Monday, October 08, 2007

The Election that wasn't

Should Gordon have called it after all? The polls, both in the marginals and wider, aren't looking nearly so promising as they were, and the problems with funding, the electoral register and finding an excuse to go to the country are nothing like resolved, but Brown has sacrificed something important by not calling an Election - the goodwill of the media. Adam Boulton was livid that, after weeks of being carefully and extensively spun by Ed Balls and wee Dougie Alexander that an election was imminent, the PM called it off by means of a fairly soft interview with Andrew Marr, rather than by a press conference - or even in the House of Commons.
The vacillations over this, added to the raw calculation of polling data that Brown admitted to reviewing over the weekend, have erased the image of Brown as the solid, dependable politician that he fought so hard to establish this summer - and replaced with the 'frit' cowardly figure, willing to wound but afraid to strike, so familiar from 10 years of the TBGBs. It was the worst of all possible outcomes for Brown - the threat of an election unified the Conservatives, forced Cameron to move on from the 'brand decontamination' that was depressing and demotiviating MPs and activists alike, made the media look closer at Brown's Government and jacked up expectations to a fever pitch. The subsequent retreat allowed Cameron to claim the high ground, made the jouralists like like idiots and made Brown himself look like a big cowardy custard - as well as a disingenuous one when he claimed that he hadn't called an election because of his great clunking vision for the country. Good job.

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