All the weekend dinner table talk was about what the best timing for a general election would be, how long it would take for Peter Mandelson to melt as Gordon Brown’s heatshield when Superman re-enters the earth’s atmosphere and whether it would be best to stay at home for Christmas and watch the pound go down and down against the Euro. Oh, that last one’s already happened.
Well, the conversation was probably about a lot more than that but the fragments I remember are that one side of the table thought Brown had no choice but to soldier on to 2010, if only for the fear of being labelled a bottler once again for considering an earlier election.
The other side of the table thought the Prime Minister should make a dash for it in the spring - with May 7th being the favoured date. It would follow on from the G20 summit in London, starring Barack Obama, and it would be too early for anyone to tell whether the multi-billion fiscal stimulus had worked or failed. Unemployment would be on the way up, but not at catastrophic levels, and with the economic storm still raging wouldn’t people want an experienced seadog at the tiller?
Other people must have been having the same conversation. This morning the possibility of February election is being punted by Trevor Kavanah in the Sun and Ben Brogan in his Daily Mail blog. They’re both men in the know.
Ben reveals plans for a meeting of the Messiahs in Washington in February. A Barack meet Brown moment (surely the other way around) that would serve as a handy launch pad for the snap February election that Trevor Kavanah considers in the Sun.
Absolutely no hints from anyone in government that an early poll is planned. They say all eyes on the economy, which means all eyes on the opinion polls that have the Conservatives ahead. The last February election was in 1974. Labour won then — and again a few months later.