United Kingdom: The New Labour era limps to a close

Do not ask for whom the bell tolls. Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, London.
Do not ask for whom the bell tolls. Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, London.
5 May 2010 – Financial Times (London)

With the 6 May general election, Britain looks likely to vote out a New Labour party exhausted by thirteen years in power. But neither the Conservatives, nor the dark horse Liberal Democrats seem to have a coherent game plan.

Politics ends in exhaustion. The end of the New Labour era is scored deep across Gordon Brown’s crumpled countenance. All that remains of the energy and excitement that swept the party to power 13 years ago is the mantra that David Cameron’s Conservatives would ruin things.

The votes have yet to be cast in Thursday’s general election. Until they are counted the prime minister will cling on to the hope that something might turn up. Perhaps Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats will indeed break Britain’s political duopoly – or at least deprive Mr Cameron of a governing majority. Maybe, just maybe, Labour could hold on in a coalition.

Mr Brown’s colleagues do not sound hopeful. Many are rehearsing the excuses for defeat. Some are laying plans for the blood-letting they expect to follow. Will the party swing left into the hands of Ed Balls, the prime minister’s long-time protégé? Or will David Miliband, the foreign secretary, keep it rooted in the politics of the centre left? Read full article in the Financial Times...

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