The commentators 07-05-15
...on the general election
What makes the timidity of this whole campaign so frustrating is that, even from the parties’ point of view, it’s probably counterproductive. It means that, at best, leaders will only maintain their existing support, rather than winning over people who normally vote for their opponents.
- Dan Hodges, Daily Telegraph
What if David Cameron offered a Queen’s Speech that was inspired by the best of all that the parties have offered in this election? A federal UK; a referendum on the EU; proportional representation for local government; a new generation of garden cities; higher council tax bands for the better off and reform of non-dom taxes to fund lower income taxes for the poor; the completion of Universal Credit; implementation of the few savings that the various parties have presented in recent months — including the abolition of police commissioners and limits on benefits for richer pensioners.
- Tim Montgomerie, The Times
Hung parliaments and minority governments have been the exception rather than the rule in 20th- and 21st-century Britain, but it is a significant exception. The Asquith governments of 1910-15 were minority governments; so were the Labour governments of 1924 and 1929-31; so were Harold Wilson’s government of February-October 1974, and James Callaghan’s from 1977 to 1979. These governments were not all weak and ineffective, or held to ransom by other parties
- David Marquand, The Guardian
This has been the most cautious and calculating election campaign I can remember. Drilled to within an inch of their political lives, and terrified of saying anything that might cause a bad headline, let alone offence, our party leaders have become more American, more presidential and desperately dull. We have had to rely on Ukip for most of the moments that make general elections worthwhile.
- Allison Pearson, Daily Telegraph
A Lib Dem presence will temper the Tories on tax and cuts, will temper Labour populism on spending, will put the case for the European Union, argue against any action that will alienate Scottish voters, and will sometimes be the lone voice telling the unpopular truth about immigration.
- David Aaronovitch, The Times
However much people shout about it, the coalition’s austerity policy has been far from the most important economic influence over the past five years. The eurozone crisis, global energy and food prices and shockingly weak productivity have, together with monetary policy, been far more important than anything David Cameron, George Osborne or Nick Clegg have done. The same will be true in the years ahead.
- Chris Giles, Financial Times
If Cameron fails to form a government, the political and media establishment will pull out every stop to prevent Miliband becoming prime minister. It won’t just be a wall of noise about “legitimacy” and chaos. Already some rightwing Labour figures are being primed to try a mini-coup of their own, echoing the Tory claim that the second largest party shouldn’t lead a government. If Cameron and Clegg come close to a majority, a handful of Labour defections could even take them over the line
- Seumas Milne, The Guardian
Even if he doesn’t win a majority of MPs, Ed Miliband is planning to “con” his way into Downing Street, says David Cameron. How’s he going to do this? I expect he’ll get Eddie Izzard to knock on the door dressed as a maid, then say: “I’ve come to clean the bathroom.” Once he’s in, he’ll let Miliband in round the back and he’ll become Prime Minister and we’ll all have to donate an internal organ to Scotland.
- Mark Steel, The Independent
The Conservatives broadly understand that wealth creation needs to be encouraged and nurtured. By contrast, the contemporary Left looks at the private sector uncomprehendingly, merely seeing a group of people and a pile of assets that it can raid.
- Allister Heath, Daily Telegraph
Labour offers a fairer tax system, collecting more not just from non-doms and tax evasion but from people who can afford it — high earners and people with homes worth £2 million or more. It promises to control spending and cut the deficit while boosting the economy by investing in research, housing, skills and infrastructure.
- Jenni Russell, The Times
The rest of Europe doesn't really care about the outcome, as the UK stopped being relevant some time ago. How did that happen? It wasn't sudden event, but developed gradually. It began as a niggling resentment of the EU. This became an ideological position, and soon spread across the country. It infiltrated the political system, and ended up pushing Brits away from the rest of Europe.
- Emanual Sidea, The Independent
There is the niggling worry that there might be something wrong with tactical voting. Is this just naive idealism about what political participation should be? Not necessarily. For some, the emotional cost of voting for a candidate or party they don’t sincerely believe in may be high even when they can see the logical arguments for doing so.
- Nigel Warburton, The Guardian
Politicians have decided that they don't need us any more. They are connecting directly with the voters.
Comment archive, 2015
Scottish National Party
Depression and killer pilot
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