Thursday, September 27, 2007

What for?

As Labour's poll leads approach the stratospheric (and frankly unbelievable - do we really believe Gordon Brown is more popular in the country now than Blair was in 1997?) it is inevitable that people should consider an Autumn election more and more likely. But, quite apart from the standard arguments about money, candidates and Prime Ministerial timidity, there is a small problem for those who believe that Gordon should go now: it is why?
There is, of course, an entirely convincing argument that Gordon Brown, as a Prime Minister unsanctified by the benediction of a public mandate, must acquire his own electoral legitimacy and therefore an early election is essential. The problem is that this has been so thoroughly dismissed by the Labour Party and the Prime Minister himself that it's not really usable. Brown can't stand up and say, 'You know, on second thoughts, yeah - I do need my own electoral mandate.'
But what else is there? The Labour Party enjoys a worakable - indeed a large majority; the next election does not have to be until 2010; there is no turmoil within his party: there is no need for an election. The only reason that he would hold one is that he thinks he would win - and that's not really good enough, certainly not for such an homme serieux as Mr Brown portrays himself. So what pretext would he select? An engineered defeat of a measure in the House? Or just a breathtakingly arrogant and dishonest reassessment of the 'mandate' question? Either way, it would not be the best start to a campaign.

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