The Economist declares for the Conservatives
In an editorial, it praises Brown for keeping Britain out of the euro, yet on the economy states that "a prime minister should not get too much credit for climbing out of a hole he himself dug as chancellor", describing the budget deficit as a time-bomb which Brown is "ill equipped to defuse". It concludes that "a change of government is essential".
Whilst stating that it has been "looking for a credible liberal party in Britain for nigh on a century", it is swift to dismiss the Lib Dems with their enthusiasm for the euro, flirtation with scrapping our nuclear deterrent, desire to abolish tuition fees, opposition to nuclear power and policies on business which are "arguably to the left of Labour's": "Mr Clegg has been a delightful holiday romance for many Britons; but this newspaper does not fancy moving in with him for the next five years".
As for the Conservatives, it admits that the party has its faults, but praises David Cameron for modernising the party and stamping out social illiberalism. It also congratulates George Osborne for not giving in to the demands of the Right for tax cuts and for committing the party to an austerity programme.
It sums up:
"More than their rivals, they are intent on redesigning the state. They would reform the NHS by bringing in more outside providers; their plans to give parents and teachers the right to set up schools are the most radical idea in this election. Centralisers under Margaret Thatcher, they now want to devolve power to locally elected offcials, including mayors and police chiefs. Some of this is clouded in waffe about a Big Society. Other bits do not go far enough: it is foolish to rule out letting for-profit companies run schools and wrong to exempt the NHS from cuts. But Mr Cameron is much closer to answering the main question facing Britain than either of his rivals is. In this complicated, perhaps inevitably imperfect election, he would get our vote."