Thursday's choice: A Conservative win, or a bust Britain
Ed Miliband would bust an economy that Cameron has rescued. A Labour win would be a disaster for Britain. UKIP voters (and even LibDems) will have to vote tactically to keep this country afloat, and keep Miliband out of Number 10. That's how it all breaks down on May 7
Nigel Farage is absolutely right in terms of the weight attached to policy and the substantive issues in General Election 2015: this has not been an inspiring campaign. He and increasing numbers of us are also right that the first past the post electoral system is irretrievably broken. Tinkering won't work. It needs to be scrapped and replaced with something better,
However, the fact remains that regardless of how serious a process this has been in terms of the issues, or what we feel about the manifest failings of our electoral system, we now have to make a choice, and do so under the current rules.
Here are the salient facts we believe should be in the forefront of voters' minds.
First, the ultimate raison d'etre of the current government was to repair, stabilise and then breathe new life into an economy that was on its knees. Plainly, there is more to do.
But this Conservative-led government has, in those terms, succeeded. All things considered, it may reasonably be judged to have performed better than almost any other government in the Western world.
If your primary concerns are the jobs, prosperity and funding for our public services (including the NHS) that only a strong economy can bring, you have a compelling reason to vote Conservative on May 7.
This argument is bolstered when one considers the likely alternative: a government led by Ed Miliband. Let's not get into the hyper-personalised questions of whether he is prime ministerial material or not. David Cameron, after all, is no Margaret Thatcher, and few of his supporters would make such a claim on his behalf.
The main concern about Miliband is his competence as an economic manager. As Andrew Gibson pointed out on The Commentator yesterday, Miliband has his paw prints all over the economic crisis that got Britain into the mess that this government has being doing its best to get us out of.
He has shown no sign whatsoever of understanding where the last Labour government went so badly wrong. In his infamous leader's speech at the Labour Party Conference he simply "forgot" to mention the deficit. During this campaign he has doggedly refused to acknowledge that the last Labour government overspent. He is a thoroughgoing social populist who promises everything to everyone.
We have, therefore, every reason to be deeply concerned that another Labour government would wreck an economy that has only just been repaired. If that is allowed to happen, forget jobs growth, forget rising real wages and forget a well funded NHS.
What of UKIP? Frankly, the party is going to be a victim of that broken electoral system. They know that, which is one reason why Farage is an advocate of electoral reform. The question for UKIP voters is whether they want the country to be a victim of the broken electoral system too.
Kippers hate being told that a vote for UKIP is a vote for Ed Miliband as prime minister. The problem is that if they vote for UKIP in constituencies where they have little real chance themselves but where the Conservatives are in a tight scrap with Labour, they'll split the centre-Right vote and let Labour through.
It isn't a concession to Conservative "propaganda" to say that if this happens on a large enough scale the chances of Miliband getting into Downing Street are enhanced dramatically. Given the fierce rivalry between UKIP and the Tories, it's a big ask for natural UKIP voters to switch their vote tactically in favour of the Conservatives.
But if they want to keep Miliband out of Downing Street, if they want the chance of a referendum on the EU, that is exactly what they will have to do.
As for the Lib-Dems and the SNP, they are almost certainly going to be the kingmakers after May 7.
Because of the SNP factor, there are good reasons for some LibDem voters to consider voting tactically against Labour. Despite Miliband's protestations that he wouldn't do a deal with the SNP to put him in Downing Street, that just isn't credible. If the electoral maths make it necessary and possible, he will do that deal.
And the price of any deal with the SNP would not only be even worse economic chaos than if Labour were to govern alone, but the real prospect of a day by day bashing of the Union which may ultimately lead to its demise.
LibDem voters who want to preserve the integrity of the United Kingdom will have to reflect on this before they cast their vote. Most of them dislike the Tories more than UKIP voters do. But do they want Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon running (and ruining) the country?
Conservative Party activists will inevitably make the case for a vote in their party's favour on the merits of the party's record, and its plans for the future. That is quite natural.
For many others, the calculations come down to a lesser of two evils scenario. On balance, which outcome would you rather not see?
Ed Miliband would be a disaster for this country. We must do everything we can to keep him out.
And the inescapable fact is that the best way to do that on May 7 is to cast your vote in such a way that David Cameron remains in Number 10.
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