Here's one of those posts that could quickly prove that my political soothsaying is on a par with a koala that's been kept in a dark room for a long time. Despite all the flurry of panicky emails and tweets to BBC journos, I'm convinced that Gordon Brown is not about to call a general election any earlier than May 6th.
To things lead me to this thought:
- First, the polls are clearly running against the Tories at the moment and their lead is down to five or six points. Is this a blip or a trend? If it's a blip then in a month's time the Tories will be back with a healthy lead. So calling an election now will hand victory to David Cameron. Better to hang on and hope things improve. If, on the other hand, it's a trend then it will keep on going and things will just keep on getting better for Brown, so it would be better to wait.
- Second, the major reason for an April election is becoming less of a danger. That was the thought that although the UK came out of recession last quarter it was only by 0.1% and the forecasters felt fairly certain that the next figures (in late April) would show us back in negative growth and that this would be curtains for Brown. The BBC reports that the ONS have revised their figures slightly upwards and we actually saw growth of 0.3% last quarter. Still fairly meagre, but the changes of going back negatiuve next quarter are a lot less.
And what else is there?
- Labour is still cranking up its election machine. This is a monolithic beast and needs a lot of lead time.
- There have been too many negative stories in the press recently - from bullying to the terror role of MI5. Wilst we all know they are likely to continue, I bet he thinks they will run dry and he wants to call an election with a relatively clean slate.
Of course, tomorrow afternoon Brown will call the election and I'll be proved completely wrong, but hey...