How many UK titles have endorsed Romney? None

It's a landslide victory for Obama on Fleet Street.

Iain Duncan Smith last night declared that the "the demonisation" of Mitt Romney by the UK press had been "appalling" and, whether or not one agrees with the Work and Pensions Secretary, it's striking that not a single British title has endorsed the Republican candidate.

While it's unsurprising that left-leaning papers like the Guardian and the Independent have cast their imaginary ballots for Barack Obama (as the New Statesman did), it's notable that the Times, the Financial Times and the Economist (all of which endorsed the Conservatives at the last election) have also urged US voters to re-elect the President. Even those titles that might have been expected to endorse Romney, such as the Spectator and the Daily Telegraph, have avoided explicitly doing so, preferring to criticise Obama and praise the wider US right.

Whatever the outcome of tomorrow's election (and the swing state polls point to a near-certain victory for Obama), on Fleet Street, at least, it's a landslide for Obama.

For Obama

Mr Obama stands in a noble liberal tradition that supports an active state as a precondition for individual flourishing. His opponent, by contrast, stands for a shrivelled public realm in which the market rules all and the poor are treated with contempt. In order that the former vision may triumph, Mr Obama must be returned as president on 6 November and Mr Romney decisively rejected.

(New Statesman)

Mr Obama’s first term has not been an unbridled success by any means but his response to Hurricane Sandy has shown that Mr Obama has the bearing and mettle of a president.

Mr Obama still commands great goodwill in the world and can stand on his economic record, given a very difficult inheritance. He deserves a second term.

(Times) (£)

For all his shortcomings, Mr Obama has dragged America’s economy back from the brink of disaster, and has made a decent fist of foreign policy. So this newspaper would stick with the devil it knows, and re-elect him.

(Economist)

This is America's election, not ours, and some Americans think the rest of us have no right to an opinion. But our part of the world is clear that it prefers Mr Obama to have four more years in the White House and on Tuesday we hope that Americans will use their votes to ensure that he does.

(Guardian)

The candidate best equipped for the challenging period ahead is Barack Obama. While his campaign has hardly been inspiring, he remains a thoughtful figure who has taken his responsibilities with a seriousness absent from the Bush years.

(Observer)

Obama has shown that purposeful government can be part of the solution rather than the problem. Four years on from the financial crisis, with extreme inequality an affront to the American dream, there remains a need for intelligent, reformist governance. Mr Obama, his presidency defined by the economic crisis, looks the better choice.

(Financial Times)

Yes, we hope that Barack Obama is re-elected to the world's most powerful position. He is the cooler head and the safer pair of hands. But, if we wish his success, it is not only because his financial policies are more beneficial for the international economy as a whole, and his judgement on foreign ventures more sound. It is also because we still harbour the hope that he could yet change the world for the better.

(Independent)

As for Mr Obama, the naive emotion of the "hopey, changey thing" should give way to a clear-eyed yet enthusiastic endorsement. It would be in the interest of the US and the world if American voters re-elected their President.

(Independent on Sunday)

For the US right

The Tea Party movement may be rough around the edges, but within it is an authentically American protest at the encroachment of big government on individual liberty. Whatever happens on Tuesday, the future of the American right looks bright.

(Spectator)

For neither

Whatever else it is, America remains the most diverse, the most free, the most entrepreneurial and the most successful nation in history. Whether it is Mitt Romney or Barack Obama who ends up in the White House, only a fool would bet against the country he leads.

(Daily Telegraph)

A troubled world still looks to America for leadership, both in terms of economics and on issues of peace and war. What a shame, then, that this election has been fought more on matters of class and character than on policy and principle.

(Sunday Telegraph)

For Romney

None.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney holds a rally in Cleveland, Ohio. Photograph: Getty Images.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

Daily Mail
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Who "speaks for England" - and for that matter, what is "England"?

The Hollywood producer Sam Gold­wyn once demanded, “Let’s have some new clichés.” The Daily Mail, however, is always happiest with the old ones.

The Hollywood producer Sam Gold­wyn once demanded, “Let’s have some new clichés.” The Daily Mail, however, is always happiest with the old ones. It trotted out Leo Amery’s House of Commons call from September 1939, “Speak for England”, for the headline on a deranged leader that filled a picture-free front page on David Cameron’s “deal” to keep Britain in the EU.

Demands that somebody or other speak for England have followed thick and fast ever since Amery addressed his call to Labour’s Arthur Greenwood when Neville Chamberlain was still dithering over war with Hitler. Tory MPs shouted, “Speak for England!” when Michael Foot, the then Labour leader, rose in the Commons in 1982 after Argentina’s invasion of the Falklands. The Mail columnist Andrew Alexander called on Clare Short to “speak for England” over the Iraq War in 2003. “Can [Ed] Miliband speak for England?” Anthony Barnett asked in this very magazine in 2013. (Judging by the 2015 election result, one would say not.) “I speak for England,” claimed John Redwood last year. “Labour must speak for England,” countered Frank Field soon afterwards.

The Mail’s invocation of Amery was misconceived for two reasons. First, Amery wanted us to wage war in Europe in support of Hitler’s victims in Poland and elsewhere and in alliance with France, not to isolate ourselves from the continent. Second, “speak for England” in recent years has been used in support of “English votes for English laws”, following proposals for further devolution to Scotland. As the Mail was among the most adamant in demanding that Scots keep their noses out of English affairs, it’s a bit rich of it now to state “of course, by ‘England’. . . we mean the whole of the United Kingdom”.

 

EU immemorial

The Mail is also wrong in arguing that “we are at a crossroads in our island history”. The suggestion that the choice is between “submitting to a statist, unelected bureaucracy in Brussels” and reclaiming our ancient island liberties is pure nonsense. In the long run, withdrawing from the EU will make little difference. Levels of immigration will be determined, as they always have been, mainly by employers’ demands for labour and the difficulties of policing the borders of a country that has become a leading international transport hub. The terms on which we continue to trade with EU members will be determined largely by unelected bureaucrats in Brussels after discussions with unelected bureaucrats in London.

The British are bored by the EU and the interminable Westminster arguments. If voters support Brexit, it will probably be because they then expect to hear no more on the subject. They will be sadly mistaken. The withdrawal negotiations will take years, with the Farages and Duncan Smiths still foaming at the mouth, Cameron still claiming phoney victories and Angela Merkel, François Hollande and the dreaded Jean-Claude Juncker playing a bigger part in our lives than ever.

 

An empty cabinet

Meanwhile, one wonders what has become of Jeremy Corbyn or, indeed, the rest of the shadow cabinet. The Mail’s “speak for England” leader excoriated him for not mentioning “the Number One subject of the hour” at PM’s Questions but instead asking about a shortage of therapeutic radiographers in the NHS. In fact, the NHS’s problems – almost wholly caused by Tory “reforms” and spending cuts – would concern more people than does our future in the EU. But radiographers are hardly headline news, and Corbyn and his team seem unable to get anything into the nation’s “any other business”, never mind to the top of its agenda.

Public services deteriorate by the day, George Osborne’s fiscal plans look increasingly awry, and attempts to wring tax receipts out of big corporations appear hopelessly inadequate. Yet since Christmas I have hardly seen a shadow minister featured in the papers or spotted one on TV, except to say something about Trident, another subject that most voters don’t care about.

 

Incurable prose

According to the Guardian’s admirable but (let’s be honest) rather tedious series celeb­rating the NHS, a US health-care firm has advised investors that “privatisation of the UK marketplace . . . should create organic and de novo opportunities”. I have no idea what this means, though it sounds ominous. But I am quite certain I don’t want my local hospital or GP practice run by people who write prose like that.

 

Fashionable Foxes

My home-town football team, Leicester City, are normally so unfashionable that they’re not even fashionable in Leicester, where the smart set mostly watch the rugby union team Leicester Tigers. Even when they installed themselves near the top of the Premier League before Christmas, newspapers scarcely noticed them.

Now, with the Foxes five points clear at the top and 7-4 favourites for their first title, that mistake is corrected and the sports pages are running out of superlatives, a comparison with Barcelona being the most improbable. Even I, not a football enthusiast, have watched a few matches. If more football were played as Leicester play it – moving at speed towards their opponents’ goal rather than aimlessly weaving pretty patterns in midfield – I would watch the game more.

Nevertheless, I recall 1963, when Leicester headed the old First Division with five games to play. They picked up only one more point and finished fourth, nine points adrift of the league winners, Everton.

 

Gum unstuck

No, I don’t chew toothpaste to stop me smoking, as the last week’s column strangely suggested. I chew Nicorette gum, a reference written at some stage but somehow lost (probably by me) before it reached print.

Editor: The chief sub apologises for this mistake, which was hers

Peter Wilby was editor of the Independent on Sunday from 1995 to 1996 and of the New Statesman from 1998 to 2005. He writes the weekly First Thoughts column for the NS.

This article first appeared in the 11 February 2016 issue of the New Statesman, The legacy of Europe's worst battle