Thursday, September 20, 2007

An Autumn Election Isn't Just Possible - It's Probable

Everything in my gut tells me that an election will be called next week. There will be another couple of opinion polls in the next few days which will probably confirm a 5-8 point Labour lead.

Just do what I have done and draw a line down the middle of a piece of paper and write down the arguments for an against an autumn election from Gordon Brown's perspective. You won't find many in the 'against' column. Brown has written a book called COURAGE. If he fails to call an election soon - and the media momentum is gathering - he'll be accused of flunking it. Most other pundits and commentators still reckon that's exactly what he will do. I don't. I always thought an autumn election was possible. I now think it's probable. Indeed, I would go so far as to predict that he might even call it next Thursday, just to bugger the Conservative conference. It's just the sort of thing Brown would take great pleasure from.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

Not calling an election list

Reason number 1: foot and mouth.

End of list.

Guido Fawkes Esq. said...

What odds are you offering?

Hannibal said...

"Brown has written a book called COURAGE. If he fails to call an election soon - and the media momentum is gathering - he'll be accused of flunking it."

He bottled out of taking on Tony Blair for YEARS. He could easily have ousted him earlier but showed none of the courage he so admires in others.

I think the main point against is the woeful opinion polls Labour is enduring in Scotland. I don't think Gordon is going to want to cost his fellow Scots Labour MPs any seats by calling an election so soon after the SNP victories earlier this year.

Anonymous said...

He'd have to call it next Thursday - it's the last possible date to call it for an Autumn election...

Anonymous said...

If they rely on those polls they must be bonkers or deluded or both. Both. If given the opportunity the electorate will give the government a good kicking.

Anonymous said...

Reason number 2: the Labour party haven't got any money.

chatterbox said...

I still don't think Brown has the balls to call an Autumn GE because he never planned for it, he has never shown any signs of courage when it comes to contests before. He just isn't a gambler or risk taker by nature which is why people like Thatcher, Blair and Cameron came through and won real leadership contests with a real mandate from their party.

If I made a list of the pros and cons of him calling an election the only two in the against column outweigh all the arguments for going to the polls now.
The risk of losing a working majority and being one of a small group of politicians who never managed to serve a full term as PM. You have coveted and plotted your whole life for the job of PM, would you risk losing it all before you had really got your feet under the table??

You make one excellent point in favour of your argument though Iain, the normally cautious Brown can be forced into making a rash decision if he thinks he can score a point against the Conservatives. He really hates the Cameron leadership, and I think it is *personal* in a way that Blair never felt or would have allowed to cloud his judgement. It might push him into taking the risk, but if he does then I hope it backfires on him as quickly as his stunt in his last budget.

Leon said...

I would go so far as to predict that he might even call it next Thursday, just to bugger the Conservative conference.

Yep, agreed. That's exactly what I'm hearing.

Sonicdeathmonkey said...

I would expect if he does call an election, he will win, with the status quo being similar, with maybe the Lib Dems getting seriously squeezed...

If that happens, then Cameron will get a knife in the back, and we'll get David Davies...which might not work out too badly for the tories, although they'll have to wait a little longer for power.

Madasafish said...

I would say 2:1 against.

Unless Gordon KNOWS that the economy is going tits up, why should he risk it. The way the CP is going, it will have a new leader in under 12 months... and be no better off.

Worst, he might lose seats.

Does not make sense to me...but wdik

Chris Paul said...

How many times? First Saturday and Sunday in June 2009. With the Euros. To screw Tories and BNP and UKIP in that one.

But when given the opportunity the electorate will give Dave a good kicking. Shane doesn't think DC even has enough ooomph to get the core vote out.

This Autumn would be an utter waste of resource. Having courage means waiting. It also means not being personally selfish. Which is probably what stopped him knifing Blair.

Let's face it Iain. If it is this autumn the Widdy will probably stand again ... or is she now saying she'll go anyway? And if so would you stand a better chance of getting this plum local for you seat in a spot of panic buying?

AnyoneButBrown said...

Sadly, you are right.
For an Autumn election:
- An autumn election is about giving Brown a mandate, not on his record
- The Conservatives are not ready as you and I will acknowledge, Cameron has not had long enough
- "Give him a chance" is a compelling narrative
- The Murdoch press is broadly onside
- The economic clouds are gathering even though the storm is of Brown's creation he looks a steadier and more credible pair of hands to see us through than Cameron & Osborne (who looks out of his depth)
- The government is clearly thinking short term politically, see the panicked and knee-jerk reaction to the pictures of queues outside Northern Rock branches. If they were not thinking of an election they wouldn't have panicked
- Buggers up the Conservative conference
Against an Autumn Election
- Lack of EU referendum will cause a stink and bad timing with the forthcoming EU ICG
- Polls may be wrong a la 1992 and overstating Labour support as a reaction to the thank god Blair has gone public feeling
- Will strengthen Alex Salmond in Scotland as Labours polling is bad

Going on Oct 25th clearly wins.
A disaster as I think we'll get another 5 years of Brown and the Conservatives modernisation programme may be destroyed dependant on how well we do. Given the recent polls, I'm not encouraged.

Theo Spark said...

I think he is going to do something with Zimbabwe while Mugabe is in Lisbon. A whole lot on national pride will get himback in.

Barnacle Bill said...

I am of the opinion too that Gay Gordon will go for an autumn election.
There is too much bad news, financial woes, and other troubles on the horizon for him to leave it till next year.
All he needs is a majority, it doesn't matter how slim, and he is safe for another five years.
As for his concerns about fellow Scottish MPs. When has Gay Gordon given a feck about other people?
He is a power grabbing selfish bastard that is all you need to know.
Expect an announce when it can cause maximum damage to the Conservatives.

Anonymous said...

i really wouldnt overstate the danger Labour is in in Scotland for the GE. I reckon they will do very badly to lose more than 3 seats - Dundee West, Ochil and South Perthshire and Aberdeen North. Even these should be defensible for Labour. There is absolutely no way the SNP will wreak havoc in the Central Belt with Brown as PM. The SNP always poll worse at Westminster and even with a national increase of 10-12% very few Labour seats would fall to them. They must also have a shout at retaking both East Dunbartonshire and Dunfermline and West Fife.

scottish conservative

Anonymous said...

i really wouldnt overstate the danger Labour is in in Scotland for the GE. I reckon they will do very badly to lose more than 3 seats - Dundee West, Ochil and South Perthshire and Aberdeen North. Even these should be defensible for Labour. There is absolutely no way the SNP will wreak havoc in the Central Belt with Brown as PM. The SNP always poll worse at Westminster and even with a national increase of 10-12% very few Labour seats would fall to them. They must also have a shout at retaking both East Dunbartonshire and Dunfermline and West Fife.

scottish conservative

Anonymous said...

It would be an act of Christian charity if Gordo called the election and saved dave from having to face his own Party in Blackpool.

antifrank said...

Calling an autumn election would also sidestep the manifesto commitment to call a referendum on the Reform Treaty.

That said, I doubt he'll do it. Gordon Brown is not a natural risk-taker. Given the phenomenon at successive elections of shy Tories mutely casting their vote in the Conservative box while not revealing that to the pollsters, he would run a real risk of losing his majority unnecessarily.

Anonymous said...

sonicdeathmonkey-although the Member for Monmuth is talented I doubt that even he would think it appropriate at this stage in his career.

Madasafish said...

>theo spark
Who gives a stuff about Zim?
Mugabe was "democraticall" elected. Let him stuff the country up.

And anyway, apart from gesture politics, nothing can be done with RSA on side.. And they are NOT.

So it's just flimflam and complete bollocks (i.e politics as usual)

David Lindsay said...

Abstain.

Unless you are lucky enough to live in Liverpool West Derby or other constituencies details of which would be very welcome (davidaslindsay@hotmail.com) for publication on my blog and elsewhere, this is a time to exercise your democractic right not to vote, and thus with any luck bring about the collapse of, in particular, the Tories.

That would lead rapidly to the collapse of Labour, since what would then be the point of it, deprived of the Tory bogeyman? And the Lib Dems are wholly parasitic on the other two.

None of them deserves your vote. So don't give it to any of them, and make them go away.

Dave Bartlett said...

"Everything in my gut tells me that an election will be called next week."

Don't worry yourself. It's very common for your guts to become unrealiable when you go on a foreign holiday. Flat Coca-Cola is supposed to help.

Anonymous said...

If they were planning an early election, they would put returning officers on alert.

I know for a fact that at least one council has set themselves for a 1st November election.

The plot thickens...

Anonymous said...

antifrank-your assuming that those shy types are going to vote this time.

Jonny said...

Rather than giving the Conservatives a headache by announcing the election on the eve of their conference, Brown may be doing them a favour.

Presuming that the Conservative conference would go ahead albeit in an altered format, it would give them (if they take the opportunity) fantastic media exposure, and 1 week into the contest Brown may already be regretting his decision as the polls tighten.

Anonymous said...

Brown's key strength is his supposed seriousness.

Calling an election just to bugger the Conservative conference will completely undermine that after the buggering about with Thatcher, done clearly for party political games.

If it's called, and it maybe, it won't be until after the Conservative conference.

Tone made me do it - he's a bad influence said...

He may well cut a run:

This, for many people, will be the £64,000 question:

Can he get to the poll date before
HIS UK credit crunch is perceived to have precipitated the housing market into going tits up?

Anonymous said...

Imagine the scenario. Polls showing a Labour lead right up to polling day. Come election night, BBC commentators start sniping at each other when they realize with horror that seats are falling to the Tories nationwide. They have of course underestimated the voting intentions of middle England, much like they did the millions of mid-west voters of the USA who voted for George Bush. Delicious.

Anonymous said...

chris paul.3.58.
"....will give Dave a good kicking."

Much like they did in the local elections a?

Anonymous said...

Round here there's been a noticeable increase in the number of two-man police patrols just ambling round the neighbourhood. Visible policing... I saw three pairs of coppers in around half a mile the other day.

We are an extremely marginal constituency - Conservative MP last election for the first time in many years, and only by a very small number of votes.

Has this been noticed anywhere else in the UK, particlarly in marginals? Is this part of a short-term plan to increase visible patrol levels until after an autumn election?

antifrank said...

anonymous 5.30 - I'm assuming nothing. I'm simply drawing attention to a risk that Gordon Brown would be running. David Cameron runs the risk that you identify.

David Lindsay said...

Anonymous 6:09 PM, at the local elections, it was the electorate that "gave Dave a good kicking". Not the Tories. Dave.

Most of the Tories elected were not like David Cameron, and do not like David Cameron. Such are the Tories for whom people will and do vote.

By contrast, during the Cameron months, super-safe Tory parliamentary seats have become knife-edge marginals, and respectable second places have become distant thirds, on one notable occasion involving a showing barely better than that of the BNP.

Voting Tory in a parliamentary election strikes most people as far too close to voting for David Cameron.

The Tories are going to do badly at the next General Election. So badly, in fact, that that Election is not going to take place this autumn, lest the Tories be wiped out, and replaced during the subsequent Parliament with a serious alternative party of government.

But even so, look out for just how badly they do in constituencies with candidates drawn from the Cameron A-list.

Anonymous said...

david lindsay.6.25.

You don't get it do you? It will be an anti government vote that will materialise once the electorate is given the opportunity.

Anonymous said...

jonny If the GE is called how many members and media will be in Blackpool?
Do you work at cchq by any chance?

Anonymous said...

October election, why : if mugabwe goes to Euro bash, GB doesn't go, Kill's off the tough on EU Tory argument without agreeing to the new Treaty and leaves him October free for election on the 25th.

the next eu bash - no mugabwe & sign the treaty.

Anonymous said...

Hannibal said:
"He bottled out of taking on Tony Blair for YEARS. He could easily have ousted him earlier but showed none of the courage he so admires in others."

I think you've hit the nail on the head there. I don't think he'll call an election next week because he simply hasn't got the guts.

(And I hope he doesn't, because if he wins with an increased majority I'm going to v.seriously consider leaving the country within months. Things could get ugly round here.)

David Lindsay said...

Given the opportunity by whom, Anonymous 6:46 PM? Not by the Tories, that's for sure.

The outcome of an Election between Brown and any realistic Tory Leader (yes, including David Davies) matters not one jot. So find something better to do. That really shouldn't be too hard.

Anonymous said...

Has Gordon Brown got an appointment to see the Queen in the next few days?