The Conservatives have gone from throwing the kitchen sink to the family home at Mark Reckless in Rochester & Strood. A vote for Ukip could knock thousands of pounds off house prices, Tory strategists have said. (Roving reporter Matt Holehouse has the story from Rochester.) "The danger is if you vote Ukip, the value of your house will go down," says Charles Walker, the MP for Broxbourne. It's "absurd" reply Ukip spinners.
Who's right? It's well known that the BNP's local election victory in Barking & Dagenham saw property prices in that borough stagnate while values in the neighbouring areas surged. Polls consistently show that Nigel Farage is hugely popular with his own supporters but strongly disliked by most of his opponents - whether that's the latest Ashcroft or the ComRes survey that finds that Mr Farage is Sean Bean to his friends and Mr Bean to his enemies - - so it seems reasonable to expect there is a degree of social stigma attached to living in a Ukip seat.
But that the attack has come so late in the campaign - "you can't fatten the pig on market day" as Lynton Crosby says - reveals the frustration at the heart of the Tory effort. The pledge of an In-Out referendum was meant to stop Ukip. It didn't. Mr Farage's revolt was meant to peak in the European elections and ebb away after Newark. It hasn't. Rochester & Strood was meant to be a firebreak. It won't be.
It may be that, at the last hurdle, the question of who governs - David Cameron or Ed Miliband - brings Ukip voters back to the fold. But the Conservative nightmare scenario outlined in Janan Ganesh's column today - "a tectonic rupture and the emergence of a durable political movement" - cannot be ruled out.
BRINGING A BADLY-COSTED KNIFE TO A GUN FIGHT
Yvette Cooper will today accuse the Conservatives and Ukip being engaged in an "arms race of rhetoric" on immigration before pledging to introduce 1,000 extra border staff. (The irony appears to have escaped her.) But Labour's plans to increase the number of border and immigration workers to 8,000 by imposing a visa waiver charge on tourists are already under fire, with Home Office sources telling Holly Watt that the Opposition's sums are "catastrophically wrong". Charging for the electronic visa waiver scheme would fund just 59 new members of staff, analysis shows. "This announcement has unravelled completely," Theresa May says.A WEE PROBLEM
A Survation poll for the Daily Record shows that Labour still has a mountain to climb in Scotland. The SNP are on 46% while Labour trails on 24% (the two Coalition parties are on 17% and 6% respectively). On a a uniform swing the SNP would take 52 seats, leaving Labour with just five MPs. It's a slight recovery from the horror polls immediately after Johann Lamont's acrimonious resignation, however. Even pessimistic Labour sources believe that the SNP's surge is not consistent throughout the country, meaning that Glasgow's MPs should be far more worried than Edinburgh's.
David Cameron is "getting his excuses in early" with his warnings over red lights and slowdowns, Ed Miliband said in the House yesterday. In his sketch, Michael Deacon is confused by the PM's messaging - "Most of our people have never had it so good. Or bad." - while Jeremy Warner explains what's going wrong in the global economy here. Elsewhere, the Institute for Government's annual Whitehall Monitor is out today. Whitehall must raise its skills and the Civil Service must change how it operates in order to cope with the coming cuts in the next parliament.
WHO WATCHES THE WATCHMEN
Almost a million crimes are disappearing from official figures every year as chief constables massage the figures to meet their targets, according to the police inspectorate, David Barrett reports. There is a "material risk of the victim and the community not receiving justice," Tom Winsor, the Chief Inspector says.
Alistair Darling issues a warning to pro-Europeans in the Guardian today. There is a "real risk the fight will be lost before it begins", Mr Darling says. The 2017 referendum will be held to the backdrop of continuing austerity and a possible recession as the Eurozone slips back into crisis. "Hope may well be in short supply," the former Chancellor warns. The case for staying within the EU needs to be made "with vigour", Mr Darling says. "In Scotland it took a long time for the quiet majority to feel confident enough to speak out. It was almost left too late."FROM GRAD TO WORSE
The high level of monthly repayments caused by the hike in tuition fees to £9,000 means that thousands of middle-class professionals will be unable to secure mortgages while three-quarters of students will never pay off the debt at all, Graeme Paton reports. "Tuition fees: three quarters of students won't pay off debt" is the Indy's splash. "Student fees time bomb" is the i's take.
SEATS FOR THE BOYS
Ed Miliband has "seized control" of the selection process for Labour MPs, Sam Coates reports in the Times. The party's National Executive Committee has agreed that from today a special selection panel will decide what happens in plum seats. The panel decides which seats must field all-women shortlists in some seats and determines the selection of shortlists in others. The expectation among Labour insiders, I'm told, is that the panel will have fewer all-women selections than has been the case so far in the parliament, as many of Mr Miliband's allies with eyes on a seat are men.
CLICK THIS LINK TO GET NOTHING DONE ALL DAY
Westminster ground to a halt yesterday after YouGov unveiled a new toy/handy polling gadget. The YouGov profiler allows you to find out what the shopping habits of David Cameron's fans are, or the favoured food of the supporters of Ed Miliband. Raziye Akkoc picks through some of her favourite examples here.
You can get in touch with me by pressing "reply" or on Twitter. Our cartoon is the work of Christian Adams - a gallery of his work is available here.
HOW HAVE THE POLLS MOVED IN THE LAST MONTH?
Conservatives 32% Labour 33% Liberal Democrats 8% Ukip 15% Green 6% (Ashcroft-ICM-IpsosMori-Opinium-Populus-YouGov, 11.11.2014-18.11.2014)
Ashcroft: Conservatives 29% Labour 30% Liberal Democrat 9% Ukip 16% Green 7%
Populus: Conservatives 35% Labour 36% Liberal Democrat 7% Ukip 11% Green 5%
YouGov: Conservatives 33%, Labour 32%, Liberal Democrats 7%, Ukip 15% Green 8%
TOO MANY TWEETS...@JoeTwyman: Q: What is @YouGov? (asks Russell Brand in latest video) A: We're the people you commissioned to run a survey for your book. #yourewelcome
From the TelegraphJeremy Warner - Can Britain survive another European crash?
Philip Johnston - Ukip's rise reflects a growing willigness to complain
From elsewhereRachel Sylvester - Ministers take side in Tory culture clash (Times)
Janan Ganesh - Tories should call off the search for an anti-Ukip strategy (FT)
AGENDA0930 LONDON: Inflation figures for October are published by the Office for National Statistics.
1045 LONDON: Yvette Cooper, shadow home secretary, will deliver a speech on immigration.
1100 HARROGATE: Home Secretary speech to the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners.
1420 EDINBURGH: First Minister Alex Salmond will make a resignation statement to the Scottish Parliament.
1445 LONDON: Immigration minister and transport chiefs before home affairs select committee.
1630 LONDON: Ofcom chief executive at Lords committee.
TODAY IN PARLIAMENT
CommonsDeputy Prime Minister's Questions.
Attorney General Questions.
A Ten Minute Rule Motion: Apprenticeships (Child Benefit and Tax Credit Entitlement) (Research).
Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill - Report stage (Day 1).
A short debate on future of Fenton Town Hall Building, Stoke-on-Trent.
0930: Physical inactivity and public health.
1100: Service history of Corporal Stewart McLaughlin.
1430: Role of Germany and the UK in the EU.
1600: Investment in the armed forces.
1630: Housing market in London.
Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill - Committee of the whole House.
Orders and Regulations relating to the Marriage of Same Sex Couples (Conversion of Civil Partnership) Regulations 2014; Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 (Consequential and Contrary Provisions and Scotland) and Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014 (Consequential Provisions) Order 2014; Consular Marriages and Marriages under Foreign Law (No. 2) Order 2014.