Tom Goodenough

Corbyn or May? The papers have their say

Corbyn or May? The papers have their say
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This time tomorrow, the politicians will have finally fallen silent and the polls will be open. But who to vote for? Here’s what the papers say:

The Sun backs Theresa May and has a ‘simple message’ for those considering voting for Ukip or Labour: ‘don’t’. Given that the ‘Tories alone are committed to seeing Brexit through in full’, the Sun suggests a vote for the 'Kippers would be redundant. And for those who believe Labour will ensure Brexit happens, the Sun says that it 'does not believe' it 'for a second’. For those who have always voted Labour, the Sun says to remember that Corbyn's party ‘is not the moderate Labour of Tony Blair’. Instead, ‘your vote would be to install Britain’s first Marxist government’. That ‘would be the gravest mistake this country has ever made,’ according to the Sun. Admittedly, ‘the Tories have not run a great campaign,’ says the Sun. ‘But they are pro-business, pro-jobs and pro-low taxes.’ And if you want to wake up on Friday to a ‘to a benign ­government ready to carry Brexit through’, then a vote for the Tories is the way to go.

The Daily Mail strikes a similar note in its editorial, in which it urges readers to back Theresa May. The paper offers six reasons ‘why Britain would be nothing short of insane to vote Labour’. The Mail says that the Tories should have done more ‘to shout from the rooftops how well the economy is doing under their stewardship’. Yet if Corbyn wins ‘everything we’ve worked so hard for could evaporate overnight’. Labour’s tax plans - which, the paper says, would actually raise less for government coffers, also worry the paper. While on immigration, the Mail says that Corbyn is clear: ‘the more we let in, the merrier’. The Mail’s fourth reason not to vote Labour is defence, with the paper arguing that with Corbyn as PM ‘the (nuclear) deterrent would be meaningless.’ On Brexit, Corbyn ‘would sign a blank cheque to retain our EU membership in all but name’. And the paper’s sixth and final reason not to back Labour tomorrow is the possibility of a coalition between Corbyn and Sturgeon - a ‘partnership (that) should give us all nightmares’, according to the paper.

The FT agrees with the Mail’s analysis that the economy has been largely absent from the election debate. But the paper is more sceptical about the reasons why. The lack of discussion on the subject is ‘a striking and disturbing omission’, the paper says. It’s true that the economy ‘rode out the Brexit referendum result last year’. Yet ‘if the Brexit negotiations turn difficult, as seems all too likely, renewed pressure on the currency and consumer confidence could well turn into something quite serious’. A Brexit blip could also mean a ‘downgrade in UK growth prospects’, according to the FT. And if you think Sterling couldn’t fall any lower, don’t be fooled. Perhaps the politician’s silence on the economy is related to the realisation that ‘the ultimate effect’ of the Brexit vote ‘may not be so benign.’

The Guardian also focuses on the economy but draws another conclusion, suggesting that a vote for Labour ‘could mean escape from stagnation’. Whatever buzzwords the PM may use, ‘Britain’s not a strong and stable economy’, according to the paper, which says the UK remains vulnerable to fluctuations in the banking industry - and is still reeling from the 2008 crash. Unlike Theresa May, who continues ’to rely on the private sector to boost the economy,’ ‘Labour believes corporate leaders had their chance to invest and blew it’. So, the Tories plan, 'means more of the same’. But Labour’s proposal for a ‘bigger injection of investment funds from the state can lay the groundwork for higher levels of investment’.

Yes, the Tories’ campaign has been ‘lacklustre’, says the Times. Some of their ideas were ‘lifted wholesale from Ed Miliband’s Labour platform of 2015’ and the social care policy ’was brave in principle but botched in practice’. It's true, as well, that May ‘has proved wooden when she needed to show charisma’. But there is still only one option for the paper. And the fact that May 'is nonetheless by far the best prospective prime minister on offer speaks volumes about the choice voters must make tomorrow.’ ‘Mrs May has our vote', says the Times ‘but assuming she wins tomorrow it will be despite the platitudes, not because of them’. The paper calls on the PM - if she remains in Downing Street come Friday - to ‘broaden her circle of advisers’ and regain her ‘inner steel’.

The Daily Telegraph has little doubt: a Corbyn ‘government would be a calamity’. Indeed, electing ‘Corbyn and his coterie of hard-Left allies would be such a gamble at any time’. But at this ‘historic juncture’, handing the Labour leader the keys to Downing Street ‘would be unthinkable folly’. So, when you’re making your choice about who to vote tomorrow, the Telegraph suggests a simple summary: ‘Tomorrow’s election is principally about who the country trusts to handle the Brexit talks’. With this in mind, ‘Britain’s long-term interests require a convincing Conservative victory’, the paper concludes.