Beyond the immediate political battles being fought by the Labour party against the Scottish National party, and the Conservatives against both of them, there is a more fundamental tension north of the border. It is between politics and economics.
The pro-independence SNP has the political momentum. Not only is it set to win the vast majority of Scottish Westminster seats, its rise has provoked the sort of reaction among senior Conservatives such as Sir John Major that serves its cause. The more the SNP playing a role in Westminster is seen as somehow illegitimate (a ridiculous notion), the more it fosters the belief that Scotland and England are drifting apart. Read more
It might be the closest general election in living memory, but another coalition government after May 7 won’t affect your ability to find a new job. That’s the implication of a new survey of 600 employers by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation.
Just 4 per cent say they’ll cut back on their hiring plans if there is another coalition. For the majority (64 per cent) it will make no difference whatsoever. The remainder say they don’t know. Read more
Nearly half a million people on Monday took advantage of their last chance to get on the electoral register before the general election, setting a new daily record.
I highly recommend this post by Carl Gardner, a barrister and former government lawyer, about the legal basis for what happens when there is a hung parliament.
In it, Gardner makes a critical point: Read more
UK voters will elect a new parliament in a general election on May 7. Our poll-of-polls tracks all national-level voting intention polling figures going back to the 2010 election – the dots on our chart – and then calculates a rolling score for each party adjusted for recency and different pollsters. Read more
In bitesized form, here is a checklist of what we do – and don’t know about the man who would be prime minister’s plans:
What do betting markets make of the election so far? Well, if anything, they seem as confused as everyone else. Currently punters on Betfair are predicting that the Conservatives will win the most seats but that Labour will form a minority government and that David Cameron will be the next prime minister. Read more
The Scottish polls aren’t moving. Since Ipsos Mori shocked political observers at the end of October by showing a 29-point lead for the SNP, Labour have looked on course to lose dozens of seats to the Nationalists, perhaps ridding them of a Westminster majority.
This has unsurprisingly been seen as a disaster for Labour, and in the long run it probably is. But in the aftermath of what could be an incredibly tight general election result, Ed Miliband’s party might have managed to manoeuvre itself into a very strong position.
The pre-election poster battle intensified on Tuesday as Labour launched a new image parodying Saatchi & Saatchi’s famous 1979 dole queue montage for Margaret Thatcher, a key moment in the history of visual campaigning. Read more
If the SNP achieves anything like the victory polls suggest, we will discover quite how committed unionists really are towards the union. There will be a great temptation to respond violently to the good jock – bad jock tactics of Ms Sturgeon and Mr Salmond. There will also be a growing enthusiasm – especially among Conservatives – to exchange home rule in Scotland for English votes on English laws. Of course, this is what the SNP wants them to think : that the only way to destroy nationalism is to destroy the union.
Leaders of seven of the parties standing in next month’s UK general election are appearing in a one-off TV debate on Thursday night.
This is the only occasion that Conservative prime minister David Cameron will appear on a podium at the same time as any of the others, including his main rival for Number 10 Downing Street, Labour leader Ed Miliband. But in what is predicted to be the closest election in modern times there is as much interest in the smaller parties who could hold the balance of power.
By Mark Odell and Jim Pickard
Some supporters of Scottish independence believe in the conspiracy theory that MI5 was working against a Yes vote. Others have so much optimism bias about the economics of independence that I worry there is dopamine* in their Irn-Bru.
And let’s not mention the secret oil fields. Read more
The Labour Party has always boasted the lion’s share of celebrity endorsements and this election promises to be no different as the opposition tonight releases an election broadcast starring Sherlock actor Martin Freeman and Doctor Who hero David Tennant.
The video, which will run at 5.55pm on BBC Two, 6.55pm on BBC One and 6.25pm on ITV, features Freeman telling a camera that the 2015 general election will be “a choice between two completely different sets of values.” Read more
Take a look at our new graphic which details our four key battlegrounds: SNP target seats; Tory-Labour marginals; the rise of Ukip; and the collapse in Lib Dem support.
This week’s data are a timely reminder that with less than seven weeks to go until polling day and Labour and the Tories neck and neck when recently published polls are averaged, the relationship between poll leads and who might become prime minister is not straightforward. Read more
Research by Elizabeth Rigby, Jim Pickard, Kiran Stacey and George Parker
The refurbishment of Muni Theatre in Pendle might not seem an obvious priority for George Osborne in his annual Budget statement.
But the north-western town is one of a number of marginal election battlegrounds to have benefited from the chancellor’s generosity just weeks from polling day. Read more
Chancellor George Osborne has promised “no giveaways, no gimmicks” in today’s Budget – but there is sure to be plenty of politics.
Less than two months before the UK’s general election, he will attempt to translate the economic recovery into votes for the Conservative party at what is shaping up to be the most unpredictable general election in living memory.
By John Aglionby, Claer Barrett and Jonathan Eley