08 October 2007

Brown should have called the election.

Every election carries a risk, but in all probability an Autumn election would have...
given Labour a working majority, maybe not the notional 48 seat majority they have now, but a decent majority non the less. They would have got this with even a small lead in the polls and if the election had been called it would have made Brown look decisive and during the campaign, the 'Cameron bounce' would have fallen from its current high point.

There were real problems for Brown, dark nights and cold wet weather might have hit turnout, registration was running behind (are administrators going to make this excuse every year - effectively ruling out an Autumn election forever?). These however were all minor problems, the biggest problems for Brown (which proved insurmountable) was marginal MP jitters and Murdoch's opposition to the Euro treaty. No MP on a fat salary (whether retiring or newly elected) fancied losing nearly 2 years salary when they weren't expecting it. A lot of these MPs know their numbers are up whenever the election is called, but they would prefer another 2 years thank you very much. Murdoch was vociferously throwing his weight behind Cameron in an effort to stop the early election before the treaty is signed and must now be laughing into his expensive champagne. The volatility of the polls is truly amazing - in the space of a week, a Labour 11 point lead has become a 3 point deficit. The media have played their part in this, but a question seemingly forgotten about in all this melee' is the softness of the Lib Dems support. Labour are still doing better than before Brown came in, but the Lib Dems have collapsed (ditch Ming before you disappear altogether)!

So what damage has Brown suffered? Well there will be some damage to Brown's image in being portrayed as a 'opportunist ditherer', but most of this will be short term. The bigger damage is that he has let the Tories off the hook when they were on the ropes and with the economic and trade union weather looking rough in the next year or so, there is little chance of as good an opportunity for an election perhaps before 2010, with all the shine that could come off Brown's image in that time. In the meantime the Tories are pouring millions into the marginals (they boast they can outspend Labour 10-1) and their morale is back to its highest after taking a battering over the summer. All in all, pretty bad for Labour's electoral chances. With the media firmly on the Tory side, it is going to be tricky for Labour to find a time to call 'that election'.


  1. Unfortuntately Brown will never have another opportunity to call an election on his terms due to a combination of a economic downturn, public fatigue with a party in power for 10 years but also a sense of deja vu in that spin has now being deployed by this government as well as the last. The Tory party are a fairly resiliant bunch of people, just look at the former leaders they have had to put up with. The one quality this bunch appear to possess is the characteristic to be resiliant when under siege. The party should have focused on the public and called a snap election rather than court the media over a possible election for a prolonged period of time. After 12 years of careful management of the media the Labour party's reputation for handling the media has taken a battering. The media will never deliver a knockout blow to Labour's election chances but may contribute to the government's death by a thousand cuts.

  2. Brown showed exceptional contempt for the public (even for this government) with his pure spin visit to Iraq to announce (or re-announce in some cases) the numbers. For once the Media spotted this. It isn't so much that he treats us like idiots - it's the insult that he thinks we don't mind or won't notice. With any luck he'll pay for his reprehesible behaviour by losing the election, when he's forced to call it.

  3. urko: Yes he did show arrogance on this occasion. He seriously misjudged things, and I for one have never been a big fan of Brown.

    But a Tory government will punish us more than it punishes Brown. Brown losing the election is cutting off our own noses to spite our face.

  4. But a Tory government will punish us more than it punishes Brown

    In what way?