Britain’s political climate is fast warming up as the May elections draw near, with ruling coalition partners sparring, parties joining poster wars and strategists working on post-election coalition scenarios, and officials hoping for greater engagement from voters increasingly detached from politics.
Widely seen as the most unpredictable election in a generation, the May elections will be marked by the hitherto dominance of the two main parties being diluted by the recent successes of smaller parties, such as the UK Independence Party, Scottish National Party and the Green Party.
Liberal Democrats, who are in a coalition with the Conservatives in government, on Tuesday released a poster mocking one put out by the Conservatives in January.
Parodying the Conservative poster that showed a countryside road with the words, ‘Road to a stronger economy’, the Liberal Democrats poster depicts a long, straight road with the slogan ‘Don’t let Britain take the wrong turn’.
A sign pointing to the left reads ‘Labour. Reckless Borrowing’, and a sign pointing to the right reads ‘Conservatives. Reckless Cuts’.
A junior partner in the coalition, the Lib Dems are expected to suffer the most due to the success of the smaller, ‘insurgent’ parties, but continue to insist that they will hold the balance of power after 7 May. The party is already talking about conditions to join another coalition led by the Conservatives or Labour.
As broadcasters prepared to accommodate leaders of smaller parties in American-style television debates before the elections, David Cameron (Conservative) and Ed Miliband (Labour) took to the streets and airwaves on Tuesday, seeking to increase their narrow margins in latest opinion polls.
Cameron harps on Britain’s economic recovery since 2010 when he and his party-led coalition came to power, while Miliband has made the sensitive issue of funding and future of the National Health Service the cornerstone of his party’s campaign.