What will the British vote for?

Britain is holding a general election today, Thursday, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for a snap election in October in response to parliament's rejection of his Brexit plans. Although a majority of the population say they don't trust him, Johnson is slightly ahead of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in the polls. British voters face a tough decision, commentators say.

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Jutarnji list (HR) /

A moral issue

Jutarnji List reviews the choices British voters face today:

“Who will be the worse prime minister? Johnson, who has demonstrably lied for most of his career and has above all his own interests in mind? Or Corbyn, who would cause considerable confusion in the British economy with his socialist initiatives? ... Most voters find Corbyn repugnant, so many who vote for Labour will do it not because they like its leader but because they believe it's the lesser evil. ... Johnson leads in the polls. But his majority is razor thin and could merely be the result of a statistical error. He no longer has any allies in parliament and any outcome other than an absolute majority would mean a defeat for him and for Brexit.”

Rzeczpospolita (PL) /

Fear of Labour is helping Johnson

According to Rzeczpospolita, people are more afraid of Corbyn than they are of a hard Brexit:

“Johnson's good survey results reassure the markets, because although the Brexit he wants to force through on January 31 may not promise complete stabilisation of the country, it is far less revolutionary than what Jeremy Corbyn is proposing. The leader of the Labour Party wants to increase government spending by 80 billion pounds a year and debt by 150 billion pounds in the coming legislative term. ... During his first 100 days in office he wants to nationalise key industries such as water and electricity distribution. The army of state employees would increase by 310,000.”

Cumhuriyet (TR) /

UK needs left-wing policies

The UK is at a crossroads, Cumhuriyet notes:

“Today's election will either end the neo-liberal era and pave the way for a new economic model or lead to unbridled capitalism headed in the direction of a 'new fascism'. ... A Labour government would mean the restoration of the welfare state, the expansion of democratic rights and freedoms, the nationalisation of the transport, telecommunications, energy and education sectors, the renewal of the infrastructure of British society and the introduction of a new economic model. ... If such a model were successful the Scots' desire for independence and the threats to the peace process in Ireland would be weakened.”

The Irish Times (IE) /

Johnson's high entertainment value

The Irish Times explains why so many British like the prime minister even though they don't trust him:

“They choose to wonder at Johnson rather than to hear him, to enjoy the show rather than consider what he is actually offering. ... There is here a conscious decision to split the prime minister in two: Johnson the charlatan, and 'Boris' the 'character'. The former lacks all the qualities once seemed necessary for government - trust, dignity, respect - and these voters know it. But they choose 'Boris' instead, and with him the qualities of entertainment: likeability, colour, humour. The thing with an entertaining character is precisely that you don't have to believe him in order to believe in him.”

Jyllands-Posten (DK) /

Corbyn is the real populist

Jyllands-Posten praises Boris Johnson in the context of the Brexit vote:

“One can really ask whether referendums are at all suitable as a political tool in a representative democracy. They are definitely a double-edged sword, and perhaps even undermine the democratic system. ... But if you hold one, you have to implement the result. ... But instead we hear cries of 'populism' because the referendum runs counter to prevailing opinion. ... That said, it's certainly not Boris Johnson who's a populist. He's only trying to implement the result. He should be praised for that, even in the Danish media. If anyone's a populist here it's the post-Trotskyist Jeremy Corbyn.”

Aftonbladet (SE) /

Labour takes care of the neglected

The photograph of a four-year-old child suffering from a pulmonary infection who was obliged to sleep on the floor for lack of hospital beds put the question of hospital funding at the centre of the campaign. Aftonbladet comments:

“The Tories are not building a society for normal people with a normal income. Or Jack and his mother, who had to cover her four-year-old in blankets to keep him warm on the hospital floor. Instead, the Tories are betting on the upper class. At the same time Labour and Jeremy Corbyn have proclaimed the most radical election programme in the history of British elections and perhaps European social democracy, with government spending to increase by 83 billion pounds - an unimaginable sum. ... Whether this is realistic and whether Corbyn will actually be prime minister on Friday remains to be seen.”

The Times (GB) /

An election with no good choices

This general election is simply about choosing the lesser evil, The Times laments:

“There is so little enthusiasm for either Labour or the Conservatives that tactical voting and turnout ('TNT' to Tory strategists) will be crucial. Two former prime ministers, Sir John Major and Tony Blair, who between them won four elections and governed for almost 20 years, feel so alienated by their own parties that they are urging people to vote tactically to prevent a clear majority for either. The election will be won by the party voters regard as the lesser of two evils, more than the one which has the most positive message.”