Saturday, February 06, 2010

What Odds a Snap Election?

Now, my political antennae may be a bit askew here, but bear with me.

In tomorrow's Observer Gordon Brown has given a long interview, which includes a vicious attack on Lord Ashcroft and sounds just like the kind of interview a PM would give just as he's about to call an election.

And then the Mail on Sunday and News of the World have front pages which tell of the Prime Minister breaking down in tears when talking about the death of his daughter in a pre recorded interview with Piers Morgan.

When I blogged earlier on this week about the Piers Morgan interview I nearly wrote something about Gordon Brown going one better than Katie Price and bawling his eyes out on prime time TV. But I thought it might be considered to be bad taste. That'll teach me. Next time I will go with my instincts.

Anyway, my sniffing of the political winds tells me that the chances of a March election have considerably increased tonight.


Beware of Geeks bearing GIFs said...

You could be right Iain - these two pieces do sniff somewhat of an election pre-campaign.

Oldrightie said...

Yes please, the sooner the better. Opion poll religion will go the way of AGW.

myob said...

Whatever, I just wish he'd get the hell on with it.

Mind you, Cameron wants to watch his step. Am no fan of Labour but he's not convinced me even slightly to vote for the Tories yet.

If it were tomorrow I'd be voting Lib Dem.

Witterings from Witney said...


In the hope that you will let 'bygones be bygones' may I say that I believe your political antennae are definitely very 'askew'.

Unlike you I don't worry about 'bad taste' - as you well know - and consider this to be no more than cynical electioneering - as I have posted tonight.

The fact that this interview is scheduled for airing in the Spring leads me to believe it is still May - with the possibility (remote) of April.

I would also question the admission that the Granita Deal is a fact, is questionable - especially when it was reported that Blair was to campaign for Labour. This also 'muddies' the waters somewhat - no?

Anyway, just thought you may be interested in an 'alternative' view?

Iain Dale said...

Witterings, the programme is to be screened next weekend, not in the Spring!

Witterings from Witney said...


Not what the NOW report said:

"The hour-long interview is a curtain raiser to the new six-part series of Life Stories starting in the spring."

thanks for posting my comment anyway!

Colin said...

I've been saying for months - March 25th.

No need for a budget...

Jimmy said...

"We haven't had proper answers about where the money has come from and what the status of this person is."

That's a vicious attack? Really?

"I nearly wrote something about Gordon Brown going one better than Katie Price and bawling his eyes out on prime time TV. "

Stay classy tories, stay classy.

Unknown said...

Iain, here's a Venn diagram to help you:

(Gordon Brown) (Courage)

Note the complete lack of an intersection?

Richard Manns said...

Why would he call it now?

He is in a very weak position; some opinion polls (i.e. ARS) suggest a pure and straight drubbing, whilst the others still show that Brown is only piling the votes where he doesn't need them.

Why would he call now? As that song sang out in 1997, "Things Can Only Get Better" for BRown, given that he'll lose if he calls now.

Anonymous said...

According to the NoW, the Brown interview is going out on February 14 and the rest of the series in the spring.

Sorry, but do we really want a weeping prime minister - or Campbell inspired tales out of school?

FonyBlair said...

Wasn't it brown who said he wouldn't bring family into politics?

How much more if thus rubbish do we gave to put up with?

Yes sympathy for losing a baby but it doesn't make you a great PM and economic genius.

Election now!

Paul said...

It's May 6th.

Labour simply cannot afford to run two campaigns in short succession.


Paul Owen said...

I think so too. I said so on my blog earlier this week. The polls have narrowed and they have their best chance of wrong footing the Tories by calling it early. It would also avoid the announcement of a double dip recession, a potential sovereign debt crisis and a very awkward budget. Brown would be a fool to hang on. He's had a good couple of months and Cameron, other than this week, a poor couple. Stand by for an announcement and lots of talk about cutting and running.

realist said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alan Douglas said...

A further pointer to March is the 3 "accidental" comments by Labour ministers about "election on May 6th", designed to mislead.

Accidental my arse, or rather, Mandleson's.

Alan Douglas

Sean said...

Don'y lower yourself to the standards of the Sunday papers. You are way better than that.

Daily Referendum said...

I feel sorry for Brown's loss, but why have this interview just before an election? He's always said he'd keep his family out of it , and now he is crying before the nation. This interview would have been better after the election if he didn't want to be accused of electioneering.

His best mate interviewing him on prime time TV and he breaks down. All before an election? No effing shame.

Anonymous said...

I like Ian's (not Dale) Venn diagram. Spot on in my opinion. Since Brown seems to have a fear of elections I would not be surprised if he left it to June or tried to avoid having an election at all.

However, in the land of the rational, only a complete and utter fool would hold an election two weeks after the quarter's GDP figures are due out. Particularly a quarter that contains

- a 2.5% VAT increase
- increasing unemployment
- No more QE to inflate the figures
- a budget that cannot be good

Take that lot into consideration as well as the fact that one week out of the 13 in the quarter was badly effected by snow and ice. That week is 7% (1/13th)of your quarter. Since the last quarter was effectively zero for growth, a decrease in the next quarter can only mean one thing.

Would you hold an election with figures like that backing you up? Also Brown must call the election before the figures come out if he wants to hit 6th May. The quarter's figures will then come out in mid-campaign.

It would be a ferocious gamble and Brown's not a gambler. It is either an announcement in the next two weeks (to hit March 25th) or it is June. I'm expecting June, but hoping for March.

Paul Burgin said...

"And then the Mail on Sunday and News of the World have front pages which tell of the Prime Minister breaking down in tears when talking about the death of his daughter in a pre recorded interview with Piers Morgan."

Iain what has the death of Brown's daughter got to do with this?

Unsworth said...

@ Jimmy

'We haven't had proper answers...'?

To whom is Ashcroft answerable? You, the equally cretinous Brown, the Taxman or what? Is Brown actually going to prosecute Ashcroft or is he uttering his usual dissimulating bollox?

Brown is no more entitled to such answers than Cameron is to the activities and tax status of Sainsbury, Mittal, the Hindujas, Ecclestone, Deripaska etc etc etc.

It's about time Brown looked at his own problems rather than concerning himself with those of other parties. After all, hasn't he got a job to 'get on with' - as he keeps on telling us? When's he going to make a start?

HampsteadOwl said...

The point about antennae is that they blow about in the wind, which is what yours are doing now I suspect.

We can be sure that what motivates Brown is to stay in power, not simply to deny Cameron an overall majority. Since, even in a hung parliament, Brown almost certainly would be out, the current polls are not really that promising for him. There may be rational reasons for going early, but the irrational "something may come up" theory will out I think. Besides, on current performance, the longer the Tories have before polling day, the worse it gets for them, not better.

I am interested in the following scenario. Cameron emerges with the largest number of seats, but there is no deal with Clegg. He forms a minority government, giving Labour time and space to elect a new leader who is fresh, attractive etc etc (this may be the hardest part of this thought-experiment to imagine). Labour and the Libs then conspire to bring Cameron's government down over whatever is the issue of the day. Instead of dissolving parliament and precipitating another election, the Queen is advised to invite the new Labour leader to form a government which he/she does with a working majority of Labour and Lib Dem MPs. Cue electoral reform and the era of centre left government is back on course.

Possible? Probable? The question that most interests me is the constitutionality of the Queen inviting a new Labour leader to form a government in this circumstance, but so long as he or she could command a majority in the House, why not?

Unknown said...

Talking of unanswered questions when are we going to get some answers about the £50000pa slush fund?

If ever there was a politician who should stay well away from the moral high ground it's Brown.

golden_balls said...

interesting point salisbury

could Clegg take his party into government with DC perhaps but more likely not.

A new vibrant Labour leader whose media savvy with Clegg as deputy would make an excellent partnership.

Who this new Labour Party leader could be is anyones guess but i think the country is ready for a change from the Cons and Labour ruling the roost.

Anonymous said...

Labour would be daft to leave it to April. Far too much could and probably will go wrong before than.

The country needs an election before budget time. Assuming Brown turns up at the next PMQs this is the question I would ask 'Does the PM agree an early election would be good for the country'.

And 'Phonyblair' has it correct and makes my point for me. It was Brown who sneered he would not use his family for political reasons. Since then he uses his wife as a human shield and now his dead daughter. A total hypocrite as well as a total incompetent.

JMB said...

I like the quote from Alastair Campbell on the Andrew Marr show this morning

"He said: 'People are not interested in the truth any more.'"

JMB said...

I like the quote from Alastair Campbell on the Andrew Marr show this morning

"He said: 'People are not interested in the truth any more.'"

Unknown said...

There is a very good reason why Brown could go on March 25th and that is that the figures showing we are entering a double dip recession will come out on April 23rd.
There is an equally good reason why he would not - that is that after the lovely Mr Ainsworth's comments the Tories would be able to make hay with the allegation that GB knows what's coming and that it will be cut and run election.
Now we all know what Gordon's like. I wouldn't be surprised if the mobile phones are flying around Downing Street at the moment.
I would also not be surprised if some poor secretary ended up in casualty.
Having said all that I might consider a sly bet on the last possible date for an election.
June 3rd anyone.

Victor, NW Kent said...

Also we have had announcements that, suddenly, the government is going to deal with bogus foreign students and another pledge of special NHS treatment for cancer sufferers - just promises never intended to be fulfilled.

Brown is going to cry on Piers Morgan's interview and there will be more releases of bogus statistics on health, crime, employment and exports.

Election sooner rather than later.

30% of the voters are still turkeys voting for Christmas.

Anonymous said...

PS - you are also forgetting Pauline Prescotts soppy revelations, 'boo hoo hoo' and Campbell's lip trembling performance on Marr's programme.

Liz said...

Breaking down in tears? Whilst I have sympathy for anyone who has lost a child, i do find the tears bit nauseating - I don't recall when the baby died (6 years or so?) but it was not last week, nor even last year - this episode leaves me feeling nauseated

GillieB said...

I think this is pure electioneering on the part of Gordon Brown.

Iain, you may be interested to hear that our local church hall has already been provisionally booked by the council for 6th May! And it was also provisionally booked in September a couple of years ago ....

Another thing which irritates me when I take bookings for the hall is the fact that when the council asks to book it for local and parliamentary elections, it always asks if it is available, but when it comes to Europe, it instructs me that the hall is required; the impression given is that they are requisitioning it.

Unknown said...

If he does go for March 25th, which seems very likely, he may announce an election at the recess on Wednesday!

The Grim Reaper said...

Oh dear, oh dear. I think Broon's latest strategy for winning over the electorate has just been revealed to the world.

I wonder how long it will be before he starts crying during PMQs? How long before he starts sobbing, when questioned by Dave Chameleon about his economic record, that he was only trying to "save the world, to do what is right, to follow my moral compass"?

Perhaps Mandelson has seen Broon crying his heart out recently? That would explain Mandy's even more smug than normal appearance...

The Purpleline said...

I believe in the Macavity syndrome of Brown therefore it is obvious to escape Chilcott a revised GDP figure confirming we are still in recession, a falling piund my target is 1.3500 then 1.0000, and a engineered narrowing of the polls he will call an Election.

On his Piers Morgan interview, I would like to ask if it is possible for a man to feel so bonded to a 10 day old baby. Another cringe worthy Brown performance this man is dangerous he will do anything to retain power.

Martin S said...

Whatever would be the most sensible option, Brown will ignore.

He will call it either stupidly early or ridiculously late.

Iain Dale said...

Goldenballs, Yes, every comment you post describing Lord Ashcroft using the letter C will indeed be deleted. He is a friend of mine and a business partner. If you want to traduce him, go elsewhere. You're not going to do it here.

And as for your threats, feel free to do what you like. I'm trembling.

DespairingLiberal said...

Everybody seems to be breaking down and crying now. Alastair Campbell was at it today as well.

Iain, it won't feel right unless you do the same. Can you please record a video of you blubbing as you realise that a hung parliament with David Cameron leading a coalition including your much-loved LibDems as Ministers (Vince to replace the smarmy, pathetic Osborne as Chancellor perhaps?) is all too likely.

Until then we will have to put up with yet more bitter tears of anger from the NuLab legacy benches. I wonder if Mr Darling will start sobbing on a GMTV couch over the deficit?

The Grim Reaper said...

Iain Dale said "Goldenballs... every comment you post describing Lord Ashcroft using the letter C will indeed be deleted..."

Being described as a Conservative is a disgusting smear, isn't it? :-p

DespairingLiberal said...

Iain, as you are close with Lord Ashcroft, can you then tell us what exactly his status is now? All those donations to the Tory Party are predicated on his agreeing to end his tax exile status. Can you confirm he has done so, unlike the Tory front bench, who always studiously refuse to answer this question?

Or is it in fact the case that at the coming General Election, the Conservative Party campaign will be almost completely funded by one man, living outside the UK and whose personal future benefit to be gained from his largesse we can only guess at.

Which is it?

DespairingLiberal said...

Purpleline frothed:

"On his Piers Morgan interview, I would like to ask if it is possible for a man to feel so bonded to a 10 day old baby. "

Is this for real??

I thought I'd seen enough evidence of how debased some of the New Right are on this and Staines's blog, but this one really beggars belief.

And yet presumably fine with you Iain as you let it through?

golden_balls said...

for the purpose of accuracy i hope you allow this comment.

Let me point out iain and for others the C came before his name Ashcroft get it ? it wasn't anything rude. your comment could lead people into thinking it was something different.

But why do you protect him so and allow people to describe the PM and others in far worse terms.
I applaud you for your loyalty but you shouldn't treat friends any differently when they have questions to answer.

It wasn't a threat as you well know i've just included all the comments you've deleted and other information and forwarded them to matthew and the Liberal PPC of East Surrey. If you have nothing to hide then you don't have a problem

Nothing more.

Good luck on saturday iain

Iain Dale said...

DL, I too didnt much like the Purpleline comment. It's idiocy spoke for itself.

Goldenballs, You don't seem to get it. This is my site. I make the rules. You don't like it? Collect your refund on the way out!

Don't know who this Matthew character is.

But thank you for your good wishes.

golden_balls said...

thank you for including my comment iain

you said
"thank you for your good wishes"

i do mean it ! obviously i don't want you to win the seat but you'd make a good PPC for Surrey East other than your recent trigger happy approach to comments your views aren't as extreme as many on the rightwing blogosphere see above.

David said...

If Brown wants to rant about Ashcroft using his OWN money as HE sees fit will he then rant about unions using their members' money as they see fit and without consulting them to keep Labour in power? Brown's hypocrisy gets worst by the day and he fails to see it. There really is something wrong with him and Labour...

The Purpleline said...

Iain- I reject the claim that the bonding question is idiotic, it is a valid question to be asked and I bet you would be surprised by the answer you would get from the medical profession.

This country has become too soft.

Johnny Norfolk said...

But when are the Tories going to take the gloves off and fight back. Its fine Cameron wanting to move away from yah boo politics, but he is just standing by and letting Labour take the party apart.
You have to fight for what you want not keep smiling and trying to be Mr Nice Guy. wake up cameron.

Unsworth said...

Maybe DesperateLiberal can give us his/her definition of 'predicated on'.

And maybe he/she could learn some English.

DespairingLiberal said...

Purpleline (a name deriving from your personal substance habits perhaps?) - I suspect you may be on the wrong blog. The one you want is "Kill all Socialist Children, Their Parents are Socialist Scum Who Don't Care Anyway". I believe it was founded by a Mr A. Pinochet. Black hoods and torture sessions optional.

Keep on with that "line"!

The Purpleline said...

Despairing Liberal or as I would say Desperate liberal

You simply are a complete imbecile, making rude suggestions about a fellow bloggers name origin, it probably tells us more about you that anything else.

You are wrong however, the Purpleline has been a popular contributor since the late 1990's on many political interactive sights, mainly on Delphi forums and the independent defunct newspaper comments pages, and we saw them off, as I will you my little disturbed liberal fruitcake.

Before you comment on fellow posters comments without a little research, it would be quite valuable for you to avoid looking like the twat you appear to be from the incessant drivel you post. Studies show males do not bond with new born babies, even some mothers find bonding difficult, breastfeeding is cited among one of the best bonding human actions, males cannot perform that, although it would not surprise me if Liberals pushed for that as well in the drive to destroy males place in the human race. I suggest you read up further on studies relating to Jamaican men, who appear on evidence to be very slow in the bonding with heir own children.

I suggest Brown never bonded with the child and after eight years to use, it in a pre-election TV programme was in bad taste.

The Purpleline

Cynic said...

Yesterday I might have agreed but then hes been wrongfooted today on the Labour3 so he will worry and procrastinate again.

Brown calling an election will be like Queen Elizabeth procrastinating over signing Mary's death warrant. Dither, dither, then blame the courtiers for rushing out the decision before you had time to call it back.

Unknown said...

Don't forget that the Q1 "growth" figures come out about 11 days before the GE if held on May 6th.

With the country grinding to a halt for a couple of weeks in January what chance do you thing it'll go negative again? I think the chances are high. If this happens Brown should be toast.

I'm convinced he'll go before then.

BTW: Why doesn't your site remember my Google account name between sessions?

Anonymous said...

I think your sense of smell is good here Iain!!

Sounded suspiciously like ingredients of the last phases in a GE grid.