“The battle is going to be between hope and fear”
So says George Osborne, as David Cameron churned out all of his choicest electoral enticements, talking of ‘renewal’ and a ‘fresh start’ for the country and offering a vision of ‘hope and optimism’.
It’s either that, or five more years of Gordon Brown.
Despite Nick Clegg’s delusional squarks, this election is a two-horse race: the choice is between the Labour Party and the Conservatives; that, for good or ill, is the electoral system we have and the political settlement which has evolved over the centuries. It may not be ideal, but we are stuck with it.
So, if you want to be rid of Gordon Brown, you must vote for David Cameron.
Except in Buckingham.
And a vote for any other party does indeed risk handing Gordon Brown victory.
Except in Buckingham.
And those who favour a hung parliament may well bequeath a perpetual Labour-LibDem coalition (a UK ‘Christian Democratic Party’) which will change the voting system to PR and put the Conservatives out of power in perpetuity. A hung parliament in which David Cameron won the most seats could still yield a Labour-LibDem coalition, leaving us with Gordon Brown as Prime Minister and Vince Cable as Chancellor of the Exchequer.
God preserve us.
David Cameron was right to state that this is ‘the most important election for a generation’. He said: “If you vote Conservative, you are voting for hope, you are voting for optimism, you are voting for change, you are voting for the fresh start this country — our country — so badly needs.”
And as these melodic cadences soared over the Thames, Gordon Brown clunked away with “I am not a team of one.”
And like a machine, he delivered his automated message: “Britain is on the road to recovery and nothing we do should put that recovery at risk. We will not allow 13 years of investment and reform in our public services, to build up the future of these great services, to be put at risk.”
He might as well have delivered a lecture about his neo-classical endogenous growth theory.
The fact is – and this is sometimes difficult for politicos and anoraks to grasp – that the vast majority of the electorate really don’t have a clue what our politicians are on about and millions do not care. It’s not that they are mentally deficient or apathetic (though they may be); it is that many of our politicians appear to be pathologically incapable of communicating in the vernacular, and they give the impression of living in a parallel universe.
So when Gordon Brown boasts of his ‘ordinary middle-class’ background, we may well wonder what is ‘ordinary’ or ‘middle class’ about him.
Few are really deluded into believing that Gordon Brown is anything but profoundly abnormal.
And the class swipe was nothing but inverted snobbery.
The people are really quite sick of being promised heaven on earth, only to realise that they have been inflicted with another five years of purgatory.
Perhaps a bit of limbo would be good for the politicians. It has been announced that the period between polling day and parliament's return is being doubled from the usual six to 12 days, apparently to give the parties extra time to thrash out any coalition deal.
The civil service expect a hung parliament.
Her Majesty has been briefed on her constitutional duties.
The reality is that David Cameron needs a swing of more than 7 per cent to win with a majority of just one. There is indeed an enormous mountain to climb: the last time the Conservatives won that many seats was in 1931.
To achieve this, he must be authentic: the people do not want another showman. He must engage honestly: the people do not want pretence and condescension. And he must talk about and offer credible policies upon real concerns: the people want to hear about lower taxes, controlled immigration, a properly-equipped military, better schools and hospitals and for the EU to get out of our face; not waffle about wind farms, cutting the number of MPs, ring-fencing NHS spending, ‘equality’ or ‘change’.
There is indeed a hope that the Conservatives will win.
But a very real fear that they may not.
Except, perhaps, in Buckingham.