UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

from Matt Falloon:

It’s snow joke

Snow or no snow, these GDP figures are a nightmare for the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government and throw up the risk of a self-fulfilling spiral of gloom.

When the shock 0.5 percent drop in economic output at the end of 2010 hits television screens on Tuesday night as families sit down to dinner, already-cautious consumers will feel more than a winter chill.

These numbers are likely to knock confidence just when the government needs businesses and households to step up to the plate.

Will businesses unleash investment and take on hoards of new staff now, or will they wait for signs of improvement?

Oldham could be shape of things to come

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As voters drifted towards polling stations on a damp winter’s night in Oldham East and Saddleworth, it was hard to find anyone bursting with good things to say about Britain’s Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government.

Even some Lib Dems, who came so close to beating Labour in this marginal seat in May, seemed to be voting out of a sense of duty rather than conviction, hoping to limit the shame of defeat to a Labour party still struggling to assert itself in opposition.

Family drama grips Labour Party conference

BRITAIN-LABOUR/Just when the Labour Party thought it had got over the long feud between Gordon Brown and Tony Blair, it has been gripped by an even more compelling drama worthy of prime-time TV – the tale of two brothers who reached the top of British politics only to see their ambitions collide.

Delegates at the Labour Party conference in Manchester are just getting over their surprise that Ed Miliband, 40, pipped his brother David, 45, to be Labour leader. David had long been favourite to win and Ed’s shock victory on Saturday brought gasps from delegates.

Has the Blair backlash gone too far?

Blair

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair must feel like a hunted man. And that’s probably what his vocal critics want. First, he postpones his planned book signing because of possible protests and now a private party planned for the Tate Modern gallery has gone the same way.

The obvious cause of the anger prompted by Blair can be summed up by one word: “Iraq”.

from The Great Debate UK:

Cameron tasked with changing Brits’ expectations

-- Mark Kobayashi-Hillary is the author of several books, including ‘Who Moved my Job?’ and ‘Global Services: Moving to a Level Playing Field’. The opinions expressed are his own --

After thirteen years, it’s all over. The New Labour project is dead. Or is it? Tony Blair brought British politics to the centre-ground and ensured that a single party could support free-market economic policies as well as social justice.

How long can the negotiations go on?

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It should have been all over now. But no, we’re on day five and no one really seems to know which way things are going to go.

All over Westminster, people are looking tired. Journalists, politicians, aides and most of all the 24-hour news anchors.

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.

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.

from Matt Falloon:

Brown soldiers on

If a car slams into a bus stop just yards away as you launch a last-ditch election offensive, you might be forgiven for thinking that the gods are
not on your side.

But even after the nightmare week British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has had, such portents of doom have little visible effect on the self-proclaimed underdog in this, one of Britain's most closely fought parliamentary elections for 25 years.

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