:31 AM

Ukip has defied predictions about its death before. Yet even the party’s most ardent supporters would find it hard not to feel gloomy about recent events and the party’s downward spiral. Ukip’s leader Henry Bolton clings on, despite losing a vote of no confidence and suffering a raft of resignations among his top team. ‘Is the party finally over for Ukip?’, asks the Daily Telegraph. The paper says that Bolton’s refusal to step down looks like an act of ‘forlorn defiance’, and it seems likely that the party’s leader has lost the trust of members as a result of his relationship with a racist model. It’s worth remembering that Ukip ‘has never really been a political party in the conventional sense’, argues the paper, which says the group is more like a ‘single-issue movement’. It goes without saying that the Brexit vote was, at least partly, brought about by ‘Nigel Farage and Ukip delivering voters who no longer trusted the two major parties’. Yet the ‘idea’ that Ukip ‘could morph into a national party offering a range of domestic and foreign policies was always fanciful’. Paul Nuttall’s botched bid to snatch territory away from Labour at the snap general election using this ruse is a case in point here. Bolton has called for an end to the ‘‘factional infighting’ inside Ukip. Perhaps the time has actually come to call it a day,’ concludes the Telegraph.

Of course, if the government bungles the Brexit process – or if Leave voters feel sold out by the final deal – there could be an opportunity in the future for a Ukip-type group to prosper. And there are plenty of warning signs that things are not going swimmingly for the government. In its editorial, the Financial Times suggests the government could certainly do more to make its Brexit goals more ‘explicit’. It’s true that ministers ‘cannot know the outcome of negotiations with the EU’. But for as long as ‘its priorities remain a matter of speculation, it is hard to see how the finance industry — which employs 1m Britons — can act with confidence’, says the FT. The paper accepts that the issues surrounding an agreement and the final aim for the financial services sector are a ‘thorny’ subject; what’s more, it is also the case that services are typically excluded from free trade agreements. The industry itself is also ‘dynamic’ and ever-changing. This means ‘regular re-jigging of rules’. Perhaps the most plausible option then is ‘equivalence’ between the two markets in Britain and the EU. This would require the EU giving up some ‘measure of regulatory control over finance’. So why should it agree to this? Britain should remind the EU that this is in its own interests; after all, the EU needs the ‘liquid market for products from interest rate derivatives to corporate loans’ that ‘exists only in London now’. The prospect of an agreement is on the cards. The government should do more about voicing what it wants from the EU.

Meanwhile, the Sun takes aim at Oxfam after the charity released figures yesterday which it said showed the inequality gap across the world had widened. The charity also appeared to suggest that it was time for a rethink of the way companies did business as a result of this stark survey. ‘It is a tragedy that Oxfam has become a front for anti-capitalist Corbynistas,’ says the Sun, which argues that the charity is wrong to buy into the myth that ‘narrowing inequality’ is achieved ‘by hammering the rich’. In fact, this ‘does not help the poor’, says the Sun, which suggests that only ‘capitalism does’ this. ‘By contrast, socialism is starving citizens to death’. And yet Oxfam has, like Corbyn, gone on the offensive against capitalism. Perhaps it is time for the charity’s boss to practise what he preaches and offer up some of his salary ‘among his junior staff,’ concludes the Sun.


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