Ten key moments from Britain's election campaign

6th May 2015, Comments 0 comments

Britain's main parties have kept tight control of the campaign for Thursday's general election, but the spin doctors are not always successful.

Here are ten key moments:

- Getting pumped

After being criticised for appearing too laid back, Prime Minister David Cameron literally rolled up his shirt sleeves and showed some passion in the last 11 days of the campaign.

"If I'm getting lively about it, it's because I feel bloody lively about it," the Conservative leader said.

Opposition Labour leader Ed Miliband indulged in his own strong language to show his enthusiasm.

"Am I tough enough? Hell, yes, I'm tough enough," he said.

- Reachin' out

Miliband slipped into Cockney tones when interviewed by comedian Russell Brand, whose rants against mainstream politics have made him a spokesman for disaffected youth.

"Yeah, we've gotta deal with... that is hard yards (difficult work) but you've gotta do it," Miliband said when asked about making multi-national corporations pay more tax.

Cameron dismissed the interview as a "joke" but Brand, who has 9.6 million followers on Twitter, later endorsed Labour.

- "Brain fade"

A car crash radio interview given by Green Party leader Natalie Bennett, where she left long periods of silence, was an early warning to politicians to know their briefs.

She later said she had suffered a "brain fade" and admitted her failure to explain the party's housing policy had been "excruciating".

- West Ham or Aston Villa?

In a speech, Cameron suggested that his favourite football team was West Ham United, when he had previously said it was Aston Villa.

Critics in the football-loving nation said this showed Cameron was not a real fan and only pretended to be to appear more man of the people.

Cameron himself blamed a Bennett-like "brain fade".

The Conservative leader had another lapse when he described the election campaign as "career-defining", before correcting himself to say "country-defining".

- Unbreakable

Miliband engraved his six key campaign pledges in a 2.5-metre stone monument as proof he would keep his promises -- although the stunt soon descended into farce and was roundly mocked as his "Moses moment".

One of his top aides admitted: "I don't think anyone is suggesting that the fact that he's carved them into stone means, you know, that he will absolutely, you know, not going to break them or anything like that."

- Leadership bluster

Mayor of London Boris Johnson, one of the stars of the Conservative party, was repeatedly asked if he would like to become leader if Cameron lost the election and was forced to stand down.

He admitted it would be a "wonderful thing" but said "it's more likely that I will be reincarnated as an olive or blinded by a champagne cork or locked in a disused fridge".

- Shaming UKIP

"You should be ashamed of yourself," Welsh nationalist leader Leanne Wood told UKIP leader Nigel Farage, after he suggested in a TV debate that HIV-positive migrants should not be allowed to receive state-funded treatment in Britain.

- Back-stabbing

Conservative defence minister Michael Fallon said Miliband was willing to "stab the United Kingdom in the back" to become prime minister, in reference to the prospect of a post-election Labour deal with the Scottish National Party.

- SNP posturing?

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has insisted her party's MPs would vote to keep Cameron out of office, but a leaked memo after she met France's ambassador to Britain suggested she privately wanted him to stay.

The memo said Sturgeon "confessed that she'd rather see David Cameron remain as PM (and didn't see Ed Miliband as PM material)".

One possible reason could be that a Cameron win might make another referendum on Scottish independence more likely. She condemned the story as "100 percent untrue" and it appeared to do little to dent her party's prospects of a landslide victory in Scotland.

- Dark room antics

Cameron urged voters to give his party a majority so he could deliver his manifesto, "rather than having it bartered away in a darkened room" during coalition negotiations.

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, who has been in coalition with Cameron for the past five years, said that any party leader who thought they would win a majority needed "to go and lie down in that darkened room".


© 2015 AFP

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