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經濟學人:圣誕節前英國的噩夢(3)

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That leaves a low bar for the Liberal Democrats, and they clear it. They, too, have become more extreme since we backed them in 2017. Under a new leader, Jo Swinson, they have gone beyond the idea of a second referendum for an irresponsible promise to reverse Brexit unilaterally. This has deservedly backfired.

這給自由民主黨留下了一個很低的門檻,而他們也通過了。自我們在2017年支持他們以來,他們也變得更加極端。在新領導人喬·斯溫森的領導下,他們已經超越了第二次公投的想法,轉而做出不負責任的承諾,單方面逆轉英國退歐。這顯然適得其反。
Yet their economic approach—a moderate increase in spending, paid for by broad-based tax increases—is the most sensible of the main parties, and is the only one to be honest about the cost of an ageing society. On climate change and social policy they strike the best balance between ambition and realism. As last time, they are the only choice for anyone who rejects both the hard Brexit of the Conservatives and the hardleft plans of Labour. Yet they will not win. So why back them? The practical reason is to restrain whoever ends up in Downing Street. Voters worry that backing the Lib Dems plays into Mr Corbyn’s hands, but our modelling suggests that votes and seats would come fairly evenly from both parties. Mr Corbyn is preparing to govern with the Scottish National Party, which would back most of his programme in return for another independence referendum. Having more Lib Dems would check his plans. Likewise, they would rein in Mr Johnson. Some Tories cling to the hope that if he wins a big majority he will drop the populist act and rediscover his liberal instincts. They are deluded. If he wins the Brexitbacking seats he is targeting with his promises of more state aid, do they expect him to switch back to the fantasy of building Singapore- on-Thames? The opposite is true: the bigger the Tory majority, the more drastic the party’s transformation.
然而,他們的經濟策略——適度增加開支,由廣泛的增稅來支付——是主要政黨中最明智的,而且是唯一一個誠實面對老齡化社會成本的。在氣候變化和社會政策方面,他們在雄心和現實之間取得了最好的平衡。與上次一樣,對于那些既反對保守黨的“硬退歐”、也反對工黨的“強硬左翼”計劃的人來說,他們是唯一的選擇。然而他們不會贏。那么為什么要支持他們呢?實際原因是要約束最終入主唐寧街的人。選民們擔心支持自由民主黨會正中科爾賓的下懷,但我們的模型顯示,兩黨的選票和席位將相當均衡??茽栙e正準備與蘇格蘭民族黨共同執政,該黨將支持他的大部分計劃,以換取另一場獨立公投。有更多的自由民主黨人會阻止他的計劃。同樣,他們也會約束約翰遜。一些保守黨人抱著這樣的希望:如果他贏得了大多數選票,他將放棄民粹主義行為,重新發現他的自由主義本能。他們被欺騙了。如果他承諾提供更多的國家援助,從而贏得了他所瞄準的支持退歐的席位,他們還指望他會回到在泰晤士河上建造新加坡的幻想嗎?事實恰恰相反:保守黨占多數的席位越多,該黨的轉變就越劇烈。

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The principled reason is that the Lib Dems are closest to the liberalism on which this newspaper was founded. A strong Lib Dem showing would signal to voters who favour open markets and a liberal society that the centre is alive. The past few years have shown why Parliament needs good people such as Sam Gyimah, who left the Tories because of their extremism, and Chuka Umunna, who left Labour because of theirs. The course of Brexit has been repeatedly changed for the better by independent-minded MPS making the running. If Britain withdraws from the EU in January, the Lib Dem MPS will be among the best advocates of a deep trade deal and the strongest opponents of no-deal. There is no good outcome to this nightmare of an election. But for the centre to hold is the best hope for Britain.

有原則的原因是自由民主黨最接近自由主義,而本報正是建立在自由主義之上。如果自民黨表現強勁,將向支持開放市場和自由社會的選民發出一個信號:中間派依然存在。過去的幾年已經證明了為什么議會需要像薩姆·吉馬這樣的好人,因為他們的極端主義而離開了托利黨,而丘卡·尤穆納因為他們的極端主義而離開了工黨。有獨立思想的議員們的參選,使英國退歐進程一再朝著更好的方向改變。如果英國在明年1月退出歐盟,自由民主黨議員將成為深度貿易協議的最佳倡導者和不協議的最強烈反對者。這場噩夢般的選舉沒有好結果。但對英國來說,保持中間立場才是最大的希望。

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