UK election: Best bet is that history will be made


The Associated Press
Thursday, May 6, 2010; 7:34 AM

Should Gordon Brown cling to power, his Labour Party will have pulled off one of the most unlikely political comebacks in modern times. Victory for the Conservatives’ David Cameron would return his once-discredited party to office after 13 years.

More likely – in an election with important consequences for everything from the war in Afghanistan to the global economy – there will be no clear winner but an unprecedented boost for the Liberal Democrats and their leader Nick Clegg.

All three party leaders, accompanied by their wives, cast their ballots on Thursday morning. Earlier, Britain’s tabloids had pulled the trigger with the Daily Mirror running a picture of Cameron along with the words, “Prime Minister? Really?” The Sun, meanwhile, superimposed Cameron’s face onto President Barack Obama’s technicolor poster that read, “Hope.”

Only months ago, most thought the election would be the Conservatives’ for the taking – but that was before the perfect political storm started brewing.

An embarrassing expense scandal last year enraged voters after lawmakers were caught being reimbursed for everything from imaginary mortgages to ornamental duck houses at country estates, bringing trust in British politics to a record low.

And although lawmakers from all three parties were involved, the backlash was most severe for Britain’s old guard, the Conservatives and Labour. Labour’s popularity, slipping since Tony Blair’s landslide victory in 1997, took a nose-dive after the unpopular Brown took the reins.

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