Britain is now voting in today’s general election. Opinion polls point to a close contest and the aftermath could be something akin to the mammoth negotiations that have just been concluded in Israel six weeks after the general election there.
The smaller parties in Britain are going to have a bigger say this time and it waits to be seen how badly the Labour Party will do in Scotland against the Scottish Nationalists (could Labour really be wiped out by the SNP?), how badly the Liberal Democrats will do compared to 2010 and how well the UK Independence Party (UKIP) will really do.
Will Britain swing to the right, to the left or will the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats resume their coalition? The answers will not only decide the fate of British economic policy but also its foreign policy.
A form of Lab/Lib/SNP alliance will mean an easing of the Con/Lib austerity measures and much harsher criticism of Israel, for example.
Meanwhile, the electioneering by the political parties has been pretty dull with the same old platitudes and promises. The media, as ever, has been doing its best to keep us entertained.
The Sun has continued to do that in its own inimitable style. Yesterday it republished on its front page the photograph that was published on the day of the European elections last May of Labour leader Ed Miliband struggling to eat a bacon sandwich.
Miliband was mercilessly mocked at the time because it was an obviously failed attempt to make him look more working class (he tried, and failed yet again, more recently when he gave an interview in the tiny kitchen of his rather expensive house instead of in the, later uncovered by the media, large family kitchen).
The Sun, which has the largest circulation of all the newspapers and which has come out in support of the Conservative Party for this election, used that photo yet again yesterday to reinforce its own political message using some, admittedly, awful double-entendres relating to pig.
And Keith Kahn-Harris, writing in yesterday’s Guardian, asked “was the front page of the Sun surreptitiously antisemitic?”
Ed Miliband is Jewish. He does not advertise his Jewishness except for when he wants people to focus on his immigrant roots. His Jewishness does not seem to be an issue with the electorate and it is arguable as to how much of the electorate even realise he is Jewish.
However, there doesn’t seem to be anything remotely anti-Semitic in the use by The Sun of “pig’s ear”, “Save Our Bacon”, “Don’t swallow his porkies” (porky pies is cockney-rhyming slang for lies). Surely, it was merely a political front page to amuse and remind The Sun’s vast readership to vote Conservative in much the same way The Sun screamed of a possible Labour win on the day of the 1992 general election: “If Kinnock wins today will the last person to leave Britain please turn out the lights?”
Labour lost that election despite being expected to win and many have credited that Sun headline for winning it for the Conservative Party.
Kahn-Harris writes that yesterday’s front page was “cruel, abusive and puerile”. He is possibly right there, but anti-Semitic? Even he has doubts.
Kahn-Harris writes widely and, usually, superbly on anti-Semitism but this column, with its accusation of possible anti-Semitism, is especially rich appearing in The Guardian, of all places, considering The Guardian’s relentless attacks on Israel and, sometimes, Jews themselves.
What is far more worrying is the allegation that Labour activists in the parliamentary constituency of Finchley and Golders Green have been telling religious Jews that the Conservative candidate Mike Freer is gay, which he is, to try to put them off voting for him. Of that the Labour-supporting Guardian seems to be silent at the moment.