Scottish Party Could Be Biggest Winner in Close British Elections

Prime Minister David Cameron
Scottish Party Could Be Biggest Winner in Close British Elections

Scottish Party Could Be Biggest Winner in Close British Elections

British Prime Minister David Cameron rallies supporters ahead of Thursday’s elections. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI

BATH, England, May 6 (UPI) — Voters in the United Kingdom head to the polls on Thursday in an election that is so close it could give a Scottish party enough power to force a coalition government.

Neither the Conservatives, led by an energized Prime Minister David Cameron, nor the Labor Party, led by Ed Miliband, are expected to win more than one-third of Parliament’s 650 seats. Attention has turned to the intensely nationalist Scottish National Party (SNP), a refuge for disgruntled liberals in Scotland, which could see its Parliament membership increase from six to nearly 50 and be a decisive force in building a coalition to rule Britain.

Cameron, whose aristocratic demeanor precluded down-and-dirty campaigning in the past, has intensified his delivery in the last week of the campaign. He spoke in the city of Bath at an outdoor event this week, with sleeves rolled up and a message of deep contempt for the Liberals.

“Do you remember what they did? They spent all the money! They put up the taxes! They whacked up the borrowing! They wrecked our economy!” Cameron yelled furiously, showing a side of his new campaign style.

Many feel his political career will be over if his party loses the election and he loses the position of prime minister. Some observers contend he ran, for his first term, as someone eager to move the Conservative Party to the center, and abandoned the policy in his second term.

In the current campaign, he has positioned his party as the saviors of the British economy and the liberals as those who wrecked it.

The Labor Party has promised new taxes on the wealthy, including additional real estate taxes and the taxing of global earnings of foreigners living in London, currently regarded as a haven for the world’s rich. While Britain currently has an enviable growth rate of 2.6 percent annually and a low unemployment rate of 5.6 percent, it still imports more than it exports; its budget deficit is a high 5.5 percent of its gross national product.

Whichever party wins will need to join with smaller parties, notably the SNP, to form a government. The SNP has sought independence from Britain and a removal of nuclear missiles from Scottish territory, and its leader, Nicola Sturgeon, could be the regarded as a kingmaker after Thursday.

Other parties, including the anti-European Union and anti-immigrant U.K. Independent Party (UKIP), will likely have a seat at the bargaining table after the election, regarded as among the most fractured in recent British history.


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