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Insights from the UK and beyond

The big rescue package has bought the politicians some time

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They promised us market meltdown if there was a hung parliament. That was the Conservative pitch before the election.

That isn’t quite what happened. The pound did fall a bit, so did gilts and stocks but most losses were made up by the end of the first day after the result became known, which had been widely expected.

Attention, anyway, had moved elsewhere. There was already mayhem in global markets when British voters were going to the polls on Thursday. One hedge fund manager described it as seven or eight out of 10 when compared with the peak of the crisis.

Things were getting even more hairy on Friday and over the weekend it became clear that the European authorities would have to act to prevent the problem in Greece and they duly did, leading to stocks and the euro rallying as risk appetite  returned.

from The Great Debate UK:

The Disunited Kingdom

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- Paul Henderson Scott has written numerous books on Scottish history, literature and affairs, including ‘A 20th Century Life’ and its sequel, ‘The New Scotland’. He has been Rector of Dundee University, President of the Saltire Society and of Scottish PEN and a Vice-President of the Scottish National Party. The opinions expressed are his own -

BRITAIN SCOTLANDThe recent election has revealed more clearly than before the profound divide between Scottish and English opinion. The Conservatives have 297 seats in England but only one in Scotland (plus eight in Wales). As Joyce McMillan said in The Scotsman, “Our pattern of voting increasingly marks us out as a nation apart”.

What now for Cameron’s agenda?

The big question is what happens to David Cameron’s modernisation agenda if he has to rule with a minority government.

Cameron had a lead of around 25 points or more against Labour not so long ago. But if tonight’s exit poll is right he is now short  of a majority.

Elections don’t get more exciting than this

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It’s going to be a long night! Cliffhanger, nailbiter, whatever you want to call it — it doesn’t get more exciting than this.

Polls closed just over two hours ago and the exit polls show we are clearly in hung parliament territory. The Conservatives are projected to have the most seats at 305, but that’s 21 seats short of an overall majority.

Twitter users still agree with Nick

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One the eve of the general election, our exclusive Twitter analysis of political sentiment shows that while the latest opinion polls point to a late rally by Gordon Brown’s Labour Party, users of the micro-blogging site still favour Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats over the other two main parties.

US market research firm Crimson Hexagon (on behalf of Reuters.co.uk) has been archiving all tweets on British politics since March 22 and analysing them for positive and negative sentiment. All parties have had their ups and downs, most notably in the aftermath of the first leaders’ debate (which led to a spike in support for the LibDems and the hashtag #iagreewithnick trending on Twitter) and Gordon Brown’s “bigot” gaffe in Rochdale,which gave us the highest percentage of negative tweets for any party during the campaign.

Twitter users give their verdict on final leaders’ debate

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The snap polls say Tory leader David Cameron was the victor of last night’s final leaders’ debate, but what did users of micro-blogging site Twitter make of the three main prime ministerial candidates?

Analysis of political tweets by research firm Crimson Hexagon for Reuters.co.uk shows a spike in positive LibDem tweets, up to 22 percent from 14 percent the previous day. Pro-Labour sentiment fell four points to 8 percent, while pro-Tory tweets improved only slightly from 3 percent to 4 percent, despite the widely-held view that Cameron out-performed his two rivals last night.

Jokes wear thin at ill-tempered Labour event

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MandelsonLabour strategy chief Peter Mandelson berated the media at a press conference this morning for failing to focus on policy. Then he repeatedly side-stepped questions on the most important policy challenge of all: where are the tens of billions of pounds of spending cuts needed to halve the deficit going to come from?

Of course Labour are not alone in dodging that thorniest of questions. David Cameron keeps repeating that his Conservatives have gone “further than any opposition in history” in spelling out proposed spending cuts, starting with 6 billion pounds in unspecified “efficiency savings” this year. But his insistence cannot mask the fact that the Tories’ planned cuts, like Labour’s and indeed the Liberal Democrats’, add up to only a fraction of what is required.

Will a hung parliament create a serious hangover for British business?

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parliamentElection day is fast approaching and with the poll gap narrowing between the Conservatives and Labour, there is a very real probability that the UK will end up with a hung parliament. For the first time since 1974, the UK may be left without clear political leadership.

- What will this really mean for British business?
- How will the markets and sterling react?
- Will a hung parliament scare off international investors?
- Could the economy survive a second general election within a year?

How did the party leaders fare on Twitter?

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There was no undisputed winner, according to the snap polls which followed the second leaders’ debate in Bristol last night. The instant polls were split on who had won, with three saying LibDem leader Nick Clegg was the victor and another two placing the Conservatives’ David Cameron in first place.

“The three main party leaders were unable to land a knockout punch on their rivals,” said Reuters correspondent Peter Griffiths, reporting from Bristol yesterday.

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