Tory MPs keep powder dry on Europe for now

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi , German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron take part in a meeting during a European Union extraordinary summit
David Cameron is set for talks over reform of the UK relationship with the European Union

The UK's future direction for at least a generation hangs precariously on an uncertainty, balanced on the tip of the unknown.

I am talking of course about the planned referendum on the EU.

The brilliant thing about referendums, and one of the features that makes them so irksome for politicians is their binary clarity - "Yes" or "No", "In" or "Out".

This one will be like that, but it isn't at the moment.

For now, the most important group of potential voters are the "Maybes".

Read full article Tory MPs keep powder dry on Europe for now

Are Labour tribes readying to go to war?

Ed and David Miliband
David Miliband is among those who has criticised his brother's campaign

"Some of those gimmicks - that tombstone, whatever idiot thought that up I do not know!"

I was talking to the former Mayor of Crawley in Sussex, John Mortimer, in the town's Labour Supporters Club about the vexed question of what went wrong, and where Labour should go next.

Read full article Are Labour tribes readying to go to war?

Election 2015: What will happen after 8 May?

Russell Brand and Ed Miliband
Ed Miliband said his meeting with Russell Brand had made the general election campaign "more interesting"

Mr Cameron is finally pumped up and uses a mild swear-word. Ed Miliband visits the celebrity who is famous for not believing in voting. If you detect an air of desperation it is not surprising.

We await a tsunami. After an almost becalmed campaign, the election result is likely to wreak havoc on not just the parties, but perhaps the familiar structures of British politics, carrying away old assumptions - a reflection not just of the changing weather in the UK but change to the global political climate.

Read full article Election 2015: What will happen after 8 May?

Lib Dems face difficult election aftermath

Nick Clegg
Aiming for a strike on the campaign trail in Colchester

The hustings in Colchester has a comfortably old fashioned feel to it.

It's in a church hall and you can put 50p in a Tupperware box for a cup of tea and a biscuit, then sit on the sort of chairs they always have in church halls and judge how the candidates behind the trestle tables measure up.

Read full article Lib Dems face difficult election aftermath

SNP campaigning hard for big breakthrough

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie, First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy and Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson

The Scots music group, consisting of ladies and gents of a certain maturity, are wrapped in big striped woolly jumpers or anoraks, as well they might for it is chilly at the open-air Balerno farmers' market.

They pluck and saw their instruments in the centre of a square of stalls selling chutneys and organic highland beef and the world's original tattie scone wrap.

Read full article SNP campaigning hard for big breakthrough

Can Labour still dominate in Wales?

Treorchy, Rhondda Valley
The Rhondda Valley has experienced hard times

The campaign trail through the Rhondda Valley is a rather muddy, squelchy one.

I'm with the leader of Plaid Cymru, Leanne Wood, crossing the fields beneath a mountain on our way to what is described as a portal - I don't expect a shimmery sci-fi gateway but am slightly disappointed when there's not even a hole in the hillside.

Read full article Can Labour still dominate in Wales?

Northern Ireland passions move centre stage

Belfast
The result in Belfast could have huge importance to the UK

In Northern Ireland there are still bitter arguments about the old issues which divide this part of the world, about the flying of flags and the routes of parades.

It can seem very removed from the politics of the rest of the UK.

Read full article Northern Ireland passions move centre stage

Where is the inspiration in this election?

Nye Bevan, William Gladstone, Michael Heseltine
Bevan, Gladstone, Heseltine: where are the great political performers of today?

Inside the vast space of the Al Masjid ul Husseini mosque, in Northolt, north west London, pathways and rooms are being created at bewildering speed as barriers are shifted and rearranged, passed overhead in a happy chaos.

Men in pristine, white dishdashas and neat embroidered caps race from one place to another, watched by women in long dresses of many colours, decorated with flowers and intricate designs.

Read full article Where is the inspiration in this election?

Nato muscle-flexing sends Putin firm message

  • 12 March 2015
  • From the section Europe
Italian frigate
An Italian frigate was among the Nato forces in the Black Sea

There is the sound of a gun firing in the Bulgarian port of Varna as Nato's Maritime Group Two comes into harbour.

Don't worry, it's not war: they are firing a line ashore so they can tie up.

Read full article Nato muscle-flexing sends Putin firm message

Could Blue Labour capture party's soul?

Jon Cruddas
Jon Cruddas was appointed Labour Party policy co-ordinator by Ed Miliband in 2012

The link between a collection of erudite, philosophical essays, a nasty spat within Labour ranks about the NHS and a top level debate in the party over immigration, may not be obvious.

But it is important.

Read full article Could Blue Labour capture party's soul?