Sunday, August 12, 2007
Gordon Should Resist Siren-calls for an Early Election
According to legend, Odysseus was so curious as to the Sirens' song as his ship passed their island, that he ordered his men to tie him to a mast whilst their ears were safely stopped with beeswax. I hope Gordon Brown has ensured the ropes which pinion him are secure as those Sirens are already sending out their seductive sounds.
Brown has not yet faced any election on his road to Number 10 so there is some pressure for him to rectify this condition. He would also love to win a new mandate- which would extend to autumn 2012- to ensure he is not a short-lived Jim Callaghan sort in office; how bad would he feel if in retrospect, autumn 2007 was the optimum time to go to the country? He is already on his marks- with ministers allocated to campaign and manifesto tasks- along with the now not so confident Conservatives who may be en route to yet another leadership crisis. Those siren voices have been issuing forth persuasively for some time now. And then, floating up the Thames this morning, came the hard to resist melody of the Sunday Times poll.
65% see Gordon as 'doing well' as PM- only 17% 'badly'; for Cameron's role the figures are 29% and 55% respectively.73% judged Brown to have been less close to George Bush than Blair; 76% think the foot and mouth crisis has been handled well. Indeed, it seems Macmillan's warning that 'events' are a PM's biggest headache has been confounded: Brown's has met each successive challenge with aplomb and his ratings benefited accordingly. He now sits atop a 10 point lead over the Tories, the biggest lead since November 2002.
That shrewd weekly journal, The Economist warns this week the party's £26m debt plus the poor polls in Scotland, which could threaten the size of his majority together with the threat of higher interest rates later this year make a snap election a risk the ever cautious Brown is unlikely to take. Yet here comes the Sunday Times' leader today:
The bounce in Mr Brown’s poll ratings shows he should have nothing to fear by going to the country. We shall see in the next few weeks whether he has the nerve to do so.
My advice(yes, I know he would never ask it) would be to indicate to his men by wagging his eyebrows(according to the legend this is how he communicated with them) to tighten and not loosen his bonds for this indeed is the authentic right-wing song which could lure him onto the Sirens' rocky coastline and possible disaster.