Economist and FT endorse Cameron despite Europe fears

Written by Total Politics has a free weekly Friday email bulletin. Follow this link to register. on 30 April 2015 in Diary

After The Sun endorsed The Conservatives in today’s paper, The Economist and FT have followed suit.

In a leader posted online this afternoon, the FT does not quite give a ringing endorsement of the Conservative offer.

It worries that David Cameron's pledge to hold an in-out referendum on Europe threatens to consume the first two years of a Tory government and states:

“It could ultimately push Britain out of the bloc, a seismic change in the country’s relationship with its chief trading partners and for the balance of power in the EU itself. It might also break the Tory party.

“The preoccupation with Europe obscures a more troubling development. Britain’s standing in the world has diminished. Her Majesty’s armed forces have shrunk, and her diplomats reduced to handing out export brochures for business...”

But the FT suggests that Ed Miliband has more negatives, comparing the Labour leader to François Hollande in 2012. It concludes:

“At this delicate moment, the best outcome would be a continuation of the 2010 coalition between the Conservatives and Lib Dems....

“There are risks in re-electing Mr Cameron’s party, especially on Europe. But there are greater risks in not doing so. Its instincts on the economy, business and reform of public services are broadly right. Mr Miliband has not offered a credible economic prospectus and would apply a brake on enterprise. In the circumstances, the FT would like to see a Conservative-led administration.”

The pink paper previously backed Labour under Tony Blair but swung towards the Tories in 2010, stating: "They are not a perfect fit, but their instincts are sound." 

The Economist also backed Blair in 2001 and 2005 but switched support to the Conservatives last time around.

Today’s Economist leader says the choice had become harder over the last five years and is particularly critical of the Tories’ stance on Europe:

“The Tories’ Europhobia, which we regretted last time, could now do grave damage. A British exit from the EU would be a disaster, for both Britain and Europe. Labour and the Liberal Democrats are better on this score.”

But despite these misgivings, the weekly mag plumps for Cameron, citing his economic credentials and laying into Miliband with some gusto.

“Our decision is based on the economy where The Conservative-Lib Dem coalition has a stronger record than many realise and where Labour poses a greater risk...

“Mr Miliband is fond of comparing his progressivism to that of Teddy Roosevelt, America’s trustbusting president. But the comparison is false. Rather than using the state to boost competition, Mr Miliband wants a heavier state hand in markets—which betrays an ill-founded faith in the ingenuity and wisdom of government...

“On May 7th voters must weigh the certainty of economic damage under Labour against the possibility of a costly EU exit under the Tories. With Labour, the likely partnership with the SNP increases the risk. For the Tories, a coalition with the Lib Dems would reduce it. On that calculus, the best hope for Britain is with a continuation of a Conservative-led coalition. That’s why our vote is for Mr Cameron.”

Meanwhile, The Sun's editorial backing Dave this morning was slightly more, erm, robust in its language than the Economist and the FT.

The Sun's leader states:

"A week today, Britain could be plunged into the abyss.

"A fragile left-wing Labour minority, led by Ed Miliband and his union paymasters and supported by the wreckers of the Scottish National Party, could take power.

"If it survived, it is committed to a doomed experiment with the socialist lunacy we all thought had been buried alongside the carnage it caused in the 1970s. So much of what Britain has achieved through hard graft since 2010 could be destroyed.

"You can stop this. But only by voting Tory...."

And, in case you missed it, here is The Scottish Sun's front page with a slightly different message...

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