A Pre-Election Sunday Salmagundi

As (I hope) all of my multitudes of followers in the United Kingdom will know we have a General Election on Thursday (7th May). My further flung readers may not. So in recognition of this fact my irregular Sunday round up of news and opinion will be mainly about the who, what and why of Thursday’s stramash.
Working out exactly what this election is about has been difficult.

Huge issues that will confront the next government, whatever form it takes, have been missing from the campaign. Britain’s role in the world has barely been discussed and in so much as it has been debated it has been narrowed to an argument about whether you need four submarines or just the three to maintain a credible nuclear deterrent. The environment has hardly got a word in edgeways. The economy has been talked about a lot, but usually in superficialities. I hear everyone assert that we need a high-skills, high-wage, high-productivity economy; I hear precious little about where all these wonderful jobs are going to come from. How is Britain going to earn a successful living in the future? That most fundamental of questions remains unanswered. We are in a fog of uncertainty about what sort of country we will be living in. We cannot even be sure that this country will exist in five years’ time. Labour is locked in a desperate struggle for survival north of the Tweed against the rampant Scottish nationalists and has not the breath to spare to describe how it would remake the United Kingdom. The so-called Conservative and Unionist party has responded by colluding with the nationalists in stoking the grievances that are pulling the UK apart.

English Conservatism needs a makeover reckons Will Hutton, otherwise,:

Detached from Scotland, the England over which it aims to preside, never-endingly, will be a poisonous, inward-looking and mean-spirited place. It will be welcome only to the super-rich and their insider networks, denying the mass of English citizens the structures and institutions through which they can live the good lives to which they aspire.

The Britain I love – an outward-looking country that is tolerant, good-humoured, fair-minded and generous, and which, with some reforms, could become one of the most dynamic places to live in Europe – will have been expunged.

Beware the siren call of nationalism – both Scottish and English. says Nick Cohen.

On 16 February 1886, Lord Randolph Churchill confided a plan to destroy his Liberal opponents to the Conservative lawyer Gerald FitzGibbon. It was a risk, he implied. But if William Gladstone’s Liberal administration proposed home rule for Ireland, “the Orange card would be the one to play. Please God it may turn out to be the ace of trumps and not the two”.

David Cameron thinks he is a firefighter. Jack Monroe, who knows a bit about the Fire Service, begs to differ.

Let’s vote for hope over fear.

In the end, it boils down to this: do we want the UK to be a hopeful country or one scared of what lies beyond? I land on this stark question because arguments about everything else have reached stalemate. But a lot of us seem unable to make that one final decision, who to vote for, because we don’t want to be let down one more time. We’ve had enough, they’re all as bad as each other, a plague on all their beautifully maintained houses. It’s a chorus of negativism that’s so easy to join. I urge you not to join it.

But some things never change.

As per the above we do have a new princess to distract us.