U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron lambasted opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband for being soft on bankers as he called on Tory activists to make the economic case for a second term in office in Thursday’s election.
Cameron, his face red and his shirt sleeves rolled up, raised his voice to demonstrate his anger as he addressed a rally of supporters in Bath, southwest England, on Monday. He highlighted Miliband’s role in the Labour government that was in power until 2010 at the time of the financial crisis.
“Do you know what makes me so mad in this election campaign? It’s when they say our party is for the few not the many,” he shouted. “Ed Miliband -- I remember who got hurt in the crash; it wasn’t the bankers, they got away with the bonuses, the pensions and the knighthoods you gave them. It was the low-paid, the people who lost their jobs, the families who couldn’t pay for food. Don’t you ever lecture us about how to help the many.”
With the two main parties neck-and-neck in polls before the May 7 vote and neither set for a parliamentary majority, Cameron said the seats his party is contesting in the southwest, such as Bath, could be crucial in giving him a second term. He said a minority Labour government “propped up” with votes in the House of Commons from the separatist Scottish National Party would not serve the interests of the region.
Bath is one of 15 districts held by Cameron’s Liberal Democrat coalition partners in southwest England that the Tories are targeting for gains. The Conservatives were 19 seats short of a parliamentary majority in 2010.
“This is the part of the country that can have the decisive say in our election,” Cameron told activists gathered in a high-school theater. “How much would we get here in the southwest, the road improvements, the rail improvements, with a government being run by the SNP?”
The argument, which mirrors one made by the SNP for decades that Scots can’t get a fair deal from a government run from London, has become a regular theme in the latter stages of the election campaign. An SNP surge in the polls is threatening to all but wipe out all Labour representation in Scotland, leaving Miliband reliant on support from the separatist party if he wants to form a government.
Cameron said activists should make the case for the Conservatives having another five years to complete the recovery of the British economy from recession.
“We know the economy is everything in our country,” he said. “Have we solved every problem? No. Do we need another five more years to do it? Yes.”
Cameron also urged people not to cast their vote as a protest or to vote tactically for other parties in individual districts where the Tories aren’t in a good position locally. The choice is between him and Miliband as premier, he said.
“If I’m your preferred prime minister don’t vote Lib Dem, you’ll get Ed Miliband,” he said. “If I’m your preferred prime minister, don’t vote UKIP, you’ll get Ed Miliband.”