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British Election Is Actually Kind Of Thrilling

And Israel is an issue

Marc Tracy
April 28, 2010
Liberal Democrat candidate Nick Clegg campaigning yesterday.(Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images)
Liberal Democrat candidate Nick Clegg campaigning yesterday.(Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images)

The sudden rise of the usually moribund Liberal Democrats under charismatic leader Nick Clegg has captured European and especially British attention and column inches. Election’s on May 6, folks. It all really is pretty exciting!


• Under Tony Blair and then current Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the Labour Party has been in power since 1997.

• Brown, whom it is unlawful to discuss without describing as “dour,” is massively unpopular, and so it was thought that the Conservative Party, led by David Cameron, had an easy victory.

• Stunningly, however, the perpetual also-ran Liberal Democrats have leaped into a neck-and-neck race with the Tories (Labour is in third) ever since Clegg gave an exceptional performance in the first televised debate, two weeks ago.

• So now there is talk of a hung Parliament and of the Lib Dems likely to be brought into a coalition government with one or the other of the two major parties.

According to The Jerusalem Post, Israel has been a political football—or what we would call a political soccer ball!—for all of the parties. One Labour MP accused Israel’s “long tentacles” of controlling the Conservative Party, while another Labour MP (this one Jewish) described the opposition as partly controlled by right-wing Jewish millionaires. Meanwhile, Lib Dem flyers in predominantly Bangladeshi neighborhoods of London demand, “Stop Arming Israel!” Meanwhile, Cameron, the Tory leader, has spoken of “occupied East Jerusalem.” (Stephen Pollard, editor of Britain’s Jewish Chronicle, is voting Tory for the first time.)

Both a previous Labour Secretary of State, Jack Straw, and the current one, David Miliband, are Members of the Tribe (as is Miliband’s brother, the Secretary of Energy). Then again, the Tories are the party of Britain’s most famous Jew, Benjamin Disraeli. And did we mention that Disraeli is the subject of a Nextbook Press biography by our books critic, Adam Kirsch?

Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.