The commentators 31-03-15
...on the general election
There is an interesting mixture of arrogance and insecurity in the failure by the Conservative and Labour leaders to reinvent their parties. On the one hand, both are so convinced of the strength of their own argument that they do not feel the need to win over non-believers; on the other, each also feels that their only task so close to an election is to secure the support they already have rather than trying to shake up the system. The bitterness and negativity that will only intensify between now and May 7 derive from the fact that each party is going into battle from a position of weakness rather than strength.
- Rachel Sylvester, The Times
For all his commanding self-assurance David Cameron endures a roller-coaster ride as a leader. He has yet to win an overall majority and polls suggest that he will never do so, meaning that the current election would be his last. Cameron began his leadership hoping to be the Tony Blair of his party, changing the Conservatives so they might make headway in the north of England, and indeed in Scotland, in the way that New Labour stormed the south in 1997. Now he contests the closest election for many decades, hailing policies that are similar to those espoused by his recent predecessors as Tory leader.
- Steve Richards, Independent
The most dangerous assault is in those Tory posters showing Ed Miliband in Alex Salmond’s pocket, a line of argument suggesting Scottish MPs have less legitimacy at Westminster. The SNP has every right to sustain a minority Labour party in power. If Labour has fewer seats than the Tories, that may feel illegitimate: expect a great howl of Tory rage. But the government’s own fixed-term parliament act obliges any party that can cluster enough MPs to pass its Queen’s speech to take command. To suggest that Scottish votes and Scottish MPs don’t count in that arithmetic is to expel them from Westminster and turbo-charge their case for independence. - Polly Toynbee, The Guardian
While voters face a choice on May 7 about the size and contours of the state, the choice is not as polar as it was before the governing Conservatives softened their plans in the recent budget. High quality global journalism requires investment. This might be why the campaign still smells of unignited gasoline. It will surely catch fire at some point, but we have been saying that all year. Britons are gripped by the sacking of a blokeish television presenter and the twilight phase of the football season — anything but the election that was formally commenced by the prime minister on Monday.
- Janan Ganesh, Financial Times
There appears to be a significant difference between the two main parties in their philosophies and policies with respect to inequality. We know that Labour wants to reduce it, and a little about how. We have much less sense of the extent to which the Conservatives think there is an issue to be addressed, let alone how they might go about doing it..
- Paul Johnson, The Times
Out of the window went every ounce of compassion and thoughtfulness and in came the clichés, the crazed maniac theories.
Oh come on, I hear people say, he had to have a screw loose to fly a plane into a mountain.
To which the answer is: there had to be something very wrong to make him do that. But being depressed or losing your girlfriend or suffering burn-out six years ago doesn't cut it. Anyone with an ounce of sense must realise that there has to be more behind this.
- Another chance to get it right, another chance taken to get it wrong
Comment archive, 2015
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Prince Charles's letters
Cameron's exit strategy
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Minor party leaders
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