You know how people use those stick things to locate water underground. Well, whatever they are called, my political equivalent is twitching tonight. And it's in election mode. Following yet another opinion poll showing a big Labour lead in the Telegraph today I have been hearing things about strange activities in Whitehall, with meetings being cancelled, diaries being cleared and newspaper adverts being booked.
Civil servants in the Department of Health are getting very edgy, I'm told. Tuesday is apparently full of big health events but these are now in doubt as No. 10 have apparently cleared their diary. Naturally the speculation inside the Department is that this is because Brown will be calling a General Election. No date is attached to the rumours but a short campaign gives us a date in early October, with October 4 and 11 the most likely. Remember that the IGC is on October 18th, where the European ConTreatyTution will be agreed. If Brown is tempted by those dates it clearly means that the three party conferences would be cancelled.
Dizzy has heard a different rumour (see HERE) but it all ties in. It may well be nothing, but on the other hand...
PS: I will be reviewing the papers on Sky News tonight at 10.35pm and 11.30pm, and doing the same on BBC News 24 tomorrow at 11.45pm. I'll also be on the Anita Anand Show from 10pm to 1am on Monday night. [Enough - ed]
Dowsing ? With your sticky thingy ?
Isn't the received wisdom [groupthink?] that Labour simply hasn't any dosh whatsoever for an election campaign - the cupboard is bare ??
I have to admit to a very high degree of scepticism about this.
Next April or May is the earliest I can see Gordon going to the country - he doesn't want to look as though he is cutting and running.
But surely Gord will wait until Dave has some policies, so he will know what he will be up against ?
I can't see those reviews completing before spring next year - unless you have heard differently from the boys at the stables ??
Brown will stand on a non-referendum manifesto. He will argue that no referendum is needed as he has already.
If he wins the election, he could still lose a Parliamentary vote if 70-140 Labour MPs were to rebel. Even an election victory does not guarantee he will be able to hang on to his non-referendum policy.
If Brown were to call an election, Europe will inevitably be a big election issue for the first time.
Can you not see the advantage of going to the polls against a party which has taken 18 months to come up with almost no policies at all?
If Gordon calls an election now the Tories are going to get creamed.
Early October doesn't suit me at all, I'm afraid Brown will have to think again.
One of my blog readers(William Gruff of the Pox Anglorum blog) left the following comment on one of my post a short while ago:
[I heard on BBC radio news, at about 17:30, that Mr Vaz had said there is no need for a referendum as the question can be settled once and for all by a general election.]
Now, seeing as Vaz was reportedly saying he was in favour of a referendum earlier today, it does seem a strange a rapid U-turn. Perhaps he knows something about an early election?
Perhaps Gordon will wait until 2008 to allow the second wheel to come off Cameron's bandwagon.
Can Cameron keep his cool, or will he be rattled [as he has been before] into allowing the competing camps of Redwood and Gummer to decide the election manifesto on a 'camel is a horse designed by committee' style ?
Maybe this is what this 'leak' is designed to achieve ?
The odds on a 2007 election have shifted from 4.4/1 to 4/1 in the last few minutes !!!
Something's afoot !!!!
Given the polling figures from Populas (released this afternoon)
showing the Tories only 1% behind
Labour it seems almost impossible
that Brown would risk an early election unless the three newspaper polls due out in the next few days show this is a rougue poll.
THe ability to choose your moment- the permanent advantage of being the incumbent.
If Brown hopes to bury the referendum issue in an early election, it will inevitably jack up the priority of the issue. The Sun has alreday laid down the gauntlet, and vcameron is well placed to exploit the issue...although a better slogan might be
DON'T LET BROWN BETRAY BRITAIN
If Brown wins, will his own MPs be willing to conform to the Constitution without a referendum policy? It seems unlikely.
In Scotland surely Conservatives should vote tactically to keep labour out.
Maybe the hacking off of Murdoch on Europe and law and order (Ref The Sun over the last few weeks), that Rupert has told him to resign, or the rocking horse pictures get released.
If it is an election call, it can almost be described as a coup d'etat, given he took over the party Ken Livingstone fashion, and nu lab will have to virtually steal the money to fund it (if he wins)
I thought the recent You Gov poll was pretty depressing.
Anthony King said two things
"The Conservatives’ problems are clearly long term.
They do not relate solely, or even primarily, to the present leadership."
I sort of agree, but I put the blame on DC. He has simultaneously managed to alienate potential new voters AND his core constituency at the same time. Quite a feat. He is of course only one in a long line of failed leaders.
When the rise in crime by ten-year-olds is apparent everywhere, when our streets are full of Romanian beggars, and the BBC is infiltrated by rocket-eating guardianistas and we are giving away our sovereignty without a blink, I would have thought a return to old fashioned Tory views was a vote winner. You may end up being a minority party, but at least people would know what you really stand for.
At least the poll shows what most people already knew, that taxing domestic air travel out of existence is not welcome and never will be.
Ooh... 4th October, My birthday :)
whatever else, now is a good time to discuss whether we live ina democracy. if the ruling party can pick anytime to go to the country and decide the issues (in this case Europe), is it really a fair system.
More discussion at my place.
Shall they sing then? We are having elections here and at the rallies they sing - I'm not at all sure about what but it's quite joyful.
I think a spot of singing would work well for Mr. Gordon.
A weekend of media speculation coupled with 'look how far Labour is ahead in (one) poll' and it turns out to be nothing.
If Broon calls an election and conference is cancelled .. will I get my money back?
I am concerned, if he does go for early October we are completely and utterly stuffed.
I hate him even more than I hate Daaaavve.
But would Broon really risk going to the country shy of the 120 days or so that marks the shortest prime ministerial term of office?
I dont think he will. Not just because of the EU vote, but what may happen to labour in Scotland.
The SNP have a populist agenda and they could do well. I think he may call a referendum but not an election.
Time will tell.
Anita Anand is the living definition of a Good Egg. Be nice, but remember Broadcasting House is behind enemy lines so Don't Drink the Water :)
Iain, just sitting down to watch you reviewing the papers on Sky News, so not sure when you'll have a chance to moderate these comments ...
If you’ll excuse the html, I have undertaken some analysis of the regional variations which shows Tory advance in the South and Midlands and Labour not really moving forward anywhere apart from Scotland. Brown must be a kamikaze if he’s going to go for a snap poll!
The populas poll is arse, faked up by the Tories who are shit scared of an autumn election. Cameron is a total loser, the worse thing the Tories did was pick the prat.
saw you on Sky News doing the papers...
You should either start using Grecian 2000 or update your photo.
Perhaps you`ve got a touch of the Dame Anne Leslie`s...?
Iain: Just watched you on Sky News "papers review" It`s about time you had a proper progamme of your very own on the proper "tele". But hey, you are not a Marxist so therefore your views don`t count !
tapestry well suggested
I can tell you that in Scotland the SNP are just about praying for an Autumn election
so could you all say encouraging things for Labour on other blogs so that Gordon's wonk's get him to go
Gordon will win hands down :-)
Crick was no help on newsnight saying that if gordo lost he'd be the shortest resisdent at No10 ever
Hmm Anita Anand... possibly the sexiest voice on 5Live, and a joy to go to bed with.... so to speak.
JD, I will pass your comments onto Anita!
Angus, I am aware my photo is a tad out of date - it was actually taken less than four years ago, but see what having a blog has done to me! Funnily enough U had some new photos done this afternoon so I hope to have a new banner before too long. In fact, I may see if my readers fancy doing one for me!
Seeing Keith Vaz on air proposing a referendum on Britain's EU membership, gives the clue that this is Gordon Brown's election strategy for the EU Constitution referendum issue. i.e. muddy the waters to confuse the dumbo eurosceptics.
Interestingly I heard the same idea from Patrick Cormack two weeks ago at John Biffen's funeral. Are the europhiles now trying to sound as if they are going to offer something tastier to eurosceptics than a referendum on the Constitution - viz. a referendum on EU membership total?
This seems to be a ploy to sidetrack the issue. But it could also be genuine - made in the belief that the British electorate would not vote to leave the EU, given the stark choice of 'in' or 'out'?
In the short term, it is probably an election ploy. In the longer term, talking openly about the viability of Britain's EU membership might turn into a rope around Brown's neck.
Cameron's campaign - 'don't let Brown let EU down' and the backing in The Sun could well have triggered this move by Brown. It would be enough to cover Brown's back during an election period, and make it sound as if Brown was operating at a higher level on the EU, without him having to actually call a referendum on EU membership at all, or even promise one. He only needs to talk about the possibility of a referendum on membership to undercut the current campaign from cameron, which is only focused on The Constitution.
Brown might also be hoping to push the Conservatives into more openly eurosceptic rhetoric so he can brand Cameron as a Xenophobic, Little Englander etc etc. Or he would be hoping to get repeated statements of commitment to EU membership from Cameron, and then turn it round on him, saying that if we reject the Constitution,m our EU membership would be put in jeopardy.
As Brown is biting on this issue, Cameron should follow up, and keep the pressure on Brown. Whatever else he must make this a hot potato for Brown, or he could allow him to appear as the better thought out on this topic. He should improve his slogan on it immediately into Stop Brown Betraying Britain, and keep Brown on the back foot.
Why have local election officers sent out the annual electoral registration forms earlier than usual this year ? The forms are usually sent out during September rather than July/August as this year.
Anita and who ???
I predicted all of this ages ago.
"There is a tide in the affairs of man, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune"
The pity is, of course, if you wait until the tide goes out you can sometimes get stuck in the mud and notwithstanding any criticism of Cameron's performance events are unlikely to favour the government in 2008 particularly as the Conservative Party could continue to surge back in the polls as the government's standing recedes.
But if Gordon decides to go then it has to be during the 4th October to 1 November or it will not be before March 2008 and don't forget the promised statement on Iraq post Petreaus' report, due 15 September,(a timetable for withdrawal of UK forces = boost in polls ?)We live in interesting times!
If the Tories think Europe is going to do anything other than energise their activist base they are crazy. The reason voters aren't yet switching is that they don't believe the Party is firmly enough behind Dave's agenda and they don't see it as a unit with a comprehensive programme to take Britain in a decisive direction. That is a long-term project but one which a competent and brave campaign could help with.
Labour is getting money from their admirers.
It's so on the up and up they're trying to hide it!
Strange, I also blogged about this this morning - http://notasheepmaybeagoat.blogspot.com/2007/09/rather-depressing-prediction.html - I agree with the European Referendum angle but I think that Gordon Brown fears the economy going seriously wrong even more. Don't forget that even with the support of the ever so compliant BBC Gordon Brown cannot escape all responsibility for any economic disaster. I think there must be much biting of finger nails at Number 10.
There is no public aversion to voting Tory. Far from it, in fact. The Tories did well at the recent local elections. Most of those 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 look out for just how badly they do in constituencies with candidates drawn from the Cameron A-list, several of whom neither Labour nor the Tories will deny are still Labour Party members, albeit ones who only joined because of Tony Blair.
"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."
One can only hope.
"JD, I will pass your comments onto Anita!"
Why, thank you Iain. I hope they were taken in the spirit intended. Unfortunately due to certain travel disruptions I missed all bar the last 20 minutes of the show.
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