I am amazed that in your editorial of 9 May you write: “Mr Cameron’s ... success is turbo-charged by it being so unexpected and so associated with him personally.”
I had a conversation on election day with a young care worker, someone you would imagine might be a Labour supporter. She told me she had voted Conservative and when I asked why explained that she and her partner were trying to save for their own home, however long it took.
She said her partner’s family were all on benefits, but he wanted to better himself and had found a job, and together they were working hard for their future. She said that she had voted for a party that would encourage people to do what they were doing and not simply hand out endless benefits.
She did not mention David Cameron once.
I believe a big thank-you should go out from the Tory party to the programme commissioners of such shows as Benefit Street and The Jeremy Kyle Show for revealing to voters why £12bn worth of welfare cuts are needed to keep on top of these “undeserving poor”.
Another round of applause from the Tories should be aimed towards the Labour leaders for producing such an inept attempt at an election campaign. Thanks to them the poor, disabled and disadvantaged now have to face the onslaught of another five years of the cruellest class-based government in living memory, while the population at large is faced with the growing pavement cry of “Any spare change, please?”
The broadcasters responsible for the TV debates bear some responsibility for Labour’s defeat.
By giving Nicola Sturgeon such prominence, they made the SNP an election issue for English voters and enabled the Conservatives to scaremonger about the nightmare of a Labour-SNP coalition. The TV debates created the Sturgeon tsunami which helped to wash away Labour in both England and Scotland.
For the ninth UK general election in a row the clear winner is ... Rupert Murdoch.
Labour must retake the centre ground
David Cameron, after five years of being Prime Minister in a coalition, finally managed to live down the fact that he is not Kenneth Clarke.
Elections are won from the centre. By successfully labelling everyone else as extreme David Cameron won the swing this rickety old election system of ours needed to deliver him a majority in the Commons.
The main lesson for the Labour Party of the Blair years is clear and unmistakable. Blair won three election victories for Labour by establishing himself and them on the centre ground. Unless Labour does that again they will remain out of office.
Nigel F Boddy
Don’t forget the national debt
Various parties in this election as well as 9 May’s edition of your paper have been full of talk about the need for progressive politics and an end to austerity. Today the net national debt of the United Kingdom stands at just above 80 per cent of GDP; in 2008, before the onset of the financial crisis, it stood at just below 40 per cent, and for years before that it stood a few points above or below that line.
There is nothing progressive about a politics that does not engage the electorate with the seriousness of the United Kingdom’s national debt. That this did not happen goes some way to explain why this country now has a Conservative majority government.
Now to reform council tax
Let’s rejoice at the stillbirth of the nonsensical mansion tax. Nevertheless, all is not well with the council tax. It has been 24 years since properties were valued. It is also far too regressive. The answer is more bands.
More bands and a revaluation merely redistribute the council tax burden with, in all likelihood, there being more winners than losers. It also happens to conform with David Cameron’s professed “one-nation” Conservatism.
Winterborne Houghton, Dorset
Smaller parties left feeling cheated
The SNP and the Lib Dems between them have polled under three million votes and have achieved 64 seats. The Greens and Ukip have polled over five million votes and have achieved two seats.
How does this make voting worthwhile, or fair, or democratic, and is there any wonder that voters are left feeling disenfranchised?
What is needed most is a change in the system of voting.
West Byfleet, Surrey
Taxation without representation
Cristiano Bianchi laments not being able to vote in the general election (letter, 8 May). Welcome to the club, Cristiano.
The same holds for UK nationals who live in continental Europe. They are not able to vote where they pay taxes.
Lib Dems pay the price of the Coalition
Sean O’Grady (“Ah, Nick, you could have been a contender”, 9 May) paints a picture of what might have been if after the 2010 election the Liberal Democrats had remained in opposition, supporting the Tories only when appropriate.
He seems to ignore two things. The first is the positive things that the Coalition gave to this country entirely as a result of the Lib Dems. These include the rise in the lower tax threshold, giving £800 to many people, although not the rich; making sure that pensions will rise at least 2.5 per cent per year; introducing 1.6 million apprenticeships since 2010; tackling climate change and creating 200,000 new jobs by investing in renewable energy; creating the first green investment bank; providing free school meals for all Year 1 and 2 children. None of these crucial changes would have occurred without the Lib Dems being in government.
The second is that, at the start of the last parliament, there was no need for the Conservatives to serve the full term, and they could have called an election at any time. If the Liberal Democrats had voted against the much deeper cuts the Conservatives proposed or measures such as the right of bosses to fire people for no reason, the Tories would have called an election, which almost certainly would have given them increased support and would have decimated the Liberal Democrats for bringing down the Government. We would then have been where we are now but without the raised threshold for tax, the pensions lock, etc. Nick Clegg was right to go into the Coalition, and we shall see now what it might have been like if he had not.
St Andrews, Fife
“What immortal hand or eye dare frame thy fearful symmetry?” Blake’s words provide a haunting epitaph for post-war liberals.
In 1950 the party nationally won nine seats and lost well over 300 deposits. For two-thirds of a century I wasted uncountable hours and cash helping to bring the party up to 59 seats. Then to my horror, ignoring the ghastly warning of the 1924 election, they plunged into a coalition supporting totally illiberal policies.
The idea of cutting income tax across the board when faced with a deficit so that it was replaced with more VAT, hitting the poorest, must be the most stupid policy ever laid before the British electorate.
Among other outrages such as the bedroom tax and benefit sanctions, the party acquiesced in an attack on welfare to finance tax cuts and help those who already have money, making the deficit worse, while food banks grew and life expectancy varied from 62 years to 81 between poor and rich areas.
Then they claimed they had done a good job. Voters, wisely, did not agree.
In 1924 the Liberals lost 73 per cent of their MPs. This time it was 84 per cent but the fearful symmetry is with 1950. This year once again over 300 deposits were lost and one less MP was elected. Unlike in 1950, they did not even have the wit to insure them at Lloyd’s.
Derek J Cole
Now that the Lib Dems are again an opposition party, a good way to lose the stain of supposed untrustworthiness will be to choose as leader an MP who actually voted against tuition fees. The name of that person is Tim Farron.
How ironic that in punishing the Liberal Democrats for allying with the Conservatives the electorate has landed us with a stronger Conservative government.
The TV debates created the Sturgeon tsunami which helped to wash away Labour in both England and Scotland
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