The date has been announced. Britons will go to the polls on 5 May. Tony Blair’s brave visions in opposition have, in practice, meant little more than the hiring of more civil servants with busy-body briefs. The Conservatives are back in the fight, thanks to Blair’s duplicity and the hardball tactics of their now-found strategist, former federal Liberal director Lynton Crosby.

But keep this in mind when you digest coverage of the British poll. The UK has very different electoral laws to Australia, with strict expenditure limits and controls on political advertising, particularly in electronic media.

Crosby has run his campaigns from government in a very different campaign environment with a different voting system. He’s turned the Conservatives around – but they’re still the underdogs. By a mile.

Peter Fray

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