Sunday, 23 September 2007

Election Fever

I see the media is gearing up for a traditional bout of election fever, having totally failed to notice that nobody really cares.

According to the Daily Mail, Foreign Secretary David Miliband has told the Labour Party to prepare for a second decade of Labour rule, and speculation is rife over when, or if, Gordon Brown might call an election. Also according to the Daily Mail, senior Tories think they're going to lose, and senior aides are telling GB that now's the time.

Of course it is, and if he hasn't figured that out for himself by now he should change his name to Gormless.

It's really very simple - the Tories are in complete disarray. They finally found their own Blair-alike cardboard cutout leader in Crazy Cameron, just as the public were heaving a huge sigh of relief to see the real Tone thrust, kicking and screaming, from Downing St. He's gone, hopefully for good, and we don't want to replace him with an even lighter-weight Tory facsimile, thank you very much.

As for the Liberal Democrats, well, they're Lib Dems, the natural also-rans of the British political field. They pose no realistic threat to Brown or Cameron, and even the Monster Raving Loonies must be feeling quietly confident in the face of Lib Dem opposition. Nothing more need be said of them, save to predict with absolute confidence that, come election night (whenever that may be), they will be seen on VERY light night / early morning TV interviews uttering such immortal phrases as "This has been a really good night for us!" It's just one of those election traditions - happens every time.

So why should Brown hurtle to the polls now, rather than spin things out and gain a little more time in Downing St? After all, he waited long enough to get there, and had to practically evict his predecessor by force. Shouldn't he settle in a bit?

No. Not if he wants to win, any way. Firstly, Brown's time as PM has been beset by problems. Since he finally lost patience and booted Blair out, barely a week has gone by without some catastrophe or other hitting the country. Terrorist attacks, tragically mis-managed floods, a stock market collapse, Foot and Mouth Disease (twice), the Northern Rock fiasco, Blue Tongue Disease...

The more superstitious members of society could well be forgiven for thinking that Brown is jinxed! Naturally, I don't fall into that category, but it's hard to deny that things have been going pretty badly wrong for him - how many times has the COBRA committee been convened since he took office? So far, he's managed to field most of these problems reasonably well (beginners luck, no doubt), but it's only a matter of time before he fumbles one.

And then there's the small matters of the European Treaty / Constitution-in-all-but-name, ransacked pensions and all the other problems from Blair's time that he keeps pretending he knows nothing about.

When you look at it objectively, he's no better than Blair, and may be a whole lot worse. The more he delays an election, the more time the electorate will have to work that out. Worse, the Tory party is already doubting the wisdom of Crazy Cameron's leadership. Given a few months, that doubt could well crystallise into a leadership challenge (please, please let it crystallise!!).

If they can get their act together enough to elect a new, dynamic leader who doesn't just THINK he's in touch with popular opinion, but actually DOES have a handle on it, Brown will be in real trouble. His honeymoon period will be well and truly over by then, while the Tory new boy (or girl) will have the benefit of the doubt - particularly if they make pleasing noises.

And, just to add to Brown's woes, Cherie Blair is writing her memoirs. No doubt she'll be be more than happy to take a swipe at the man who put her hubby out of a job, and who knows what little details she may let slip? If that were to coincide with the aforesaid new Tory leader, Brown would be toast.

I imagine that GB has worked all this - and more - out for himself already. His senior advisers certainly have. So there really isn't very much to debate about, is there? If he wants to be sure of winning the next election (and what PM wouldn't?), that election needs to be very, very soon - before Christmas, I would think.

SO GET ON WITH IT! Call the damned election and let's let the whole tedious business rumble on to its foregone conclusion. We can dust off Peter Snow and whatever high-tech replacement for the swingometer he's going to play with this time round, we can all nod off over the inevitably red-tinted results, and then we can all get back to watching New Labour systematically destroy the British way of life.

Billy Seggars.

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