Daniel Korski

The hyperbole of Westminster

The hyperbole of Westminster
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Campaigns are conducted in poetry, former New York mayor Mario Cuomo once said. This one seems to be conducted in hyperbole. Every party is doing their level best to show that there is a difference, and a big one, between them and their opponents. That's normal. But to do so, they are stretching good arguments beyond what is sustainable.

"Brownies" may be a particular mendacious form of hyporbolic campaigning (and governing),  but there are bound to be a few Tory and Lib Dem exaggerations on display during the campaign.

Exhibit A. The Tories say a hung parliament will doom Britain as the markets will react badly to a potentially unstable government - with ruinous consequences.

Exhibit B. Labour is at it too. They say that Tory withdrawal from the EPP will doom a Conservative-led Britain to the margins of Europe.

Both statements contain elements of veracity but both are overblown and overdone.

The markets will react to an inconclusive result, a divided parliament should be avoided and a change in government is badly needed for a host of reasons. But large, solvent industrial economies like Britain are not about to collapse. Bankers want signs that the debt will be repaid and a new government has a credible debt-paying plan, but they also know we are good for it.

The same qualification can be made of Labour's euro-criticism of the Tories. The departure from the EPP will take a string from a Prime Minister Cameron's bow. To deny that is to show ignorance of the EU policy process and the post-Lisbon role of the European parliament. But it won't push Europe's most militarily capable, most dynamic country to the margins of the continent.

None of that is to minimise the need for a change of government or the fact that the Tory offer is better than the Labour merchandise. But after a decade of exaggerated achievements - of the "I have abolished boom and bust" variety - as well as overwrought counterclaims, many voters would like to hear clear but unexaggerated positions.