Today I announce a u-turn – Garbo is, officially, for turning. I have long said that there will be no autumn election. Due to events of the past few days I have changed my mind and now believe that we will be going to the polls on 1st November. My change in heart is based on a number of factors – though mainly on some very reliable sources close to Brown’s aides.
All up until this week I maintained the view that a 2008 poll made more sense. I could now write a post explaining why I was right then and right now, but it would not wash with anyone! So instead I will put my neck on the line again and say what day I think an election will be…
There are three conceivable options if he is to call an election this year - either 25th October, 1st November or 8th November. As soon as Gordon goes to the Queen to ask for an election, he must wait three weeks before going to the polls. Traditionally, elections are held on a Thursday and so the soonest we could have an election would be three weeks on Thursday – October 25th. The press and many other commentators believe that the 8th is the most likely date. Any later is not really likely at all as it would be well in to winter and there would be little point waiting that long. So here goes-
25th October – This option is the boldest of the lot. It would mean announcing an election in the middle of Tory party conference – which would go down like lead balloon for the Tories. I just don’t think even Brown would do this though. It would however be before the clocks go back – and if you believe the hype about Labour voters being scared of the dark or something, this will benefit Labour. However the 25th does not really give time for the Comprehensive Spending Review to come out which will be big headlines for the government. The other factor against this date is that I think Brown will want to recall parliament for a couple of days the following week – partly to announce certain issues such as the CSR and maybe an announcement on troop withdrawals from Iraq before it is dissolved.
1st November – for me this is the date. A snap election is just that – you call it and then have it as soon as possible. What is the point in waiting until the 8th? The evenings will be darker still by the 8th and it gives more time for the Tories to prepare. The iron is hot now – leaving it a week does not benefit anyone in the Labour camp. I think Gordon will announce an election on the week beginning 8th October (possibly the Friday before) and then to the polls on 1st.
8th November – still a good possibility, but I just can not see the rational in waiting this long.
It will be interesting to see how the Murdoch press, particularly the Sun, react to a November election given their current attack on the EU Treaty and demands for an EU Referendum. That must be an issue Brown is thinking about right now – if the Tories can make it the issue for the election it could prove costly given the sign off on the EU treaty in