Archive for May 3rd, 2015

United Kingdom Election – five days to go

Adrian Beaumont
The Conversation
2 May 2015

The United Kingdom election will be held in five days on Thursday. The current UK Polling Report (UKPR) poll average has the Tories on 34%, Labour on 33%, the Liberal Democrats (Lib Dems) on 9%, the UK Independence Party (UKIP) on 14% and the Greens on 5%; this represents a 1% gain for the Tories since last week.

Based on uniform swings in England and Wales, and a separate uniform swing for Scotland, UKPR has Labour winning 290 of 650 seats, to 263 for the Tories, 19 for the Lib Dems, 60 for the Scottish National Party (SNP) and a few Others, and 18 for Northern Ireland parties. My adjustment to this is to take 20 seats off Labour and give them to the Tories owing to sophomore surges; this method gives the Tories 283 seats to Labour’s 270. If this is the result, the Tories would be the largest party by 13 seats, but Labour would form some sort of government with SNP support.

There are some signs that Labour has regained ground in the last few days. Four of the last five polls have given Labour a 1-2 point lead, and the fifth was tied. As a result, the May 2015 poll average now has a dead heat between the major parties, after showing a slender Tory lead. A caveat is that the most recent polls are Internet based panel polls, and phone polls have been better for the Tories.

The last three Scottish polls all give the SNP over 50% of the Scotland vote, with Labour in the low to mid 20’s. As a result, there has been some speculation that the SNP could win all 59 of Scotland’s seats. The latest forecasts have the SNP winning between 49 and 56 seats. Read the rest of this entry »

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Baghdadi may be gone, but his empire will live on

By David Blair
Chief Foreign Correspondent
02 May 2015

The Isil leader may have been wounded in an air strike, but the terrorist movement no longer depends on him

After leading a desert blitzkrieg across Syria and Iraq, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi stood before thousands of followers and proclaimed himself “Caliph” of a new “Islamic State”.

Yet the bloodsoaked reign of a terrorist who achieved global prominence by conquering swathes of the Middle East now appears to have been cut short by one American air strike.

Iraq’s government and other sources are convinced that far from leading his men in battle, Baghdadi now lies critically wounded and receiving constant care. A US air raid near the town of Al-Baaj, 90 miles west of the Iraqi city of Mosul, appears to have injured Baghdadi and killed three of his companions on March 18.

The self-styled “Caliph” is understood have suffered spinal damage for which he requires continuous treatment. As a result, Baghdadi is thought to be incapacitated and no longer in command of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

Instead, de facto leadership of the movement has passed to a council of senior commanders, including Baghdadi’s supposed deputy, Abu Alaa al-Afri. Read the rest of this entry »

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