Having just watched Cameron’s speech I have to say it was quite impressive. He is by no means on the same level as Blair but he sure beats the hell out of Brown when it comes to public speaking. No doubt Tories will now get over excited and start to dream of an election win, while Labour supporters will be saying they have nothing to be afraid of and that the speech lacked substance. The truth is somewhere in the middle. Labour will still win an election but Cameron said a lot more than Brown did last week. So where does this leave us? Last week the Tories were getting worried about an election, but now I believe that Labour is in a bit of a sticky position.
The next opinion polls will be crucial. Brown has to make a decision on whether to go to the polls or not, neither of which is particularly appetising. If there is little to no change then Brown would be stupid not to go for it. If the Tories have narrowed the gap significantly, Brown may still have to go for it as he will be called a coward and a bottler if he doesn’t. The problem isn’t that Labour won’t win an early election – they will I’m sure – but it’s how they win it. If they don’t have a majority of 100 seats people are going to ask what the point was and it will show Brown up as having poor judgment. If he doesn’t win by more than 66 seats, it will be considered a complete failure and Brown could well have to ride out a storm for a long time. Now yes I know Labour lose 30 odd seats automatically due to boundary changes, but that won’t wash with the media and it won’t wash with the backbenchers who lose their seats knowing that there was still 2 and half years left of this parliament.
Regardless of whether he calls an election now, Brown has made a mistake. He should have been decisive and put a stop to the rumours early and said no election. Instead he played politics – sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. His judgment will surely be questioned this week over the