Thursday, 7 May 2015

Party like its 1992..

John Major has come out to bat for his party on the final day of campaigning, writing in today's Telegraph that a minority Labour government propped up by the Scottish nationalists would seek to "divide and rule" and "turn rich against poor, north against south, worker against boss". The former Tory premier's stark message is our front page splash today: "Nightmare on Downing Street". 

David Cameron's team will be pleased to have him urging the "open-minded, generous-spirited and compassionate" people of Britain to "oppose" Labour and the SNP. However, Tory HQ will be less happy with the Daily Mirror obtaining a recording of the elder statesman warning that Britain "has a pretty substantial underclass" and "four of the poorest areas in Europe". Sir John's remarks will be especially galling since, as party leader, he served as the Tory personification of social mobility. "What do the Conservative Party offer a working class kid from Brixton?" a 1992 election poster asked. "They made him Prime Minister".

As one former party leader returns, Neil Kinnock has popped up with advice for Ed Miliband based on his experience of the 1992 election, when Major pulled off a shock election victory thanks to "shy" Tory voters who had not been telling pollsters they would back him. The former Labour leader has told the New Statesman that the "shy Tory" group remains a "danger", lamenting: "People who tell pollsters that they're not sure, or they're not going to vote Conservative, will, in the privacy of the ballot booth, say: 'To hell with it, I'll stick with what I know because they say they're going to cut my taxes' – even when their record is, of course, to have put taxes up."

If Ed Miliband becomes Prime Minister, Lord Kinnock suggested that he would oversee a minority government and be required to "gather majorities for specific issues". He touches on what looks like a brewing battle about the legitimacy of any post-election deal between the parties, as the bookmakers predict the Conservatives will win the most seats, with Labour coming in second place. David Cameron will declare election victory on Friday morning even if he falls short of a majority, Matthew Holehouse reports, while Ed Miliband is threatening to force his resignation by voting down a Queen's Speech in the weeks that followed. If Labour wins fewer seats than the Tories, but gets more votes, as seen in previous elections like 1951, who has the clearest right to govern? 

Despite the sustained Conservative offensive, the polls have barely moved, with the two main parties stuck at around 33-34%. However, Tory strategists hope that voters who have been tempted by Labour, and may even have told pollsters they would vote for Ed Miliband's party, will - akin to 1992 - shy away from doing so when they're in the polling booth and back the blue team. This election battle could go down to the wire.


Nick Clegg has warned that there will be a second election before Christmas if the Liberal Democrats are not part of the next government, Ben Riley-Smith reports. This contrasts with his stance back in April, when he told reporters the chances of a second election were "very remote". Would Lib Dems allow Clegg to make a new deal with the Tories, or would they prefer him to work with Labour? I've been asking around

The Lib Dem leader has worked hard to keep his party in the national conversation, as he has talked of his red lines for any future coalition talks, and likes to claim no-one will win this election. Is Clegg's sober realism a deliberate tactic? I've heard that he was advised by a senior Lib Dem, "a fan of emotive phrases", to adopt Barack Obama's "Yes We Can" mantra as a way to stir up activists at the party's spring conference, but decided against it. 


Ed Miliband may break the pledges he set in stone, Labour's campaign vice-chair has admitted. Lucy Powell, one of Mr Miliband's closest allies, said she did not think anyone was suggesting "that the fact he's carved them in stone means... he's absolutely... not going to break them". Emily Gosden has more


Chuka Umunna has dismissed John Major's warning of "mayhem" if Labour gets back into Downing Street, pointing to the battles he had with his own backbenchers in the 1990s over Europe. The shadow business secretary told City AM:  "A lot of the guys who caused all the problems back then are still around now, and they are primed and ready to strike". Meanwhile, the Lib Dems seem to have cooled on David Cameron's pledge to have an EU referendum pledge by 2017, with Vince Cable saying in an LBC debate last night: "I find it difficult to see that we could operate in a Government which regarded this as the central issue of the day."


ITV has dug up footage of a young Ed Miliband, or, as he styled himself, Ted Miliband - leading a rent strike on behalf of Oxford students in the spring of 1991. Keeping with the nostalgia, BuzzFeed has found some old news reports and letters written by 'Ted'. 


A Ukip parliamentary candidate has been suspended from the party after he was filmed threatening to "put a bullet between the eyes" of his Conservative rival, James Rothwell reports. Meanwhile, the Ukip candidate in Tony Blair's old constituency of Sedgefield has sparked outrage, the Daily Mirror reports, by saying columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown "would love a big black thing up her a***".

On top of this, some Ukip parliamentary candidates have suggested they believe 9/11 was a hoax, claimed the British government was to blame for the July 7 London bombings, and refused to condemn those traveling to live in the so-called Islamic State. These candidates shared their bizarre conspiracy theories with the Daily Beast's Nico Hines.


Ed Miliband's economic credibility has been questioned again as he repeatedly refuted an analysis from Britain's most respected economic forecaster that Labour will borrow more than the Conservatives. The Labour leader repeatedly denied the accuracy of an analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, which has warned that debt will increase under Labour. Chris Hope has more


Who's going to win the 2015 general election? What sort of coalition, if we get a hung parliament, will emerge? According to the betting markets, the chances of the various outcomes, as implied by the latest odds from Betfair, are as follows: Lab minority: 32.1% - Con minority: 16.3% - Con-Lib Dem coalition: 22.4% - Con majority: 7.8% - Lab-Lib Dem coalition: 11.5% - Any other government/coalition: 7.8% - Lab majority: 0.7% - Con-Ukip coalition: 1.4%.


A Conservative candidate has advised campaigners to "always" proof-read their campaign material after one of his leaflets accidentally urged people to vote on "erection day". James Duddridge, who was Conservative MP for Rochford and Southend East in the last parliament and is re-standing at the election, posted a picture of the saucy typo on his Twitter account.


Former Tory leader William Hague gave his backing today to Wirral West candidate Esther McVey as a future prime minister. Asked about whether the welfare minister, who has previously expressed her interest in the top job, could make the cut, he told the Liverpool Echo: "The sky's the limit with Esther".


The Conservatives have been accused by a heckler of stirring up racism after claiming a Labour/SNP deal would result in chaos and an "ajockalypse". David Cameron insisted there was "momentum" behind his party's campaign but his speech to cheering activists in south-west London was marred by a heckler who was ejected from the venue. You can watch the confrontation here. "At least – unlike other political opponents of the SNP, Mr Cameron wasn't called "scum" or a "traitor", or forced to abandon his rally altogether, so on the whole he got off lightly," says our sketchwriter Michael Deacon.


The Bow Group's chairman Ben Harris-Quinney is facing an increasing backlash after suggesting Tory supporters should tactically vote Ukip. The think-tank's patrons Michael Heseltine, Michael Howard, Norman Lamont and Nirj Deva MEP distanced themselves from his latest message, and now he has been torn apart by Andrew Neil on the Daily Politics.


Former Tory defence secretary Liam Fox has fired back at two former chancellors who criticised David Cameron ahead of the tightest election in decades. After Nigel Lawson and Ken Clarke questioned the Tory leader's election pledges, Dr Fox told the Evening Standard that they were treating the intense 2015 battle like an internal "debating society".


British expats around the world have complained that they've not received their ballot papers in time for their postal votes to count in the general election, Elizabeth Roberts reports. Reports from as far afield as France, Brazil and the United States emerged this week of the problem, which has left expats "damn cheesed off" according to one campaigner.


So who was it that Alex Salmond was pictured feeding a Solero to back in 1999, and how did the picture come to be taken in the first place? The Herald's Daniel Sanderson has the scoop out the identity of 'Solero girl', as she has come to be known since the photograph went viral after resurfacing on the Buzzfeed. He has also found out that she doesn't even like Soleros. She prefers Zooms. 


Not sure who to vote for in tomorrow's election? You can use our quick and easy Vote Match app to help you find the party that best matches your views. The results may surprise you...


Average of polls as of Tuesday, May 5: Lab: 33%, Conservative: 34.2%, UKIP 13.3%, Lib Dem 8.9%, Green 5%. The data is from: YouGov, Populus, Opinium, ComRes, Survation, Ipsos MORI, ICM, TNS-BMRB. 


@MSmithsonPB: Exactly 4 years ago Britain voted by 2 to 1 against AV thus retaining FPTP which was said to give clearer cut general election outcomes


From The Telegraph

Sir John Major - Labour has always wrecked the economy

Charlotte Leslie - Vandals attacked my parents' property – all because I'm a Tory MP

From elsewhere

Rafael Behr - The election aftermath will be a delicate moment for British democracy

Matthew Taylor - Whoever wins, the future's lost


Final day of campaigning before the General Election

08:30 Ukip Deputy chairman Suzanne Evans and Ukip Economy Spokesman Patrick O'Flynn will host the final press briefing ahead of the election with key messaging on hopes and expectations

08:30 Ed Miliband on Radio 5 Live

08:30 Former cabinet secretary Gus O'Donnell on Today programme

09:30 Boris Johnson on LBC Radio 

11:00 Jim Murphy visits a nursery in Greenock, Renfrewshire

12:00 Nicola Sturgeon at FMQs

14:00 BBC2: Daily Politics Election Debates' conclude with trust in politics 

Ed Miliband begins day in Leeds, election rally, also Leeds 8pm

Cameron in North West, Scotland


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