Thursday, August 02, 2007


Could this be the prospect for me when I get back from my holidays?

The papers in the last few days have increasingly been carrying stories of plans, leaked plans and proposals for an early general election; possibly this October.

I have been rung up and asked about this by a journalist earlier this week.

Of course with a healthy ten point lead in the opinion polls this could be the ideal time for an early strike; a bold and daring move to outsmart the other parties and win an unprecedented fourth term majority; that is why earlier in the summer I thought this was a distinct possibility.

But I am not planning on an election any time soon and I have changed my mind for two main reasons.

1) Gordon Brown is a cautious man. He will want to wait a bit longer just to check that the poll lead is holding up.... then another week ... then another... and then the poll lead will start to wither away as his novelty factor wears off faster than an Essex girls fake tan; and then he pretty suddenly won't be wanting to hold an election at all.

2) Labour is nearly £30m in debt, has recently halved it's professional staff and has still to select candidates in hundreds of seats across the country.

But the main reason I am confident there won't be an early poll is simply this: what is the upside for Brown?

Virtually no-one believes that with boundary changes Brown would end up with a bigger majority than now; and no-one thinks that Cameron would lose seats. So why take even the small risk of losing now when even the best-case win scenario is a smaller majority and a stronger opposition?

Gordon Brown is a political games player in a different league to Blair - everything he says and does is aimed primarily at wrong-footing the Conservatives - the budget was a prime example of Brown at his worst.

So all the talk of election plans is just that - talk; designed to put pressure on our side in the hope of derailing Cameron's reform programme.

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