Monday, 8 October 2007

The Weekend Poliblogs 6th & 7th October 2007

No Election, Not Here, No Way.

The problem is with this announcement from Gordon is not that it was necessarily the wrong decision - the problem is that someone (or some people) had talked up the idea of an Autumn election so much, it was expected that the election would be called this week. And now a failure to meet that expectation looks like an embarrassing climbdown.

Kerron Cross

Brown: my mistake

For all the talk of Apocalypse in the past 24 hours, the likelihood is that a few months from now - if not weeks - Gordon Brown will have recovered a good bit of the ground he threw away in such a cavalier way this weekend. This is not to underestimate the scale of the self-inflicted disaster that has smashed him in the chops. There is no cliche strong enough to describe ineptitude on this scale.

Ben Brogan

Right decision - but what a bloody mess

For those of us who have always thought of Gordon Brown as a man of principle, who longed for him to replace Tony Blair and usher in a new era of political straight-talking and an end to spin, these are difficult days indeed.

Paul Linford

It Really Is Taxes, Stoopid

We have surely reached that fabled tipping point. Your average punter really has paid enough for our bloated underperforming public services. Bottler's taxes have put a major squeeze on British wallets (eg see here), yet schools are no better, violent crime is rampant, and many NHS hospitals are still a third world morass of squalor and disease (further update on Mrs T's father's dismal "patient journey" coming soon).

Burning Our Money

Donal Blaney: How to build on this momentous weekend

Donal Blaney, Chief Executive of the Young Britons' Foundation and the author of Blaney's Blaney, offers ten lessons to be learnt if we are to keep our momentum.

Conservative Home

Don't Let It Go To Your Head

Clearly now there's going to be no election this year we probably won't get one for over a year at least. That's a long time to keep the momentum going. I have complete faith though that Cameron can do it. He just needs the parliamentary party, the candidates and of course the activists to stay fully focused on the goal of number 10. Donal Blaney has written a very good piece over at Conservative Home about how to do it.

Caroline Hunt

Polls show that the Tories might have won an autumn election

The details of the YouGov / Sunday Times poll show just how dangerous a November election would have been for Labour. The Tories are ahead 41 to 38, but amongst those certain to vote their lead rises to 45-36: very close to the ten point advantage they need for a working majority.

Coffee House

Why Brown is not a bottler

Is Brown a bottler? No. That's quite the wrong word for it. He would have been a bottler if he had looked at the data, concluded he would win but still decided not to go for it. That wasn't, however, what the data told him. The message of the marginals poll ordered up by the News of the World's sharp political team was clear. So, as first revealed on Comment Central, he decided to call the whole thing off. But that didn't make him a bottler. He wasn't a bottler in 1994 either, because he would have lost then too. Or throughout the years he stalked Blair, since an assassination attempt would probably have failed. All three decisions were the right ones. So if he isn't a bottler, what is he?

Daniel Finkelstein

What next?

Not calling an election was the correct decision. But let's not lose the huge amount of organisational momentum that's been gained in the last few weeks. Frankly we were behind the curve on candidate selection and a host of other key factors in an election and now we have caught up with where we should be two years before a poll.

Luke’s Blog

How good is Gord off the back foot?

One of the things that we don’t really know about Gord is how he’ll respond when he is under fire. For almost throughout his career he has managed to avoid public situations where he’s faced a severe grilling. During his time at the Treasury Brown always stood back and let members of his team put themselves forward when the difficult issues, like the level of fraud in the tax credit system, came to the fore. Criticism, it is said, is something he finds difficult to handle.

Political Betting

Conor Burns: It's time for fixed-term parliaments

If, as he obviously wanted to do, Brown had called an election in November where would Nov ’07 have sat in the context of the elections since the Second World War?

Conservative Home

Bid to stop election-fixing with fixed-term Parliaments

The Liberal Democrats are to table proposals in Parliament for a fixed four-year general election cycle. Ming Campbell told the BBC: “It’s high time, in my view, that the decision about a general election is not part of the discretion of the Prime Minister.

Ming Campbell

Press Conference - Could this be the beginning of the end for Gordon Brown?

As the title of this post suggests, could this morning's monthly press conference be the beginning of the end for Gordon Brown? Gordon has been lucky to have received a relatively easy ride from the media during his first few months as PM. However the events of last week are going to change all that. The press are not at all happy with the way they have been snubbed. First there was Gordon's refusal to take any of the dead tree journalists on his disastrous visit to Iraq. A few days later he snubbed them again. He announced his decision not to call an Autumn election in a one to one with his pet reporter Andrew Marr, leaving (as one reporter put it) the rest reporting from the gutter opposite No 10.

Daily Referendum

The Return of Parliament

Parliament returns today, after a mere 10 weeks off. Despite the cancelled election, the atmosphere, I expect, will be feverish, with announcements on Iraq, the pre-Budget Report and Government spending, as well as Prime Minister’s Questions, all in the next three days. It will be interesting to gauge the mood of Labour MPs. I did the Westminster Hour with Labour MP Emily Thornberry last night, and while she was subdued, she played a loyal straight bat both on and off the air. Certainly more so than Harriet Harman, who could not bring herself to say the fiasco has not damaged Brown. Cue her imminent departure.

Ed Vaizey

Hazards of English devolution

The Tories have come up with a new answer to the 'West Lothian question'. The trouble is, it's unworkable.

Iain Macwhirter

No referendum

The referendum campaigners’ last best hope has just vanished. Not that those who want a referendum on the European Reform Treaty will shut up shop and go home. Far from it. The campaign will intensify and reach something of a peak over the next few weeks. And perhaps that is at least one reason why their moment may have passed.

Mark Mardell

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