It’s a broken promise by me but … I know I have regularly criticised those of my peers who slavishly rely on opinion polls published well before the actual polling day to predict election outcomes but, I’m sorry, I cannot resist this one that appeared at the weekend in the Bangkok Post.

The idea of the Police Special Branch being in the polling business puts a new complexion on campaigning but I suppose there is a kind of sense to it for it is the thumpers who will be charged with sorting out the chaos that will follow if the Pheu Thai party becomes the biggest in the new parliament as the poll predicts.

On these figures the current Democrat Party government will have trouble putting together anotherruling coalition with smaller parties.

Saying no to nuclear power. They finally voted “Si” by 94.09% to 5.91% and the result is a major rebuff to the use of nuclear power in Europe. In a weekend referendum the Italian people emphatically endorsed the continuation of a ban on the building of nuclear power stations.

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was an advocate of removing the ban and he lost as well on three other questions put to the popular vote.

The most significant of those was the repeal of a law granting immunity from trial for government ministers.

A nice try. If the Crikey crocodile front page contest was awarded to the headline writer rather than the picture then the Northern Territory News would be back in the running for this recent effort:

And you’ve got to marvel at the placement of the NT Government’s Crocwise ad!

A rival for “Dewey defeats Truman”. It was one of the great front pages ever and entered the annals of great newspaper stuff-ups of all time.

Now the Miami Herald has made a similar bid for fame with this “Congratulations Miami”.

The only problem with the Macy’s ad was — as the story at the top shows — Miami did not win. Just a little something extra for them to chuckle about in Dallas whose Mavericks actually won the NBA title.

The importance of stable government. Belgium has celebrated the first anniversary of not having a government. Since the election of 13 June 2010 there has been a caretaker administration as the politicians try to form a workable parliamentary c0alition.

And the consequences of this stale-mate? Well, as the BBC reports, “its economy is growing, exports are up, inward foreign investment has continued, the country’s presidency of the European Union in 2010 was deemed a success, and it has contributed to the Nato bombing of Libya.”

Chinese inflation at 5.5%. Writing in Crikey’s stablemate publication Business Spectator this morning, Karen Maley draws attention to “violent protests that erupted in the southern Chinese factory town of Zengcheng, in Guangdong province, over the weekend.”

The riots in Zengcheng over the weekend follow similar disturbances elsewhere in China in recent weeks. “There’s little doubt” Maley wrote, ” surging consumer prices are fuelling social unrest.”

The official Chinese inflation figures released at noon that rising prices will continue to inflict pain on the country’s poor.

“In May, the consumer price index went up by 5.5 percent year-on-year. The prices grew by 5.3 percent in cities and 6.0 percent in rural areas. The food prices went up by 11.7 percent while the non-food prices increased by 2.9 percent.

The prices of consumer goods went up by 6.2 percent and the prices of services grew by 3.9 percent. Grouped by commodity categories, prices for food went up by 11.7 percent; tobacco, liquor and articles rose by 2.6 percent; clothing went up by 1.8 percent; household facilities, articles and maintenance services went up by 2.5 percent; health care and personal articles grew by 3.2 percent; transportation and communication rose by 0.7 percent, recreation, education, culture articles and services grew by 0.6 percent; and housing went up by 6.1 percent.

In the first five months, the year-on-year change of consumer prices was up by 5.2 percent.”

Peter Fray

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