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Thursday's British general election will be very close, three faculty members agreed last night, while a fourth predicted that Labor will win by a fair margin.
Samuel H. Beer, associate professor of Government, David E. Owen, professor of History, and Arthur N. Holcombe '06, Eaton Professor of the Science of Government, stated that the emphasis during this campaign has been on the probable closeness of the popular vote. Elliot Perkins '23, lecturer on History, however, believed that the Labor majority would probably be smaller than now, although the election could not actually be formed "close."
"It will be a photo finish," Beer said, "and it is really impossible for me to say who will win." He pointed out that Public opinion polls at the end of January showed a large percentage of undecided voters, the final distribution of which cannot yet be determined.
While the margin will be very narrow, Labor will be returned, Owen predicted. "Of course, after the 1945 election no one can be too certain of the winner beforehand," he continued. The majority, Owen thought, is probably well satisfied with what Labor has done since 1945.
All four, faculty members agreed that Labor has done well since taking over the government. "I noticed in the campaign," Holcombe stated, "that there were no serious proposals to change any of the important part of the Labor program now in effect."
"Laber has put through its program very well," Beer thought. Practically everything on the 1945 election manifesto, he said, can now be matched up with a statute or regulation. "But the fact that they had to put through so much made them a little inflexible," he continued. He pointed out that they could not foresee the great burden of armaments that Britain would have to bear.
Beer said that the British economic recovery record in very good. "Visitors don't see the effect," he explained, "because of the new system of distribution used by Labor."
Everyone also agreed that the Conservative position was not too far from that of the Laborites. "The conservatives are in much the same position as Dewey was in our last campaign," Holcombe said. Their campaign, he stated, does not appear to be too effective.
"The British agreed on a general welfare state," Perkins said, "now it is just a question of degree." He also considered Britain's recovery remarkable: the working man is better off now than before, he said, although the middle class has been out back somewhat.
Even if one party wins a majority of the vote, Beer pointed out, it would still be hard to predict the relative parliamentary strength of either party because of the system of election by districts.
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