Britain won’t hold a national election until May 2015, and electoral campaigns are short a matter of weeks rather than months. The conferences, which get heavy media coverage, give the parties a rare midterm chance to grab the attention of the electorate for good or for ill. “They are great opportunities, but there are dangers if things go slightly awry,” said Steven Fielding, director of the Center for British Politics at the University of Nottingham. Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives begin their four-day conference on Sunday in Manchester, northwest England, following gatherings this month of the Liberal Democrats, the Labour Party and the United Kingdom Independence Party, or UKIP. Like Britain’s economy slammed by the 2008 financial crisis and now spluttering along with a growth rate below 1 percent none of the parties is exactly riding high. Cameron suffered a shock defeat last month when Parliament rejected his attempt to authorize British military intervention in Syria a reversal that eroded both his status on the world stage and his authority among party lawmakers. Meanwhile, the rising right-wing, Euroskeptic party UKIP is nibbling away at his electoral support. Ahead of the Conservatives’ conference, Cameron sought to score some political points with plans for a tax break for married couples. The new policy, announced Saturday, would be worth roughly 200 pounds ($321) a year to about 4 million couples. Fielding said Cameron’s task when he makes his big conference speech on Wednesday is straightforward: “To get the message across: ‘The economy is mending. Labour was to blame and we’re fixing it.'” “The only story that is going to win them the next election is ‘We have turned the corner,'” Fielding said. The two other big parties arguably have trickier messages to communicate.
UK’s Royal Mail privatization subscribed in hours: sources
28, holding a 12-5 record on this date. UK was actually credited with two wins on this date in 1907 after Winchester A.C. forfeited and UK later beat Louisville Manual 30-0. Kentucky and Florida have met twice on this date with the Gators winning both games. UF took down UK 65-0 on Sept. 28, 1996 in Gainesville before a 41-34 UF win in Gainesville on Sept. 28, 2002. NOTES: Saturdays game is the SEC opener for Kentucky after three non-conference games to start the season. This is the fifth-straight season that Kentucky has opened SEC play against the Gators. Kentuckys offense ranks high in the SEC in several categories, including tied for fourth in total offense with 490.0 yards per game. UKs pass attack ranks fourth in the conference with 276.7 yards per game, while Kentucky is third in the conference in converting fourth downs (4-of-5; 80%). The Wildcat defense is also ranked high in several statistical categories, sitting third in the SEC in pass defense and third in 1st downs against. UKs defense has had success on third down, sitting second in the SEC by allowing teams just nine third-down conversions this season in 39 attempts.
GAMEDAY: UK vs. Florida
UNDER PRESSURE Labour, which polls show is the frontrunner to win the next election, has come under pressure from its union backers and party activists to pledge to renationalize Royal Mail. While it has not ruled this out, Labour said it would be irresponsible to do so without knowing how much it could cost. The head of equities at a UK fund manager said Labour leader Ed Milliband’s promise earlier this week to freeze energy prices for 20 months if his party wins power in May 2015 may have made Royal Mail more attractive to some investors. “The income fund managers are quite intrigued by it (Royal Mail),” said the manager, who declined to be named. “If our friend Ed is going to make things difficult for utilities … this is potentially quite a nice thing coming through.” The government said it planned to pay a final 2014 dividend totaling 133 million pounds, equating to a full-year payout of 200 million had the group been listed for the full year. Based on the offer price range, that full-year payout gives Royal Mail an implied dividend yield of between 6.1 percent and 7.7 percent – making it attractive at a time when a regular UK savings account is yielding less than 3 percent. Britain has also agreed to hand 10 percent of Royal Mail’s shares to staff in the largest share giveaway of any major UK privatization. If distributed equally among the eligible 150,000 UK-based workers, each could receive 2,200 pounds worth. The government said it expected around 30 percent of the shares on offer would go to individual members of the public, who must spend a minimum of 750 pounds to invest in the company. Royal Mail, which no longer includes the Post Office services and retail business, has annual revenue of more than 9 billion pounds.