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.

Getty
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Levi Bellfield, Milly Dowler and the story of men’s violence against women and girls

Before she was so inextricably connected to the phone hacking scandal, Milly Dowler was one of many women maimed and killed by a violent man.

The name Milly Dowler has meant phone hacking since July 2011. The month before that, Levi Bellfield (already imprisoned for the murders of Marsha McDonnell and Amelie Delagrange, and the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy) had been convicted of killing her, nine years after her death. But almost immediately, she became the centrepiece of Nick Davies’s investigations into Fleet Street “dark arts”, when it was revealed that News of the World journalists had accessed her voicemail during the search for her.

Suddenly her peers were not McDonnell, Delagrange and Sheedy, but Hugh Grant, Leslie Ash, Sadie Frost, Jude Law. People she could only have known from TV, now her neighbours in newsprint. Victims of a common crime. She had attained a kind of awful fame, and remains much better known than McDonnell, Delagrange and Sheedy.

There is a reason for that: with Milly Dowler, there was hope of finding her alive. Weeks of it, the awful hope of not knowing, the dull months of probability weighing down, until finally, in September 2002, the body. McDonnell, Delagrange and Sheedy were attacked in public places and found before they were missed. It is not such an interesting story as the schoolgirl who vanishes from a street in daylight. Once there were some women, who were killed and maimed by a man. The end.

Even now that Bellfield has confessed to kidnapping, raping and killing Milly, it seems that some people would like to tell any story other than the one about the man who kidnaps, rapes, kills and maims girls and women. There is speculation about what could have made him the kind of monster he is. There must be some cause, and maybe that cause is female.

Detective Chief Inspector Colin Sutton (who worked on the McDonnell and Delagrange murders) has said insinuatingly that Bellfield “dotes on his mother and her on him. It's a troubling relationship.” But it was not Bellfield’s mother who kidnapped, raped, killed and maimed girls and women, of course. He did that, on his own, although he is not the first male killer to be extended the courtesy of blaming his female relatives.

Coverage of the Yorkshire Ripper accused his wife Sonia of driving him to murder. “I think when Sutcliffe attacked his 20 victims, he was attacking his wife 20 times in his head,” said a detective quoted in the Mirror, as if the crimes were not Sutcliffe’s responsibility but Sonia’s for dodging the violence properly due to her. Lady Lucan has been successfully cast by Lucan’s friends as “a nightmare” in order to foster sympathy for him – even though he systematically tried to drive her mad before he tried to kill her, and did kill their children’s nanny, Sandra Rivett. Cherchez la femme. Cherchez la mom.

I know little about Bellfield’s relationship with his mother, but one of his exes spoke about him earlier this year. Jo Colling told how he had terrorised her while they were together, and stalked her after she left. “When I knew he was with another woman and not coming home it was a relief, but now I know what he was capable of, I feel guilty,” she said. “I did get an injunction against him, but it only made him even angrier.”

Colling fears that she could have prevented Bellfield’s murders by going to the police with her suspicions earlier; but since the police couldn’t even protect her, it is hard to see what difference this could have made, besides exposing herself further to Bellfield’s rage. Once there was a woman who was raped, beaten and stalked by the man she lived with. The end. This is a dull story too: Colling’s victimisation is only considered worth telling because the man who victimised her also killed Milly Dowler. Apparently the torture of a woman is only really notable when the man who does it has committed an even more newsworthy crime.

Throughout his engagements with the legal system, Bellfield seems to have contrived to inflate his own importance. Excruciatingly, he withheld his confession to murdering Milly until last year, leaving her family in an agony of unknowing – and then drew the process out even further by implicating an accomplice, who turned out to have nothing at all to do with the crime. He appears to have made the performance into another way to exercise control over women, insisting that he would only speak to female officers about what he did to Milly.

It is good that there are answers for the Dowler family; it is terrible that getting them let Bellfield play at one more round of coercions. And for the rest of us, what does this new information tell us that shouldn’t already be obvious? The story of men’s violence against girls and women is too routine to catch our attention most of the time. One woman killed by a man every 2.9 days in the UK. 88,106 sexual offences in a year.

Once there were some girls and women, who were tortured, stalked, kidnapped, raped, killed and maimed by a man. Dowler, McDonnell, Delagrange, Sheedy, Colling. More, if new investigations lead to new convictions, as police think likely. All those girls and women, all victims of Levi Bellfield, all victims of a common crime that will not end until we pull the pieces together, and realise that the torture, the stalking, the kidnaps, the rapes, the killing and the maiming – all of them are connected by the same vicious logic of gender. Then, and only then, will be able to tell a different story. Then we will have a beginning.

Sarah Ditum is a journalist who writes regularly for the Guardian, New Statesman and others. Her website is here.