08 November 2009

The fat lady has yet to sing

Our illustrious Sunday commentators all sing the from the same hymn sheet this morning but with slightly different tunes.

Messrs Ivens, d'Ancona and Rentoul are convinced that Cameron’s statement on Europe was a watershed moment and although, as John Rentoul suggests, the Tories are not prepared for government, Cameron is now the Prime Minister-in-waiting.

Alan Watkins correctly points that a few Prime Ministers have fallen “because of foreign policy”and suggests there could well be a change of policy.  He goes on:

Mr Brown might be thrown out by his party because of his stubborn support for the war in Afghanistan, started by Mr Blair, but supported throughout by Mr Brown. And where would Mr Cameron be then, obediently following Mr Brown? I am not saying Labour would win again on a cry of bringing the boys home from a savage land. But ending the war, if necessary under a new Labour prime minister, would almost certainly dent any Tory majority.

With Obama yet to speak on the small subject of Afghanistan, who knows what may happen in the coming months.  One thing is for sure, there has to be a general election.

There is a consensus that we will go to the polls on May 6 2010, although the possibility of an earlier election should not be ruled out.  The Sun picks up on on this.  However, it is a report in the Yorkshire Post that is most interesting:

They [the Tories] are increasingly worried at the prospect of Labour going to the country on March 25, rather than the first week of May, as has been widely assumed.

The reason is simple. It would mean Labour having to put off the Budget until after polling day – a move that would make it easier for the Government to attack George Osborne's record as Shadow Chancellor, and how, rightly or wrongly, he has positioned the Conservatives on the wrong side of the economic argument.

It would mean Labour could be vague about the scale of the cuts that they would have to implement after the election.

And, it should be noted, that if there was a early poll the already announced tax rises would not have kicked in.

Now, we get to the heart of the matter:

The polling evidence suggests that the anti-Government vote will split so many ways, to the benefit of the Greens, UKIP and the repugnant BNP, that the Tories will not win sufficient seats in the North.

And there's another reason for the Tory concerns. They're still not ruling out the possibility of Brown stepping aside, or being forced out of office by Lord Mandelson, and an interim leader leading Labour into the election.

The tearoom talk, evidently, is of Alan Johnson, the Hull MP, becoming Prime Minister and running the country until polling day – while Harriet Harman, Labour's deputy leader, runs the election campaign.

Let’s not get bogged down with Harriet Harman.  The important point is that Labour may well make the change in January and then call an early general election, which would be a variant to the ‘Bob Hawke scenario’ originally advocated by John Rentoul many months ago.

Cameron may well be the Prime Minister-in-waiting, but he has yet to win the election.  The show is not over yet.

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1 comment:

  1. I still have a feeling Gordy might get forced out just before the election, though I think the election date should be fixed.