It is time for a change, but can you trust the alternative? Americans know that feeling. The British will decide on Thursday between a Conservative government that has done great deeds but remained in power too long, and a Labor Party so long in the wilderness that nobody knows if it is responsible.
Prime Minister John Major is a nice man but a mild successor to his mentor, Margaret Thatcher. The upstart Labor leader who would be prime minister is Neil Kinnock, a fiery-tongued Welshman who easily beats Mr. Major in House of Commons debating games. How he would exercise authority is anyone's guess; he never has. Mr. Kinnock repudiates the left-wing and neutralist nostrums that he entered politics to achieve. As Americans may wonder about Jerry Brown's turn-abouts, so British voters may question his.
The Conservative and Labor parties were so opposed a decade ago that change of government meant revolution. Now their differences are of degree: Not whether Britain should disarm or rearm, but whether it should maintain three Trident missile submarines or four. Not whether to re-nationalize the privatized utilities, but whether to invest more tax money in education. Their differences are, as they were in the 1960s, not unlike those separating American Democrats and Republicans.