The Tories are far from perfect but Corbyn's Labour party deserves to lose this election

Christian May
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Theresa May is the election's deserving winner

This has been an unusual election campaign.

Terror has twice punctuated the debate with periods of shock and mourning, while placing security at the top of the agenda. It's also an election that was never supposed to happen. Theresa May said time and again there would be no election, before a weekend walking in Wales changed her mind.

Having started out with a sky-high poll lead over Labour, the Tories have been pulled back down to earth by a combination of their own cack-handedness and Corbyn's creeping popularity.

Read more: Final pre-election poll results: Tories take 12 point lead in ICM poll

Tory candidates pinpoint the disastrous social care policy (or dementia tax) as the moment when things started to turn, but in truth the polls were always going to narrow as election day drew near - and now it is upon us. This newspaper has spent much of the past six weeks criticising the manifestos of both main parties.

The Tories have rekindled an interventionist, statist form of conservatism that simply fails to inspire. When combined with a blind commitment to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands, May's offering isn’t generating much enthusiasm in the City.

The truth is that this election offers slim pickings for free-market liberals. Who is speaking up for the benefits of globalisation? Who is prepared to celebrate and defend the wealth-creating forces of economic liberalism? The Tory manifesto explicitly rejects individualism and dismisses “untrammelled free markets” - choosing instead to celebrate “the good that government can do.”

Read more: City analysts predict what election will mean for sterling, FTSE and Brexit

Still, this insipid offering looks positively appealing when viewed alongside the Labour manifesto which, if implemented, would result in eye-watering levels of borrowing and, according to the IFS, the highest levels of taxation in peacetime history.

Labour wants to nationalise swathes of the British economy, tax financial transactions, reintroduce the 50p rate, set up a state-run bank, legislate against high pay, increase corporation tax and generally expand the state into every corner of our lives. Labour's pitch for government is a frightening, overbearing and ruinously expensive proposition.

While the policies deserve derision, the character and calibre of the party's leadership should also be examined. Between them, Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell have spent decades pitching camp on the wrong side of the arguments. As backbench MPs on the fringe of their party, their enthusiastic support for the IRA, socialist dictators and Islamist-sympathisers attracted little attention.

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Today, as they pitch for high office, such positions should hang round their necks like chains. The Labour party does not deserve your vote, even if many of its longstanding MPs do. This election ought to play the role of a forest fire for the British left: scorching the ground to encourage fresh growth.

Whatever fate befalls the Labour party, only the Conservatives can form a credible government. Their manifesto may have considerable flaws, but viewed alongside Corbyn’s ludicrous pitch for power it’s the only show in town.

As for Brexit, you may not have voted for it – but who do you want negotiating it? May talks about wanting “an open, global, trading Britain” – and she has a much more developed sense of the City’s priorities than any of Corbyn’s crew. So even if it lacks enthusiasm, your vote, today, should go to the Tories.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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