May 6, 2010 at 11:53 pm Leave a comment

This article was originally posted at The Nation on May 4, 2010.

ON THURSDAY the Brits vote in their general elections, and most recent polls suggest the Conservatives—with the decline of Prime Minister Gordon Brown—now hold a slim lead. Another indicator: the endorsements made by Britain’s top national papers this past weekend.

None of the major British papers endorsed the Labour Party because, as some pointed out, it got the country  into its current economic mess, and certainly can’t be expected to get them out of it. The Guardian is the only London paper we’ve seen endorsing Nick Clegg and his Liberal Democrats. The Independent clearly opposes Conservative leader David Cameron, but argues for “tactical” voting district by district (Labour here, Lib Dem there)  to keep him out of power. The rest of the papers write that though the idea of Clegg is nice, the Liberal Democrats are fanciful, a party that hasn’t thought through all of its policies.

Plus, on Monday: The Financial Times switched from Labour to back the Tories. It says it still has questions about Cameron and his party but “Britain needs a stable and legitimate government to navigate its fiscal crisis and punch its weight abroad. On balance, the Conservative party best fits the bill.”  Here is a summary of endorsements made by major Britain papers.

The Guardian:General Election 2010: The Liberal Moment Has Come

“…it is the Liberal Democrats who have most consistently argued [for electoral reform] in the round and who, after the exhaustion of the old politics, reflect and lead an overwhelming national mood for real change. … Released into the daylight of equal debate, [Clegg] has given the other two parties the fright of their lives. … [We] cannot ignore such a record.”

The Independent: “Vote for Change. Real Change.”

“As the Tories are opposed to electoral reform and are ahead in the polls, we are asking voters in 85 key constituencies to vote for the candidate best placed to frustrate David Cameron…. this self-professed candidate of change refuses to consider the most vital change of all…electoral reform.”

The Telegraph: “The only choice for Britain

“[Clegg] seems nice, personable, fresh – so why not give him a chance? The truth, however, is that a vote for the Liberal Democrats would be a vote for the continuation of fantasy politics. … The best choice for Britain is a Conservative government with a strong majority.”

Daily Mail: Who Can You Trust to Clean Up This Mess?”

“Who is going to clear all this up?… Clearly not Gordon Brown… And the hallucinatory quality to the ‘Clegg surge’ has prevented proper scrutiny of his policies… Britain needs strong Government, not weak. Fewer politicians, not more. One purpose, not a coalition of the weak and the weary in uneasy alliance with the whimsical. For all these reasons Mr. Cameron and the Conservatives should be trusted with your vote.”


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