As Britain's General Election Campaign heads into its final 24 hours today (17 June), the ruling Labour Party is still strongly favoured to win by a majority of the public opinion polls.
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Background: As Britain's General Election Campaign heads into its final 24 hours today (17 June), the ruling Labour Party is still strongly favoured to win by a majority of the public opinion polls.
When recent polls are average out the lead for labour settles at about seven per cent; or roughly equivalent to the 97 seats it won in 1966. But one poll, published in the Daily Express which supports the Conservative party, shows the Labour lead cut to two per cent which would give them barely a majority at all.
In last minute electioneering the two Party leaders have been defiantly at odds over the country's future economic prospects.
Conservative chief Edward Heath warned that a Labour victory would lead to a further devaluation of the Pound. But Prime Minister Harold Wilson, leader of the ruling Labour party, accused Mr. Heath of trying to sell the country short to win votes.
It was the latest in a series of skirmishes this week on economic issues. Earlier in the week Mr. Heath hammered on the theme that Britain's economy is moving into a serious position and that prices are rising faster than in any country except Japan. He seized on the GBP31 million sterling May trade deficit announced on Tuesday (16 June) as proof that his warnings of difficult times ahead were already being borne out.
Mr. Wilson, quoting figures from the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (O.E.C.D.) countered with the claim that British prices would rise less over the next 18 months than in almost any other Western country.
Strikes and unemployment were other topics in what is generally considered here as a dull campaign. Perhaps one of the reasons is that June is traditionally a month for other things in Britain. People seem more concerned with horse racing at Ascot, the World Cup, and sunning themselves at Brighton. The last time a June election was held was in 1841 when the Conservatives won.
The two party leaders themselves are not exactly flamboyant men. Mr. Wilson at 54 perhaps has the edge here with his wit and easy manner.
He has been moving around the country in a "meet the people" campaign and clearly enjoys trading verbal punches with hecklers at his street corner gatherings. Mr Heath, 53, is a somewhat starchy batchelor who has never really succeeded in concealing his distaste for electioneering. He usually addressed ticket-only meetings packed with faithful Tory supporters.
Throughout the campaign the opinion polls have shown Labour strong favourites to win and recently there have been stories in the national press saying that many conservatives have privately admitted they don't expect to win.