Britain votes on Thursday, with a hung parliament seeming to be more probable than not.
CNN says the election is about “fish, bacon and beer,” while there have even been newspaper ads telling voters to ignore other newspapers.
David Axelrod, who is advising Labour’s Ed Miliband – in opposition to his former Obama White House colleague Jim Messina, who is working for David Cameron’s Tories – tells Politico about the differences in the two countries’ campaign processes.
First is money. It’s huge. I was a media consultant for 25 years and while I did all the things I’m doing here I also produced advertising. That’s a huge difference between American politics and British politics. Ads help define campaigns in America and they’re absent here — which may be better for the commonweal but it’s one less really powerful tool in the tool box.
Second difference is length of campaign, which is quite short. So you have a short time to communicate your message.
As a result there is a disproportionate power in the media and a much more aggressive media that you have to navigate.
The BBC’s first Election Night Special live coverage was in 1955. Here’s what’s changed since, and what hasn’t.
And here’s the Beeb’s reporting rules for election day (via Nick Sutton)
* Polls close in the UK at 10pm (5pm ET) — Check back with The Note tomorrow for live coverage as the results come in *
* US POLITICS * The Senate is set to vote on Thursday on a bill that would let Congress review the terms of any upcoming nuclear deal with Iran. The AP reports:
Supporters want the bill passed free of controversial add-ons they claim could scuttle negotiations with Tehran, draw a presidential veto or leave lawmakers with no say on a national security threat. Negotiators for the U.S. and five other nations are rushing toward a June 30 deadline to finalize a deal in which Iran would curb its nuclear program in exchange for relief from sanctions choking its economy.
Vox explains the increasingly bizarre controversy around the pseudo-conspiracy over Jade Helm 15, “which, depending on whom you ask, is either an unusually large training exercise or a plot to shred the Constitution and place Texas under martial law.” West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin weighed in thus..
Former Senator Rick Santorum – who won 11 states in the 2012 GOP primary – said he would announce his plans regarding a run for President on May 27th.
Former House Speaker Jim Wright, a Texas Democrat who resigned in 1989 amid an ethics investigation, died aged 92.
* WORLD * Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finalized a deal to form a coalition government, apparently 90 minutes before the midnight deadline.
Yemen appealed to the UN Security Council for an intervention by land forces to “save the country.” Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry was in Riyadh to press the Saudi government on a pledge to suspend its air war.
Tornadoes were reported in Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska on Wednesday, as heavy storms and resulting floods ripped across the plains, destroying homes and disrupting travel.
* MEDIA * Al Jazeera America on Wednesday replaced CEO Ehab Al Shihabi after a week of management uncertainty. The New York Times writes: “Al Jazeera, its newsroom in turmoil, is now the news.”
Banjo, a platform for instantaneously scanning social media for trending topics and images, raised $100million in new funding. The Wall Street Journal reports:
Damien Patton, Banjo’s founder and chief executive, likes to call the program a “crystal ball,” because it gives users a view of the entire globe. His team has overlaid a map of the globe with a grid of 35 billion squares, each one about the size of a football field. Any time an image is publicly shared to the Web and tagged with a specific location, Banjo’s system automatically places it within the grid and keeps track of what time it happened and classifies objects within the image. Patton said his computers currently process about 1 quadrillion computations every 10 seconds, and by the end of the year that will be up to 1 quadrillion per second.
* SPORTS *
As an exquisite performance by Lionel Messi helped Barcelona take a commanding 3-0 first-leg lead over Bayern Munich in their Champions League semi-final, the Spanish football federation announced that the domestic season would be suspended on May 16 amid a dispute over TV rights.
At the completely other end of the sporting spectrum, the NFL’s report into “deflategate” was released, as the Boston Globe says, “tarnishing the Patriots’ legacy, [and] this time tainting Tom Brady.” Sports Illustrated says there are still plenty of grey areas, and Brady’s father has already labeled the whole thing “framegate”, but as SI writes: “it’s the appearance of a cover-up (and how that feeds into the image of the envelope-pushing, rule-bending Patriots) that has more impact than the crime itself.”
The report says:
“..it is more probable than not that New England Patriots personnel … were involved in a deliberate effort to circumvent the rules…. we also have concluded that it is more probable than not that Tom Brady was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities.”