The country has recently been gripped by election fever - or bored rigid by politics (delete as appropriate!), which brings up another factor for writers.
As I mentioned in my post on the weather, when you are writing about characters in the 'real world', it's important that you don't leave out everyday life.
Some novels focus on the political and the personal, but even if your novel is simply set during contemporary times, don't forget what is happening during those times.
So if your novel is set during May 2010, even a line about the election will keep it sounding real. If your characters took a flight in April 2010, were they affected by the ash cloud? If your novel is set in September 2001, how did the US terror attacks filter through to their lives?
You may even find that dropping in a factual event can send your plot or characters in unexpected directions.
Alternatively, you can use current events by ignoring or subverting them. For instance, Mark Lawson's novel Idlewild …!--more-->