Paul Krugman Endorses the Liberal Democrats and the FT and Economist abandon their principles

For sure, Gordon Brown — like the Rubinites here in America — made the great mistake of buying into the promises of high finance. But is there any doubt that a Tory government would have done the same?

And I understand the sense that Labour has been in office too long. If I were British, I might well consider voting Lib Dem.

That’s nobel prize winner and all round good egg Paul Krugman today.

But its not just him who are confused that anyone would support the Tories, the endorsement for the Tories from the Financial Times and The Economist have brought some other big guns of the American Blogosphere out in shock. Brad DeLong succinctly titles his post “The Financial Times and the London Economist Lose Their Minds.”

DeLong quotes Matthew Yglesias who explains why so many across the pond are confused that the Tories are being widely supported by our press.

[The] FT, in the course of endorsing David Cameron, concedes that “As a crisis manager, Gordon Brown has been a better premier than his critics claim” and simply doesn’t say anything about the substance of the Tories’ opposition to stimulus, a policy that had it been adopted would have sank the economy.

The Economist does take this issue head-on and concludes that the Tories “were wrong to oppose the economic stimulus after the banking crash” but endorses them anyway….

Britain confronted a giant economic challenge and the center-right party responded with such bad policies that even center-right business-focused newspapers think they were wrong, but… [urge] voters are urged to vote Tory anyway…

I’m no Brown fan, but the Tories have managed to get pretty much every important call of this financial crisis and recession wrong.

These papers both once supported Labour and have been relatively impressed with Labour’s performance throughout this recession but they are breaking ranks now. But what strikes me is that they are really unenthusiastically breaking ranks.

The only convincing explanation is that they’re doing this because they’re rats and the Labour Party appears to be sinking. The Tories are not doing dreadfully and are certainly in the ascendant even as their poll lead wobbles.

This makes sense for these papers, they have their circulation to think about and that will partially rely on the access they can get to the next Government and they are betting on a Tory win. This seems a sensible policy even if the Lib Dems do well, they are not going to begrudge a non-endorsement from papers they were not expecting to back them anyway.

However, the support from across the pond for the anyone but the Tories vote illustrates just how foolish their economic pronouncements have been at times. These American bloggers don’t have particular axes to grind against the Tory party, they’ve just looked at the policies and personalities and decided they are a really unsafe pair of hands.

Can’t say I blame them really. I’m glad that David Rendel now has the nobel laureate vote sewn up.

Why I’m voting for the Lib Dems and David Rendel in Newbury

Not long until election day. This has been an exciting election campaign hasn’t it?

Nice to see everyone still hates immigrants and knows that anything approaching honesty with the electorate is going to be punished. I suppose that is why no one has released details on more than 25% of the the spending cuts sorry, efficiency savings, they are going to make from May 7th.

Regardless, this election has been far from the boring pick you favourite colour that I had worried it may have been. As a political blogger I suppose I’m not really the person election campaigns or the leaders debates are aimed at. I care far more about policy than the average voter. Unlike much of the electorate it seems I care more about electoral reform than who cram the most “tough”s into a speech about  Law and Order.

But I hope my readership, such that it is, care about what I’ve got to say on the election. I’ve got a vote to cast I am going to tell you who’s getting it.

My vote will be cast enthusiastically for the Liberal Democrats and their local candidate David Rendel.

Despite that fact that I am drawn to Labour by instinct I have not contemplated voting Labour for a variety of reasons. One is predominantly tactical. I live in a seat that has never returned a Labour member and maybe never will.

As you can see, it really is a two horse race here in Newbury. Labour can’t win here, as the leaflets say. In 1993 it was won by David Rendel of the Liberal Democrats with a swing of 28.4% from the Tories. Only the third non-Tory MP for the area since 1900, David Rendel lost the 2005 election to the Conservative Richard Benyon. David and Richard are facing off again in their 4th meeting.

I have a good liberal candidate in David Rendel and he has an admiral voting record in parliament from when (data from They Work for You). David has never voted on replacing Trident but I know and support the Lib Dem line that it would be foolish and wasteful to renew it.

  • Has never voted on replacing Trident. votes
  • Voted strongly for removing hereditary peers from the House of Lords. votes
  • Voted very strongly for a wholly elected House of Lords. votes
  • Voted very strongly for equal gay rights. votes
  • Voted very strongly against introducing ID cards. votes
  • Voted very strongly against introducing foundation hospitals. votes
  • Voted very strongly against the Iraq war. votes
  • Voted very strongly for an investigation into the Iraq war. votes
  • Voted strongly against introducing student top-up fees. votes
  • Voted moderately against greater autonomy for schools. votes
  • Voted very strongly for the hunting ban. votes
  • Voted very strongly against Labour’s anti-terrorism laws. votes
  • Voted for laws to stop climate change. votes
  • Voted a mixture of for and against introducing a smoking ban.
  • Like I said I am lucky to have a good candidate in my area however, as seen below, David Rendel is hardly a working class hero, but then the Tory Candidate Richard Benyon is the great-great grandson of former Conservative Prime Minister Lord Salisbury.

    Educated at Eton College, Magdalen College, Oxford and St Cross College, Oxford, Rendel was a member of the University of Oxford boat race crew of 1974.

    David Rendel is a great-grandson of civil engineer Sir Alexander Meadows Rendel, and a great-great-nephew of Liberal MP Stuart Rendel.

    But with me personality and somebody’s antecedents never matters as much as policy and I like the Liberals’ policies.

    Importantly this election there are substantive policy areas where I am closer to the Lib Dems than I am to any other party and there are large areas where I disagree fundamentally with what Labour have done while in power.

    What I have seen on topics I care about such as immigration is a Labour Government behaving every bit as bad as a Tory one would have. That alienates me and although I’m used to supporting least worst options, its hard to get motivated.

    As Jamie said, Labour had this man shot to placate the anti-immigrant vote, its hard to support that. I understand this is politics and it is messy and ugly, but there’s lines that I do not like to see crossed by those I support, even as the least worst option.

    Why some argue their plan to raise the tax threshold to £10,000 does nothing for the poorest it does something for me, which lets be honest I won’t complain about. This policy also goes some way towards making the move out of the poorest into the less poor into even more attractive. Simple and fair even if it appears I must break ranks with Chris Dillow on this.

    As I’ve said, I like their policy on Trident and they are less cut happy than the Tories are. Their general position is something I can support this May 6th.

    Of course not everything the Lib Dems do is perfect. The Lib Dem policy on immigration is disappointing, but then whose isn’t? From their manifesto we have the unavoidable acknowledgement of the good immigrants do before explaining what to do about them. Regardless of their bizarre, illiberal, probably unworkable and economically illiterate policy to force immigrants to stay where they think jobs are (rather than let them go where jobs actually are) this is an improvement on the Labour position.

    Exit checks should never have been abandoned and I’m glad the Liberals are bringing them in (The Tories in the mid-90s), the public and officials need this information. That the final policy promise in their manifesto has to be to not deport people to be murdered or tortured shows how far down the road to barbarism we have come, but I welcome its inclusion. Likewise, the end of indefinite detention for immigrants is a good move. Their proposed amnesty for illegal immigrants is something I’ve marched for so I am happy to say I am more enthusiastic about this than Nick Clegg. Like Sunny and Chris the Lib Dem immigration policy is the least inhumane of the alternatives.

    Importantly these days the Lib Dems also want to clean up politics. Proportional representation and the removal of “safe” seats is something I support to these ends. Not only would it give you and I a more powerful voice in elections but it would bring the a plurality to party politics that is badly lacking in this country.

    I’m voting for the Lib Dems on the 6th May, maybe you should too.