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London Comment: Winners and Losers

Did you ever have a slow bicycle race at school? The aim was to lose the race - thus becoming the winner. It was a tricky, wobbly ride and balance was impossible to maintain. I sometimes wonder if the way that each of Britain's 3 main political parties has conducted this election campaign may be more about losing than winning. Because whoever wins will form a deeply unpopular government, and will therefore be unlikely to see power again for decades. It's all to do with our huge deficit which has risen to dangerous heights. Just look at the austerity package the Greek government put together to save that country from complete fiscal collapse - and the resulting angry riots in Athens yesterday. We're looking at similar medicine over here -- higher taxes and much much lower government spending. Who knows how the British will react? So could losing be the new winning and winning the new losing? Political parties are about taking power and keeping it, but are any of them clever enough to let this one go? They may not be, but they are stupid enough to make it appear so. During the campaign, our third party, the Liberal Democrats, shot themselves in the foot with simplistic and untested defence and immigration policies. The ruling Labour Party seems to have already admitted defeat by suggesting that some of us should vote for someone else -- anyone else -- in a tactical bid to keep the Conservative Party out of power; whereas the Conservatives have created confusion and apathy amongst millions of would-be voters by saying nothing much at all. The up-shot is a country where many of us are still undecided. I am a radio talk-show host. I speak to voters every single day on the issues surrounding this election. The extraordinary message I am picking up is that many British people hate all politicians and are not going to vote at all. An electorate that loses faith with democracy is dangerous. Our voting booths are now open. But with the prospect that millions could simply stay away, it doesn't really matter who wins - we all become losers. This is Petrie Hosken for CBS News in London.

Petrie Hosken

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