2010年5月1日 星期六

Conservative support may be hardening while backing for the Lib Dems may be slipping.

The European map is outdated and illogical. Here's how it should look

PEOPLE who find their neighbours tiresome can move to another neighbourhood, whereas countries can’t. But suppose they could. Rejigging the map of Europe would make life more logical and friendlier.

Britain, which after its general election will have to confront its dire public finances, should move closer to the southern-European countries that find themselves in a similar position. It could be towed to a new position near the Azores. (If the journey proves a bumpy one, it might be a good opportunity to make Wales and Scotland into separate islands). ...



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Brown says last days of campaign will be 'crucial'

Gordon Brown
Mr Brown says it is still all to play for

Gordon Brown has said the last days of the election campaign will be "crucial" as the parties all appeal to undecided voters.

The PM told the Sunday Mirror he was a "fighter" and there was no "panic" despite Labour trailing in the polls.

Tory leader David Cameron said Mr Brown was a "shrunken figure" and bills to scrap ID cards and set up new schools would be early measures if he won.

The Lib Dems have been boosted by the endorsement of the Observer newspaper.

The paper, whose sister title the Guardian has also come out in support of the Lib Dems, said the party's leader Nick Clegg was the "candidate of change".

All three men will continue to tour the country as the latest opinion polls suggest that although the Conservatives lead is holding firm or even increasing, that a hung Parliament still remains possible.

'Not tired'

The prime minister, who will attend an event in London in the morning, told the Sunday Mirror that Labour activists were aware it was all to play for ahead of polling day on 6 May.

"They know these last few days are crucial," he said. "There are many undecided voters. It is an incentive for us to win them over."

I don't give up. I showed in the [final prime ministerial] debate that I was a fighter
Gordon Brown

Mr Brown rounded on both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats and defended himself against accusations of negative campaigning, saying he had a "duty" to tell the public about the differences between the parties as "you can't get your message through the press".

The Tories had not changed on Europe and their plans to cut spending this year posed a "serious risk" to the economy, he said, while the Lib Dems were "all over the place" on policy and "not serious".

"I'm not tired," he added. "It is not all too much for me... I don't give up. I showed in the [final prime ministerial] debate that I was a fighter."

In a personal attack in the Observer, Mr Brown dismisses Mr Clegg's credentials to become prime minister, likening him to a "presenter of a TV game show".

'Bigot row'

Senior Labour figures have insisted their message is hitting home despite a difficult few days following the row over Mr Brown's description of a woman he met on the campaign trail as "bigoted".

Gillian Duffy, who became the subject of a media storm after confronting Mr Brown on the campaign trail, has said she felt "sorry" for him and she will not be voting Labour as she had previously intended.

She told the Mail on Sunday that she wished the prime minister had never "bothered" coming to Rochdale but that she could now not "bring" herself to vote for any of the parties.

Labour has failed people up and down the country
Nick Clegg

Mr Cameron is expected to use a BBC interview on Sunday to say his party - which was endorsed by the Times on Saturday - has got momentum behind it but is taking nothing for granted.

Meanwhile, in an interview with the Sunday Times, he outlined what some of his early legislative priorities would be if his party wins power, including measures to scrap ID cards and home information packs, establish new "free" schools this academic year, to eliminate quangos and allow elected mayors in every big city.

He also told the Sunday Telegraph that Labour's attacks on Tory policies had become "desperate".

"What a shrunken figure, Gordon Brown now cuts," he said, suggesting he was resorting "to desperate smears and hysterical scares as he tries to cling on to the keys of Number 10".

'Radical change'

The Lib Dems will continue to press their case that they - not the Conservatives - are the only party committed to real change and have replaced Labour as the party of the "ordinary working people".

"Labour has failed people up and down the country," Mr Clegg will say. "People want change but not the fake change and division the Conservatives are proposing."

In throwing its support behind the Lib Dems, the Observer said the party's voting record, policy agenda and Mr Clegg's own performance, singled it out as the force for "radical, positive change".

The Independent on Sunday has encouraged its readers to vote tactically in 85 marginal constituencies where Labour and the Tories are battling it out, to prevent a Conservative victory.

The latest opinion polls all put the Conservatives clearly in the lead but suggest they are short of the number of seats required for an outright victory.

An ICM poll for the Sunday Telegraph puts the Conservatives on 36%, up one point on last week, Labour on 29%, up three points and the Lib Dems on 27%, down four points.

A Comres poll for the Independent on Sunday and Sunday Mirror suggests the Conservatives are on 38%, up two points, Labour on 28%, down one and the Lib Dems on 25%, down one.

A YouGov poll, meanwhile, for the Sunday Times suggested the party ratings are unchanged from a week ago with the Conservatives on 35%, Labour on 28% and the Liberal Democrats also on 28%.

The BBC's polling expert David Cowling said the polls suggested two trends - that Conservative support may be hardening while backing for the Lib Dems may be slipping.