Politics Summary: Friday, April 30th

Brown implores voters not to risk recovery in final tv pitch

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Gordon Brown acknowledged that David Cameron could be prime minister this time next week as he pleaded with voters not to put the recovery at risk in last night’s final tv debate. An instant post-debate poll of polls gave victory to Cameron (38%) followed by Nick Clegg (32%) and the pm (26%). The Standard reports the prime minister’s rallying cries to supporters after the debate: “From now until next Thursday we have got to campaign like we have never campaigned before.” The reports adds that Tony Blair is “expected to enter the fray for the first time” in the final week of the campaign; “he is expected to visit a constituency in London ahead of other visits in the UK next week.”

The nationals, as expected, go along party lines, The Times saying “Brown falls short as rivals left neck and neck”; the Telegraph: “Cameron saves best for last”; The Guardian: “Cameron comes out top – but Brown battles on”; the Mail: “Victory for Cameron in final TV debate as he turns his fire on Clegg”; The Sun: “Scrambled Clegg & Toast”; and the Mirror: “David Cameron plays slippery salesman in final leaders’ debate”. The Express, however, leads on something entirely different: “Euro court hands our benefits to terrorists”.

With the polls giving last night’s debate to Cameron, the commentators offer a similar view. In The Guardian, Michael White scores it Cameron (8/10), then Clegg (7/10) and Brown (6/10) – while Jonathan Freedland says that “barring an earthquake, David Cameron is on his way to No 10”: “The headlines that Brown needed from the BBC showdown in Birmingham were the kind that Clegg garnered two long weeks ago in Manchester… He needed to wield that great clunking fist and knock his two younger rivals to the floor, pounding them with such a virtuoso display of economic gravitas that the pair would be reduced to looking like jibbering, barely numerate novices. That was the stuff of Labour fantasies. And fantasies they remained… Pressed on both sides was a sweaty-looking Clegg. His holier-than-the-other-two act felt a little tired third time around. He survived the tag-team attack on him on immigration, but being on the defensive prevented him shining the way he had a fortnight ago.” In The Independent, Johann Hari writes that “Cameron is concealing his inner Bush”: “He has shown his party has changed. He puts his black and Asian supporters out front. He promises to ‘unleash’ the potential ‘of volunteers to … change our country’. This time, he says, his party ‘will be different’. It is the year 2000, and his name is George W Bush. It’s no surprise to discover that George Osborne said in 2002 that ‘we have much to learn from Bush’s compassionate conservatism’. They are following the Bush script to the mis-spelled letter.” And Steve Richards concludes that “voters are starting to make up their minds. Clegg was the winner when all three are considered. Cameron has cause for optimism and these are very dangerous days for Brown and his party”.

On the key theme of last night’s debate – the economy – the Telegraph reports that the three party leaders have finally “come clean on cuts”. All three leaders agreed that “there will be cuts; it will be tough”, their initial statements all emerging from “the same pool of aspirations… ‘difficult decisions’, ‘change’, ‘must start manufacturing things again’, ‘better value from public services’ and ‘bank levy’… The more one examines the policies, the less difference there seems to be”. The report ends with Mervyn King’s warning that “the winner of the election could find themselves catapulted out of power for a generation after trying to impose said cuts… Which raises the question: why do they want the job?” Sticking with the economy, The Times reports the Chancellor’s claim that the Tories “got it wrong” over the bank bail-out. Alistair Darling said that unemployment in Britain would have been 1.7 million higher than it is at present if the Conservatives had been in power, “if the Tories had been calling the shots”.

The story about Mrs Duffy, meanwhile, continues to receive coverage, with The Independent reporting how she “refused to dance to the anti-Brown tune played by The Sun”. The newspaper tried to “buy up” Mrs Duffy in a day of “cloak-and-dagger manoeuvres” says the Indy. Mrs Duffy “turned down the chance to make a small fortune from selling her story to The Sun because the newspaper wanted her to say things she did not believe. The offer was made during a classic newspaper attempt at a “buy up”, conducted in cloak-and-dagger style only hours after Mrs Duffy’s chance encounter with the Prime Minister had made her a media star”. The Indy reports how “an intrepid Sun reporter, Richard Moriarty, and a photographer, Jimmy Clark, were clambering across hedge and fence in failing light to sneak in through the back garden, unseen by their commercial rivals… around 8pm, Moriarty rejoined his colleagues. According to one, he looked ‘sheepish’. The deal with The Sun had fallen through… There was speculation yesterday that The Sun had offered Mrs Duffy £50,000, or even £75,000 for her story.” The report adds that, if Mrs Duffy wished to, “she could get £250,000 from the combination of a newspaper buy-up and subsequent magazine and television interviews”.

Away from the election, one of the main stories is the ecological disaster unfolding off the US coast. The Guardian reports that Louisiana has declared “a state of emergency” following news that oil from the stricken rig Deepwater Horizon has “hit the mouth of the Mississipi”: “Yesterday the coastguard said up to 5,000 barrels a day were flowing into the sea – five times the rate previously estimated – as an assistant chief at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) said he was ‘frightened for the country’.” The Telegraph says the vast oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico “could prove to be the worst offshore spill in history”: “US officials said five times as much oil as previously thought was leaking from a ruptured BP well… The slick is estimated to cover an area 105 miles by 45 miles, or 4,700 square miles, making it one of the biggest oil spills in history.” And The Times reports how “the massive oil spill pouring from a ruptured oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico has reached the coast of Louisiana, threatening an environmental catastrophe in the region. The first fingers of oily sheen reached the mouth of the Mississippi River on Thursday evening local time, 24 hours ahead of previous estimates by the US Coast Guard.”

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22 Responses to “Politics Summary: Friday, April 30th”

  1. House Of Twits

    RT @leftfootfwd Politics Summary: http://bit.ly/bNky7Q – Brown implores voters not to risk recovery in final tv pitch

  2. Billy Blofeld

    Gordon Brown was never going to win an economic debate. He has tanked the economy.

    Browns policies are all designed to make a virtue out of his mistakes when he was Chancellor. He overspent the budget when he ran the Treasury, thus now he has tried to make over-spending a virtue. This is why Brown banged on about economic stimulus and now tries to frighten people about cuts.

    Brown’s current economic policies are not in the best interests of the country, they are in the best interests of a certain Mr G.Brown.

    Brown will go down in history as one of the most dangerous Chancellors in history and also the worst Prime Minister we have ever had.

  3. Robert

    I’ve just been told labour is to dump the working class to aim for the middle England vote, but I thought they did this in 1997.

    Labour plans for middle England was plain to see with brown kicking the 10p tax band into touch and giving a tax cut to middle England people like Ms Duffy who are labour working class are now the dregs of browns new labour society.

    I’m working class stock, my great great grand father started a Union at his mine was sacked and never worked again, my great grand father lost a leg down a mine he was die hard labour, my old man would turn over in his grave if I voted Tory, but thats what I’ve got to do, because labour has cut my benefits to the bone, being Paraplegic the chance of me finding work as I’ve seen over the last five years is zero.

    Labour have stated they will cut Disability living allowance to the over sixty fives why are you hitting the disabled, he said it will save the country £8 billion.

    I do not know labour is not my party anymore, it should be put down because it’s not been a great party in the old days it did sod all for people, DLA is a benefit for the sick and the disabled it was given to us by Thatcher and removed by labour the party of whom, who do labour stand for it’s not me or people like me.

  4. Stephen

    ‘Labour have stated they will cut Disability living allowance to the over sixty fives why are you hitting the disabled, he said it will save the country £8 billion’

    Really? Where?

    Labour has cut benefits for paraplegics to the bone? Really?

    obvious troll is obvious.

  5. Liz McShane

    Billy – I disagree with you on Gordon’s handling of the economy especially through the last 18 months of turbulence. He set the precedence of taking control of failing banks which other leading economies followed. The Tories had no idea, plans for getting us through it. Most people in the city are scared to the back teeth of George Osborne as Chancellor.

  6. Liz McShane

    Cameron also need to do a crash course in economics/finance as he obviously thinks retail banks & merchant banks are the same thing……..

  7. Anon E Mouse

    Liz – Last night was a horrendous car crash for Gordon Brown and the Labour Party and he has left Britain with enormous debts – Britain’s worst ever chancellor for selling the gold at a historic low.

    This time next week the electorate will speak and the deceit and lies from this useless vote-losing unelected fool will land the Labour Party in years of electoral oblivion.

    In some ways it will be great – no more Yvette Cooper, Ed Balls, Mandelson, Byrne, Harman and the terminally useless Milibands on TV – but for democracy it will be a choice between a right wing government, the Tories and left wing idiots, the Lib-Dems.

    Browns terrible performance with his negative remarks and that stupid grin at the end serve only to remind people why unelected Prime Ministers will be banned by new legislation from Cameron.

    Before all the usual Labour excuse merchants on this blog – you know who you are – start jumping up and down and screeching about party politics I voted for Tony FULL THIRD TERM Blair not this idiot.

    And anyone who has excused his behaviour over the last few months should think long and hard about what you’ve done to the Labour Party. As far as I’m concerned you Brown supporters should hang your heads in shame than clear off and start a new party because Labour does not need you.

    Last night was a VERY bad night for Labour…

  8. Liz McShane

    Anon – just let’s see what actually happens next week. Some people think that Blair has questions to answer for. I don’t know who will be left in the Labour Party of your dreams considering all the MPs that you hope don’t get re-elected. I would be really interested to know what your vision is for the Labour Party and what you are going to do about. I am all ears!

  9. Anon E Mouse

    Liz – My vision is an honest party that gets back to representing the working class in this country – I want Alan Johnson or thinkers like Charles Clarke – real people.

    Can you honestly tell me who Peter Mandelson represents Liz?

    How many factory workers in this country will be driven away from Labour hearing him justifying bailing out the banks or “Gordon is great blah blah”.

    The party should be there to act for people who are unable to help themselves, (like unions used to do) otherwise what’s the point of a Labour party in 2010?

    If I wanted to support big business I’d vote Tory. If I wanted to waste a vote on childish ideas I’d vote Lib Dem.

    There is no point in Labour any more Liz and the Brown excuse merchants on this and other blogs serve only to do the opposition’s job for them. Every time you read this blog and read a childish sixth form student type headline like “Climate Denier Unmasked” and the like, remember that space could have provided a positive pro Labour message. All that happens with those silly divisive articles is you just alienate traditional supporters like myself.

    Remember the core working class Labour vote went once big industrial workplaces were closed and the moderators on this blog should stop being reactive and attempt to work to make Labour electable – which, from every poll I’ve seen, they most certainly are not.

    I think Labour was finished with New Labour (who I voted for) and Tony Blair knew it – that’s why they became more right wing and warmongering than the Tories ever were.

    The Tories went left – Labour’s last gasp was to move right and in doing so they killed the final old traditional voters like myself and my family.

    When people on this blog seem unable to comprehend things that are true it is hard to understand why they don’t just bugger off and form their own new party – I don’t know the Truth Denial Party or whatever.

    In any event Labour has forced an unelected buffoon on this country and then can’t understand why we, the public are so angry.

    Did you know the Tories came first in the popular vote in Wales at the Europeans? Read that slowly whilst watching Gordon Brown smirking after his apology to Mrs Duffy and you’ll understand why…

  10. Anon E Mouse

    Liz – A local independent candidate, Fred Wildgust, says BIGOT stands for Brown Is Gone On Thursday…

    Now that’s clever!

  11. Kurt

    Politics Summary: Friday, April 30th | Left Foot Forward http://bit.ly/9FZBNx

  12. Liz McShane

    Anon – good but tell Fred to also look up the word in the OED or similar….. I am still looking forward to you sharing your thoughts with me…..

  13. VoteViteVoteForNigelBarton

    ‘ve been thinking that watching this election campaign has been like looking at a car crash in slow motion. And now there’s been a real one.

    Prediction: Tories win most seats. Clegg says he’s willing to form a coalition with Labour if Brown resigns. Brown refuses to go. Clegg endorses Cameron. Five to ten years of Thatcherite hell.

  14. Anon E Mouse

    VoteViteVoteForNigelBarton – Agree on Tories with most seats and with the despicable way that Labour have behaved in the last couple of years the seat count is *really* going to get hit…

    Could be worse than 5 to 10 years I fear with the way Labour have treated the electorate…

  15. Mr. Sensible

    Mr Mouse, as Liz says I don’t think we should try to second guess what voters are going to do.

    As for the banks, are you honestly saying you would have allowed customers to lose their savings?

    We have to get a new regulatory regime in, and I think that can happen.

    I notice that the BNP leader has made a gaff:

    Elsewhere, I wonder what LFF thinks of the Peter Harvey case?

  16. Liz McShane

    Anon – have you forgotten the positive things that Labour have done during the last 13 years…?
    I was at a an event recently and David Miliband reminded us that in 1997 some state primary schools still had outside loos under the Conservatives – now what does that say about The Tories and their commitment and ethos towards public services & their view of society?

    Mehdi Hasan on The NS lists them very effectively :

  17. Mr. Sensible

    Well I never knew that Liz; they say you learn something every day!

    Pun not intended, I promise!

  18. Liz McShane

    Mr S – neither did I and it really was a stark reminder of the Tories and what they stand for and where their priorities lie.

  19. Mr. Sensible

    I believe Mr Mouse mentioned the Tory idea of forcing an election 6 months after a change of PM.

    Talk about making things more presidencial; what’s the point? It’s the same party in government, after all.

  20. Liz McShane

    Mr S.- when Labour came in in 1997 another legacy of the Tories was that some people were being paid £1.50 p/h and that was on their pay slips so all above board & legal (see Chris Mullin’s diaries)…..Thank God for the minimum wage, which the Toris & CBI were hostile too.

  21. Alexandra Cooper

    the oil spill in Mexico would surely be one of the greatest environmental disasters for this year.,;:

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