Here are the five things you need to know on Tuesday 6 May 2014...
1) ONE YEAR TO GO!
There are just 365 days to go till what the Guardian front page headline calls "the least predictable election for 70 years". Writing in the paper, Patrick Wintour and Tom Clarke observe:
"Britain may have an army of pollsters, and for the first time in its history a fixed date for the general election, but the outcome is perhaps the least predictable of any in postwar history... What happens between now and polling day matters. Events, dear boy (and girl), are there for the parties to shape and win. Yet on all sides there is a wariness about reading the public mood. The public's evident disconnect with politicians is felt as much in the other direction. The politicians are grappling to gauge the public mood - the depth, permanence and source of the popular revolt reflected in the rise of U kip is only a symptom of a wider malaise. In the short term, The Great Unknown is whether the European and local elections will turn out to be a frolic, and the serious business of politics, as Ken Clarke put it last week, will thereafter return."
My own view is that Ed Miliband will either win a small majority of be the leader of the largest party in a hung parliament. I explain why the odds are against a Tory majority here.
2) WAR ON WELFARE, PART 345
From the Guardian's splash:
"Jobseekers face losing their benefits for three months or more if they refuse to take zero-hours contract roles, a letter from a Conservative minister has revealed. For the first time, benefit claimants are at risk of sanctions if they do not apply for and accept certain zero-hours jobs under the new universal credit system, despite fears that such contracts are increasingly tying workers into insecure and low paid employment... the change in policy under universal credit was revealed in a letter from Esther McVey, an employment minister, to Labour MP Sheila Gilmore, who had raised the issue of sanctions with her."
3) IS THE PM 'CHEERLEADING' FOR PFIZER?
From the FT's splash:
"AstraZeneca has urged David Cameron not to give ammunition to Pfizer's £63bn takeover approach as the UK group prepares to step up its defence by trumpeting a range of new drugs under development. Leif Johansson, AstraZeneca's Swedish chairman, cautioned the prime minister that the government's active engagement with Pfizer could allow the US group to claim that Downing Street was in favour of the deal, according to people familiar with the conversation, which took place on Friday. Details of the conversation emerged after Ed Miliband, leader of the opposition Labour party, on Sunday accused Mr Cameron of acting like a "cheerleader" for Pfizer after ministers entered negotiations with the company over jobs and investment before it has even made a formal offer."
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR...
Watch this video of Barack Obama in his role as Comedian-in-Chief at the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner over the weekend.
4) BME BRITAIN
From the Telegraph's splash:
"Almost one in three people in Britain will be from an ethnic minority within a generation, a report suggests. Non–white people will make up between 20 and 30 per cent of the population by 2050, Policy Exchange says. The current figure is around 14 per cent... Policy Exchange found that all non–white Britons were less persuaded by the Tories than their white counterparts, but some ethnic groups were more inclined to the Conservatives than others. Some 17 per cent of Indians identify with the party compared with 4 per cent of Black Africans, 7 per cent of Black Caribbeans, 8 per cent of Bangladeshis and 9 per cent of Pakistanis."
5) FAR RIGHT FRIENDS
From the Telegraph:
"Europe’s leading far-Right leader has predicted Ukip will end up in an alliance for Marine Le Pen and other Eurosceptic forces in the new European parliament following this month’s elections. Geert Wilders told the Telegraph that he expects Nigel Farage to ditch a promise never to work with the French National Front after Ukip’s expected successes in European elections later this month. Mr Wilders and Miss Le Pen have joined forces to create a 'European Freedom Alliance' and both are leading the opinion polls for Europe-wide elections in their respective countries, the Netherlands and France."
PUBLIC OPINION WATCH
From yesterday's Sunday Times/YouGov poll:
Lib Dems 9
That would give Labour a majority of 32.
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