— The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. —
Some political observers fret over the paucity of policy initiatives emerging from Britain’s two main political parties ahead of a general election expected on May 6, as pre-election rhetoric turns its focus toward the possibility of a hung parliament.
There is a divisive election ahead for Britain, the threat of a ratings downgrade on its sovereign debt and a deficit that has ballooned into the largest by percentage of any major economy. UK stocks, bonds and sterling, however, are trundling along as if all were well. What gives?
As political parties step up their campaigning ahead of a general election due by June 2010, voters need to know exactly how politicians plan to tackle a projected deficit of 175 billion pounds, says Stephen Herring, senior tax partner at accountancy firm BDO LLP.
-Justin Fisher is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Magna Carta Institute at Brunel University. The opinions expressed are his own.-
The Conservatives might be wishing they could have held their party conference before Labour.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown's address to his party conference in Brighton on Tuesday has thrown down a flood of new ideas, policies and initiatives from faster cancer diagnosis to choosing how Britain votes in what read more like an mini-election manifesto than a speech.
Brown played to his strengths (policy) and avoided trying to overcome his well-known weaknesses (not much of a political entertainer) in public. Trying to be someone else could have been a disaster for a man way behind in the polls to the Conservatives.
Whether it will be enough to make any difference to the polls remains to be seen -- Labour needs a miracle there after all.
But, for now, going for the policy jugular seems to have done the trick -- giving his browbeaten party something to get excited about and hitting the Conservatives where it hurts.
David Cameron's Conservatives have been accused of not giving enough detail on how they would govern the country if the polls are correct and they are to win power next year.
They will have to start showing their hand soon if they are going to convince voters that they have the ideas to run the country and aren't just a vote for change for the sake of it.