Friday, October 05, 2007

November Election?

It does seem to be the only topic of consideration on the lips (and keyboards) of anyone interested or involved in politics.

The Conservatives are playing "come and have a go if you think you're hard enough" and Brown isn't yet replying.

I've always been in the camp that said there won't be an election this year. I still believe that (although I've gone from 99% sure to about 75%). I just don't see why Brown would do it. Having spent 10 years plotting to become PM and making his desire plain the chance of risking it after only 100 days seems foolish. And while the claims that he has no legitimacy as he wasn't elected make a good playground taunt they actually mean nothing. We don't elect prime ministers, we elect parties and the Party Leader is PM. John Major didn't go in 1990 and there is no reason for Gordon Brown to go to the Palace now.

He's also missed the boat. A week is (as the old cliche goes) a long time in politics. If he had made an announcement this time last week it would have gone well, but the Conservatives have had a good week. Some good, sensible policies have been announced, a stunning show of unity was on display and by all accounts Cameron played a blinder. The polls are already showing an upturn for the Conservatives which, if the doubters can keep their opinions in check for just a bit longer, will probably continue.

The trip to Iraq didn't go as well for Brown as he had hoped. People saw it as the shabby headline grabbing trick it clearly was.

And then there's just the practical reasons. It's hard enough to get people to go out to vote on a warm spring evening in May - it will be damn near impossible in November. Particularly in Scotland and Wales where election fatique will still be in place.

If there's a postal strike it will screw up postal votes and the delivery of election communications - a death knell for many of the smaller candidates.

And of course the register is 11 months old. Even with the rolling registration now in force about 10% of the population wiill still be losing their votes.

Of course the cynics among us may think this plays well with Brown, I'm not sure. A determined Get Out The Vote operation could kill some of his marginal seats. And as for Scotland? The SNP are doing well, despite some defeats in the chamber they are still in their honeymoon period. This could take out some MPs where Brown can least afford to lose them - if he can't keep his backyard happy can he keep the rest of the country?

An election now would be a massive waste of time and money. I don't think Brown will go. Having said that - I did make sure to post my electoral registration form just in case....

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