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  1. Spotlight on Policy
  2. Elections
1 May 2010updated 27 Sep 2015 2:21am

The Guardian turns yellow, the Times blue

Those editorials -- abridged.

By Jon Bernstein

Of the four national newspapers that backed Tony Blair in 2005, only one will back Gordon Brown this time. The Sun abandoned Labour last autumn and today the Guardian and the Times do the same, putting their support behind the Liberal Democrats and the Tories, respectively.

In this unpredictable election campaign, one thing is certain — the Daily Mirror will stick with Brown.

There’s a certain formula to editorials of the sort the Guardian and the Times have written today. Both feature a laundry-list of achievements and failures across by all three parties. If you haven’t got time to read the two in full (coming in at a combined 3,600 words), here they are, in abridged form:

 

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Times

 

Likes Labour for:

  • delivering urban renewal and prosperity
  • introducing civil partnerships
  • military intervention for “noble principle” in Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and Iraq
  • handling of the banking crisis

Dislikes Labour for:

  • improvident public spending
  • savaging the private pensions industry
  • selling off Britain’s gold reserves “much too cheaply”
  • destroying trust in politics

Likes the Conservatives for:

  • promising to reduce the burden on enterprise and entrepreneurship
  • prioritising education, social policy and the environment
  • David Cameron’s “energy, intelligence and integrity”
  • “measured and intelligent” approach to immigration
  • its “bold vision” of the Big Society

Dislikes the Conservatives for:

  • a “worrying streak of pessimism” in its foreign policy
  • its decision to abandon mainstream centre-right parties in the EU
  • its promise to match Labour’s NHS spending
  • its desire to maintain the aid budget

Likes the Lib Dems for:

  • electrifying the election campaign

Dislikes the Lib Dems for:

  • its muddled policy on the euro
  • anti-business populism
  • promising to abandon Trident
  • promising to break up the banks

 

Guardian

 

Likes Labour for:

  • its “absolutely vital calls” during the financial crisis
  • the “salvation” of the health service
  • its “unmatched” record on poverty
  • major renovation of schools
  • the minimum wage
  • civil partnerships and the extension of protection for minority groups

Dislikes Labour for:

  • nurturing of the deregulatory system which contributed to the financial crisis
  • choosing to stick with Gordon Brown as leader
  • Brown’s inability to “articulate a vision, a plan, or an argument for the future”
  • its inaction over pensions, public debt and housing
  • its pursuit of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
  • its uncritical support of the United States and “mealy-mouthed” approach to Europe
  • encroachment on civil liberties
  • increased centralisation while promising constitutional change

Likes the Conservatives for:

  • David Cameron’s efforts to move the party to the centre ground
  • its modern thinking on civil liberty, the environment and aspects of social policy

Dislikes the Conservatives for its:

  • inability to translate this conversion into detailed policy
  • promise to rip up the Human Rights Act
  • hostility to electoral reform
  • alliances with some of Europe’s “wackier xenophobes”
  • climate change scepticism on the backbenches
  • muddled approach to the financial crisis
  • inheritance tax cuts for the very wealthy

Likes the Lib Dems for its:

  • commitment to electoral reform, political and constitutional reform
  • approach to civil liberties and criminal justice
  • long term commitment to the green agenda
  • commitment to education
  • “comfort” with Europe
  • willingness to contemplate a future without Trident
  • foreign policy calls, notably over the Iraq War
  • support for press freedoms

Dislikes the Lib Dems for its:

  • hawkishness over the deficit
  • planned tax cuts and implied “slashing” of public services
  • failure to promote women and ethnic minority candidates

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