Sunday, September 30, 2007

 

Surely Gordon Can't Resist the Latest Evidence?

After today's poll reported in The Observer, I really can't see Gordon Brown holding back much longer. Its seven point lead is less than other recent polls but conforms with his own private polling; in an election it would deliver a majority of 116. Moreover, not only does the poll reveal 39% favouring a poll this autumn(compared to 31% spring 2008), but on who would make the best prime minister it's: Brown 60%, Dave, 14% and poor old Ming 7%.

And the detail makes even more depressing reading for Cameron as he roams his his Blackpool hotel suite, contemplating his possible end of the week fate: nemesis or renaissance. On which leader is 'most able to deal with the problems of the 21st century' the figures are: 50, 21 and 8; and on 'who understands the problems facing Britain', 49, 16 and 12. And on the issues, Tories have made ground on crime and Iraq but trail Labour on health, education, pensions and the economy. To cap it all a huge 71% say they think Labour would win an election(though nearly half predict a 'small majority').

But the stakes could not be higher: a bigger majority and a mandate until 20012 must seem mouth-watering to Brown, but, following a mere a three month tenure, a hung parliament or a reduced majority would position Brown on a downward trajectory. So how will he jump? The Observer counsels against, while the Sunday Times says 'Go for it, Gordon'. Can we assume Murdoch favours a snap election? Or is the often right leaning paper trying to lure Brown onto the rocks? Whatever, the motives I think Gordon will not be able to resist the evidence which his younger aides and advisers are thrusting in front of him.

I think it's a dangerous road and would urge him to wait, but I supect Gordon will not wish to be accused of cowardice again for avoiding a tough decision, nor, after refusing to scotch the election idea will he want to be accused of indecision. I think he'll go for it. Much still depends on the Tory conference. Brown could wait until Cameron has made his make or break speech on Wednesday or, he could pre-empt it to steal the Etonian's thunder. I suspect the latter.

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