Image credit: Chatham House (CC-BY)
The Guardian’s leader on the election:
The Conservatives do not deserve our vote. Their claim that they will use the power of the state to help people and promise to raise the living wage, build affordable housing and deal with spiralling energy prices is a welcome development but one not matched by their policies. Their uncosted manifesto is a diversion from the consistently callous and negligent record in office. This has seen food banks become a feature of our communities, seen school budgets cut for the first time for 20 years and left patients waiting longer than ever in hospitals that are mired in deficits. Tory economics has created a new working class of people with jobs but in poverty. Instead of being serious about rebuilding the public finances without loading the costs on to the poor, the Tory party wants to bring back foxhunting and ask new mothers who have been raped for verification if they wish to claim benefits for more than two children.
But Labour’s leader has had a good campaign. He has been energetic and effective on the stump, comfortable in his own skin and in the presence of others. He clearly likes people and is interested in them. He has generated an unfamiliar sense of the possible; once again, people are excited by politics. The campaign itself has been unexpectedly strategic, based on a manifesto adroitly pitched both at energising Labour’s base and the under-35s, who have responded with rare enthusiasm. That manifesto quickened political pulses. It’s not perfect – it over-emphasises the state and fails to tackle Tory benefit cuts – but it is a genuine attempt to address a failing social and economic model. In many ways, it is a painful reminder of how much of our collective sense of social justice and community spirit has been lost since 2010. Labour has set the terms of the political debate: most notably with a Keynesian response of increasing public investment, and increasing public spending financed by higher taxes, to stimulate the economy so that the country ends up wealthier than anything proposed under Tory plans.