Will Brown be tempted to go to the Country early?
Speculation is mounting that Gordon Brown is planning a snap General Election this Autumn; although the vast majority of pundits think this is highly unlikely.
If his past performance is anything to go by he will shy away from an early General Election; this is the man who, after all, waited fourteen years for the top job to be handed to him on a plate rather than to fight for it.
BUT (and it’s a big but) I can’t rid myself of the nagging doubt that because that is the accepted wisdom (not least by a very large majority in my own party) and because it is exactly the opposite of what has gone before Brown may yet surprise us all.
GB is a wonk when it comes to political history. He knows more than anyone the lamentable record of previous leaders in his position when they wait to the last moment and are seen to be hounded to the polls like Major and Callaghan.
He knows, too, that the longer he leaves it the stronger the Conservatives become, organisationally, financially and image-wise, with more time for the public to become used to seeing Cameron as ‘Prime ministerial’ (the one area at the moment where brown has a significant advantage).
There is another important angle, the Lib Dems.
Brown can work with Menzies Campbell and a hung parliament with Labour the largest party is very workable from Browns point of view provided Ming the Lefty is still in charge at Cowley St.
But if there is no Autumn/Winter poll I don’t thing Ming will still be leader by mid 2008 and who knows after that… a takeover by the right of centre 'Orange Order' MP's could scupper lingering hopes of a resurrection of the ‘third way’ re-alignment of the anti Tory progressives for ever.
So there are powerful reasons tactically for an early election aside from the political impact of coming out fighting this Autumn and potentially winning his own mandate, and a possible historic fourth term in power for Labour.
I doubt peoples ability to change, I believe that past behaviour is the best guide to future behaviour, so I must agree with the collected wisdom that the chances are low of an early poll.And yet....