Thursday, April 29, 2010

UK election: Economist backs Conservatives

The Economist has declared it is supporting the Conservatives winning the UK election. Why?

Well according to Conservative Home (which has a preview of tomorrow's editorial) on Labour:

"it praises Brown for keeping Britain out of the euro, yet on the economy states that "a prime minister should not get too much credit for climbing out of a hole he himself dug as chancellor", describing the budget deficit as a time-bomb which Brown is "ill equipped to defuse"."

Quite.

On the Liberal Democrats: "Whilst stating that it has been "looking for a credible liberal party in Britain for nigh on a century", it is swift to dismiss the Lib Dems with their enthusiasm for the euro, flirtation with scrapping our nuclear deterrent, desire to abolish tuition fees, opposition to nuclear power and policies on business which are "arguably to the left of Labour's": "Mr Clegg has been a delightful holiday romance for many Britons; but this newspaper does not fancy moving in with him for the next five years".

I suspect the TV debate tonight will see Clegg exposed on the LibDem past support for the Euro. The Liberal Party it is not.

So Conservatives? Hardly a ringing endorsement but it:

"praises David Cameron for modernising the party and stamping out social illiberalism. It also congratulates George Osborne for not giving in to the demands of the Right for tax cuts and for committing the party to an austerity programme

Stamping out isn't true, since there is little sign of tolerance on issues like drugs and censorship. Moreover, the Tories are supporting tax increases, on a more limited scale than Labour. The liberalism of the Economist isn't really holding true in ignoring this.

"More than their rivals, they are intent on redesigning the state. They would reform the NHS by bringing in more outside providers; their plans to give parents and teachers the right to set up schools are the most radical idea in this election. Centralisers under Margaret Thatcher, they now want to devolve power to locally elected officials, including mayors and police chiefs. Some of this is clouded in waffe about a Big Society. Other bits do not go far enough: it is foolish to rule out letting for-profit companies run schools and wrong to exempt the NHS from cuts. But Mr Cameron is much closer to answering the main question facing Britain than either of his rivals is. In this complicated, perhaps inevitably imperfect election, he would get our vote."

OK, the education policy IS worth a tick. That is about it. The insouciance about the failures of the entire NHS model is disappointing, and I don't trust locally elected officials more than centrally elected ones.

However, the endorsement is understandable. A clear Conservative victory is preferable to a hung Parliament or a Labour victory. A hung Parliament will inevitably mean electoral reform that will mostly favour statist parties like the Liberal Democrats, Greens and the BNP. Labour victory will simply be unjust.

1 comment:

Nick C said...

Im interested that you believe electoral reform will mostly favour statist parties (given the current system could give Labour the most seats in parliament despite coming third. Do you think there should be electoral reform in Britian, and if so what should happen?