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• Campaigning started again as the UK Independence party launched its election manifesto and said Theresa May bears “some responsibility” for the Manchester terror attack.
• Donald Trump promised to find the source of the “deeply embarrassing” US intelligence leaks over Manchester.
• The Tories raised £1.64m in donations during the second week of the campaign.
The takeaway: a purple prospectus for the fringes
The UK Independence party released its 2017 manifesto on Thursday with much bravado but little substance. This is a party that was riding high two years ago, but the prospectus confirmed it has run out of ideas and is retreating to its comfort zone. Ukip is focused more than ever on immigration and integration, calling for a “far more muscular approach” to tackling extremism. Given that the terror attack in Manchester occurred a few days ago, it was bold to strike this tone.
“It is not good enough to light candles and proclaim that extremists will not beat us,” said Paul Nuttall, the party’s leader. He’s right, but it’s possible to light candles and have a proper counter-terrorism strategy at the same time. Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn will be talking in the next few days about their strategies to tackle terrorism, but they will do so in more measured ways. Ukip controversially pointed the finger at Mrs May over the Manchester atrocity, suggesting the prime minister “must bear some responsibility”. Suzanne Evans, deputy chair, said Mrs May’s record at the Home Office showed she had been “weak on this issue for many, many years”. Whatever the merits to this argument, it was an odd one for Ms Evans to make, given that the PM rates so highly with Ukip supporters.
Along with a defiant tone, Ukip threw in some bizarre policies. The pledge to introduce legislation in order to “reduce the density of alcohol outlets and restrict trading times” suggests it wants to close pubs (Nigel Farage must be fuming in retirement). One of its stated reasons for banning the burka is that it “prevents intake of essential vitamin D from sunlight”. It also wants schools to change the colour of gold stars, issued for good behaviour, as these are a reminder of the despised EU flag. And despite pledging to ban all face coverings, the manifesto features a beekeeper in full protective regalia.
Though this is all amusing, it does show that Ukip is uncertain about what direction to take after Brexit. The party is powered by English nationalism and risks having a fringe appeal. It is standing only 377 candidates in this election, so it seems unlikely it will get as many votes as it did in 2015. There is little in its manifesto that breaks new ground.
Further reading: Henry Mance’s excellent FT Magazine cover story on whether the party is over for Ukip.
The ebbing purple tide
Philip Stephens says Washington must plug the intelligence leaks — and soon:
Intelligence and counterterrorism activities are the first, and often the second and third, lines of defence against murderous attacks such as that in Manchester. Both depend critically on close co-operation across national borders. That collaboration rests in turn on mutual trust — the expectation on all sides that secrets will remain so for as long as it necessary and that confidences will be kept. Britain and the US are members, with Canada, Australia and New Zealand, of the so-called Five Eyes intelligence arrangement, which means intelligence sharing between their agencies is particularly close. Anything that dents trust and threatens to undermine co-operation can serve only the interests of terrorists. Washington needs urgently to tighten up its procedures.
The Times’ Iain Martin says it is time to talk about Jeremy Corbyn’s record on terrorism:
Either way Mr Corbyn and his sidekick John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, and their associates are well outside the moderate traditions of the Labour party. Attlee and Bevin (an architect of Nato), Hugh Gaitskell and Jim Callaghan and the modernisers of the 1980s and 1990s such as George Robertson, were among many patriots on the centre left committed to national defence and the wider western cause of freedom. Their party is now in the hands of the Corbynistas, an alien virus that has latched on to the host.
Number of the day: 248,000
The level British net migration dropped to last year. If this rate of decline continues, Theresa May might hit her “tens of thousands” target in the next parliament. But what about the impact on the economy?
State of the race