Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

British Election May Be a Brawl

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

British Election May Be a Brawl

Article excerpt

The coming British election, which must be held no later than May, is shaping up as a nasty brawl. The new Labor Party leader, Tony Blair, hopes to end 17 years of Conservative Party power by knocking out Prime Minister John Major.

The press is predicting the contest will be the dirtiest in recent memory. Labor is so determined to win that party leaders are reported considering the unprecedented step of cutting trade unionists and other activists out of policymaking positions by dismantling the constituency parties that have served as Labor's power base.

The intent is to make them appear even less radical than the revamped image they sought with the installation of the mild-mannered Blair, who shoved aside the Socialist-oriented Neil Kinnock. Divorcing trade unionists from their special interests in the Labor Party is akin to Democrats in America renouncing labor union campaign money, along with labor's voter-turnout skills and instructing them they will have no more influence in selecting government officials than any other citizen. Comparisons with American parties, candidates and officials can be tricky. Blair has pictured himself as Bill Clinton in 1992, challenging not only an incumbent, but a party that has been in power longer than Republicans under Ronald Reagan and George Bush. The difference is that, unlike America's apparently troubled economy in 1992, the economy in Britain is on the upswing. A year-end Gallup Poll for The Daily Telegraph shows Major's popularity improving. In 1992, Bush's numbers were heading south. Since 1957, when the British Gallup Poll has found optimism outweighing pessimism at Christmastime, the government in power has usually, but not always, won the next election. Thirty-seven percent believe 1997 will be b etter than 1996; only 21 percent believe things will get worse. More good news for the Tories lies in the gap between optimists and pessimists - a full 16 percentage points - almost as large as the gap five years ago when Major won the last election and even larger than in 1983 when Margaret Thatcher was re-elected. The Catholic Church has decided to enter the campaign, threatening the truce over the abortion issue between Labor and Conservatives. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.