March election anyone?
Speculation is rife that the General Election will instead of being in May be in March with the 25th being the supposed date of choice. It’s hard to tell if the shocking conclusion to The Thick of It fuelled this speculation or in fact is the result of this (as well as a desperate writing gambit to bring Malcolm back) but that is largely an irrelevant issue. Politics Home finds that a majority of voters favour a March election which is as unsurprising in the case of Conservatives as it is that Labour voters are less keen (with our voters evenly split on caring less).
Non-aligned voters are heavily in favour of March as they strain at the leash in the expectation of being able to pass judgement on their local representatives expense claims. Presumably they are also thinking how potentially torturous (or complicated in some cases) having two sets of elections at the same time could be. Mark Pack is adamant there won’t be an early poll but Mike Smithson has put his money where his mouth has and thinks there and thinks the winding down of governmental poster activity justifies his outlay;
The government’s main communications arm, the COI, is said to be pulling all outdoor advertising from after the end of February. This could be just precautionary but the convention, as I understand it, is that there is a big restriction on advertising by government during election periods – and you can see the reason why.
I think the taking of such a precaution could hint at a possibility not a certainty; it surely must be on Gordon Brown’s mind that the poll ratings are improving and that this is probably a trend with an expiry date for a government looking for its fourth term. It is the fact that Prime Ministers are like the rest of us mere mortals and can toy with ideas that leads to the trend Daniel Finkelstein of The Times observes;
In every election I have been involved in, there has been a last-minute rumour about an early poll date. And every one has involved a mad dash to get things ready, all those little practical details that you were going to get round to but hadn’t. Followed by anticlimax.
In other words, on Gordon’s words we all hang and in turn his words and mind will hang on the cynical calculation of when his party will fare best in the polls. He missed a moment and a window this time and I am not sure those around him would let him do so again; however, there is such a thing as famous last words. Of course, the majority in the Politics Home poll are right and Parliament should have fixed-terms but if that happened a whole cottage industry in election speculation and hype would simply cease to be (and journalists and bloggers would have to think of more original copy than they do now). You might well feel this is probably a good thing (and most likely be right) but in that case we should enjoy the show while it lasts….