The UK votes
The British elect a new parliament and hence a new government today, Thursday. Prime Minister David Cameron has forfeited almost certain re-election with his misguided election campaign, some commentators believe. Others blame the Eurosceptic UK Independence Party for the Conservatives' impending loss of votes.
Cameron using fear instead of optimism
Cameron couldn't point to his successes in the election campaign so he chose to use fear to persuade voters instead, British author Robert Harris writes in the left-liberal daily La Repubblica: "What has come of Tony Blair's cool Britain, the trendy nation, the prosperous and optimistic society of the late 1990s? Like most of the West it was steamrollered by the great recession of 2008. After five years of austerity we've lost all our confidence. … The Conservative government should have stressed its successes in its election campaign. Instead it has spread fears about what would happen if Labour came to power once more. The real reason for this is that the average citizen hasn't felt any of the benefits of the recovery. The majority may not be faring any worse than they were five years ago, but nor are they faring any better."
Ukip to blame fo Tories' weakness
Even if the Eurosceptic Ukip doesn't become a major force in parliament after the general election it has still done the Conservative camp considerable damage, Ned Simons comments on the left-liberal web portal El Huffington Post: "Despite the bluster, Ukip itself is likely to end up with only a handful of MPs. The real damage done by Ukip to the Conservatives is splitting the centre-right vote in marginal seats allowing Lib Dems or Labour candidates through the middle. Much of the Conservative campaign, and how Cameron has governed over the last two years, has been focused on winning back Ukip voters unhappy with his more liberal approach to conservatism that included legislating in favour of gay marriage."
Social injustice helps Labour
While the outgoing prime minister can point to economic successes, social inequality has also grown in his term in office, the left-liberal daily Libération argues: "Cameron has been able to stimulate economic growth and lower unemployment in the UK. But he has also managed to make his country harsher and more unequal. His brand of conservatism above all favoured the super-rich. ... As the left has noted, the drop in unemployment has been accompanied by a reduction in social justice. Ed Miliband's campaign found arguments that touched British voters and have made re-election for the Conservatives far more difficult than expected."
Liberal Democrats everyone's girl Friday
If the general election doesn't produce a clear winner it would be best for Britain if the Liberal Democrats became the junior partner in a coalition government again, columnist David Aaronovitch writes in the conservative daily The Times: "I think a Lib Dem presence will temper the Tories on tax and cuts, will temper Labour populism on spending, will put the case for the European Union, argue against any action that will alienate Scottish voters, and will sometimes be the lone voice telling the unpopular truth about immigration. They still carry the banner for constitutional change which needs to come, but in which the public is never interested and which the other two parties will always have an interest in sabotaging."