26 February 2010

Election fever Part VII: Is there any substance behind the latest rumour?

Guido Fawkes posted last night:

BBC Source: News Team on Red Alert For Election Call

This was then updated:

Guido understands that the BBC political teams have been told not to go away over the weekend.

That rather modifies the headline.

To date this has not been picked up elsewhere, but it worth some comment.

Brown is now locked in to give his evidence to the Iraq Inquiry on 5 March, which cannot happen if an election is called.  It would be a crass decision for this to be called off now.  Moreover, Brown is on record stating he wants to gives his evidence before polling day.

Later this morning the revised Q4 GDP figures are announced.  There is much speculation if they will be revised upwards or not.  Furthermore, the pound took a hammering on the foreign exchanges yesterday.

It could well be that Brown, already aware of the revised figures, has a cunning plan to deflect attention from the bad news.

There is something else that is more likely to be behind Guido’s post, which we discussed earlier this week:

As the story goes, Wilson would make his annual trip to see HMQ at Balmoral to coincide with the start of the Tory conference.  To disrupt proceedings at the seaside, Wilson would feed a few trusted journalists that he was seeking a dissolution.   It worked a treat.

The Tories are holding their unnecessary spring (it’s still winter) conference next weekend.

Brown will want to wrong foot the Tories over the weekend and cause as much disruption as possible.

Finally, The Times confirms that Labour will fight a cheap and cheerful campaign as the party has no money.  A union source tells the paper:

Quite frankly, there is no way the party could pay for another campaign so soon after this one.

That being the case, the party will not be in a position to fight the local campaign if the general election is earlier than 6 May.

We can now rule a March poll out, because the dissolution would have to happen on Monday, leaving no time for the ‘wash up’.  Maundy Thursday, 1 April, can be discounted, so the earliest date would now be 8 April.  But even if Labour had the money, the announcement wouldn't happen in the next few days due to Chilcot.

As discussed above, if Guido story does have legs, it’s likely that ‘the Wilson trick’ is going to be rolled out this weekend.

With short-term tactical Brown you can never be sure what is going on.

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  1. Very interesting things going on behind the scenes no doubt.

    Excellent little story about Wilson as well. I'll have to remember that one.

  2. In truth nobody knows, but it won't stop the speculation.

    The question is: Has there been a change in the national mood towards the Tories? I will come back to this.

  3. Brown is stepping down

    In my waters

  4. Best time to call an election is soon, to overshadow the Tory conference and any post-Chilcot fallout for Brown.

    2009Q4 GDP growth figures have been revised upwards to 0.3%. Possibly good news but not if they fall in 2010Q1 which is quite likely, following the VAT increase, bad weather and general lack of cash at this time of the year. GDP fluctuates on a quarterly basis in any case, not much to worry about usually....unless you're looking for sustained growth.

    No sign of a Labour 2010 Spring conference....is there to be one? 2009 was cancelled. I'd expect one to kick off a general election campaign and get some free publicity.

    Tories poll lead is still disappointing. Political Betting has an interesting post on unweighted versus weighting. Same with the marginals and recent polling points to bigger swings there.

    At some point this can become the equivalent of looking at the entrails to guess the future and Team Cameron should simply be getting on with it. My guess is that there is an anti-politics feeling out there coupled with the fact the shine has come off the Tories. No great game-changing moments though and we're still on for a modest Tory majority.

  5. Jess, I am told my someone that knows about these things that Q1 2010 GDP figures are likely to be positive, but who can tell two months out.

    I don't see how Brown can get out of Chilcot now the date is fixed.

    To my knowledge, there is no Labour spring conference. No money.

    Cameron may still win, but he has messed up. See my later post.

    I have looked into the March election. It is too late, as I have said.

    Remember that Labour has no money and having an earlier election will just compound this.

    An April poll could happen, but I have my doubts and so does Guido now, and he should now.

  6. @Events dear boy, events

    March election is still possible:

    Dissolution procedure
    4.12 When the Prime Minister announces the date for the election he must also decide when Parliament will be dissolved. He can, if he so wishes, seek the dissolution immediately in which case any and all outstanding legislation is lost. More likely, there will be an interval between the announcement and the dissolution.
    4.13 During this interval, usually referred to as the “wash-up” period...


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