UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

Where did the Tory lead go?

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An opinion poll published today shows the Labour Party gaining ground on David Cameron’s Conservatives. The Ipsos Mori poll found support for the Conservatives on 37 percent, with Labour on 32 percent and the Liberal Democrats on 19 percent.

Carried into an election this would give Labour the most seats in the House of Commons, although no party would have an outright majority. The Conservative’s lead has been cut from a high of 28 points back in September 2008.

In the video clip below, Reuters Chief Correspondent Keith Weir discusses the possible reasons for the change in fortunes for both parties.

What is Alistair Darling up to?

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darling Normally regarded as a safe pair of hands, Chancellor Alistair Darling raised hell on Tuesday night by confirming on live television what everyone in Westminster has believed for some time.

That was that there were people who worked for the prime minister who briefed against him after he told a magazine interviewer in 2008 that the country was facing the worst economic conditions in 60 years.

TV interview shows Brown is brushing up

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BrownIt should have been toe-curlingly embarrassing but Gordon Brown seemed to come out of it pretty well, raising the stakes for the planned debates between party leaders ahead of the election.

The prime minister’s appearance on Piers Morgan’s celebrity interview programme on Sunday night must have been designed to  show a more human side to Brown — who often comes across as awkward and intellectual.

from MacroScope:

Britain heading for rude awakening?

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There is a divisive election ahead for Britain, the threat of a ratings downgrade on its sovereign debt and a deficit that has ballooned into the largest by percentage of any major economy.  UK stocks, bonds and sterling, however, are trundling along as if all were well. What gives?

For a fuller discussion on the issue click here, but the gist is that all three asset classes  are being support by factors that may be masking the danger of a broad reversal. UK equities have been driven higher by the improving global economy, bonds held up by the Bank of England's huge buying programme and sterling by valuation and the distress of others.

from Mark Jones:

A Google election?

The return to work on Monday prompted the launch of the main UK political parties' pre-election campaigns and the indications are that social media is likely to play a big role in the run-up to the general election.

David Cameron kicked off the Conservatives' Draft Health Manifesto with a very neat 'ask Cameron' feature making use of Google Moderator -- something I'd not heard of before but previously used by Conservative MP Giles Chichester in the runup to the Copenhagen climate summit.

Has Alistair Darling done enough to revive Labour’s electoral hopes?

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So how was it for you?

Chancellor Alistair Darling threw the dice in his pre-budget report in an attempt to bolster Labour’s chances of winning the general election in 2010.

From hitting bankers with a one-off bonus tax to lowering bingo duty, Darling played to the Labour heartlands, while hoping to win back voters who have been telling pollsters that they are done with Gordon Brown.

Cash for Trash? Tories offer a recycling sweetner

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BRITAIN/On Tuesday, the Tories, still ahead in the opinion polls and widely expected to gain power in an election, which must be held by June 2010, went on a green charm offensive.

It’s unlikely to steal the election, but it nevertheless got heads turning and newspapers gnashing.

Was the Queen’s speech pointless?

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LON700LibDem leader Nick Clegg had called for the speech to be cancelled because he says there is little chance of much legislation getting through before the coming general election. ”The speech will be dressed up as the way to ‘build Britain’s future’ when it will be little more than a rehearsal of the next Labour Party manifesto, an attempt to road-test policy gimmicks to see whether they might save this Government’s skin,” he said.”It is a waste of everyone’s time, and should be cancelled in favour of an emergency programme of political reform,” he added in the Independent. “That is the only job this rump of a Parliament is fit for.”The Conservatives piled in too, with their leader in the upper House, Lord Strathclyde saying that if the measures outlined were so important they would have been in the government’s legislative programme last year rather than being left to the last moment of the fifth term.Downing Street however called the speech a ”very focused programme” of legislation, while Labour’s deputy leader Harriet Harman said it contained important plans to foster economic growth and make the banks more accountable.What do you think?

Live blog: BNP on Question Time

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Welcome to our live blog of the BBC’s Question Time, which tonight features British National Party leader Nick Griffin on its panel.

Whichever side of the debate you fall on, no-one can deny that this has developed into a huge story. The BBC has defended its decision to invite Griffin on, Gordon Brown has predicted that it will backfire and security has been ramped up ahead of the show.

Clouds of change: Buzzwords from conference season

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dave1Opposition leader David Cameron has delivered his speech to the Conservative party conference in Manchester.******Cameron told delegates there would be “painful” cuts in public spending, promised to send more troops to Afghanistan and stressed the importance of confronting “Labour’s debt crisis.” He also pledged to modernise the pension system, “break the cycle of welfare dependency” and cut back on bureaucracy to make life easier for entrepreneurs.******Cameron’s speech brings conference season to an end. Leaders of the three main parties — Cameron, Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Nick Clegg for the Liberal Democrats — have all laid out their plans for Britain ahead of a general election due by June 2010.******The ‘word clouds’ below have been generated using the complete texts from each of the leaders’ keynote conference speeches, in the order they were given. At first glance there are some striking similarities and fascinating overlaps — but we will leave it to you to draw your own conclusions.******How did you think each of the leaders performed? Who did you find the most convincing? Is David Cameron ready to lead the country?******Keywords from Nick Clegg’s speech:******cleggwordcloud2****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ******Keywords from Gordon Brown’s speech:******brownwordcloud3****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ******Keywords from David Cameron’s speech:******cameronwordcloud

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