Monday, 30 April 2007

Don’t hold your breath

Rumours have been flying around for some time that Gordon Brown might call an early general election to take advantage of the Brown Bounce, a surge in the polls as the voters take a big breath of the fresh air that Gordon will represent after replacing Tony Blair.

I’ve been rubbishing this suggestion for some time. Apart from its echoes of another Labour bounce that we were promised, the voters are becoming increasingly aware that the most bouncy thing about the Chancellor of the Exchequer is the rubber cheques he has been writing.

So I hope the boys in Campaigns haven’t blown the whole of the budget just yet, because according to The Times Gordon Brown has explicitly ruled out an early election. On ITV yesterday he pouted

“I didn’t hear the Conservatives calling for a general election the minute
that John Major took over in 1990… Nor did people say that on the other
occasions in British history.”

The analogy is apposite, as the Tories were highly unpopular in 1990. However, Major had the advantage of being relatively unknown when he took over, unstained by the previous ten years. Not so Brown, who is up to his neck in the authoritarianism, spin, sleaze and ultimate failure of ten years of New Labour, while at the same time being personally responsible for unprecedented levels of taxation, high borrowing and vast amount of off-the-balance-sheet public debt.

My bet remains that Gordon Brown will delay the next general election for as long as possible, hoping that he can somehow convince the world that he is actually a good Prime Minister, if only we give him a chance.It looks like it’s not just those expecting an early election who should not be holding their breaths.

1 comment:

Pie Eyed Piper said...

Hi Tom,

I can see your reasoning here. I posted a while ago prediciting that Brown would go to the polls on the back of a "bounce" but you're right in surmising this might never materialise. Remember, though, that he is going to be in a position where he can be proactive in generating this "bounce" through attractive policies.

My bet is that Labour will lay the foundations for an early campaign, go all out at the start of Brown's premiership in the hope of a lift in the polls and judge whether or not to run then. Remember that if he did win an early election it would make David Cameron's job of uniting the Tories a good deal harder.