This is a sometimes 'cheesey' blog about British and American politics and anything else which tickles my fancy!

Friday, 9 January 2009

To call or not to call?

Nick Clegg reshuffled his shadow Cabinet team yesterday.

If rumours are to be believed, David Cameron is about to do the same.

Are both opposition leaders gearing themselves up for a General Election?

The signs at first appear promising.

Firstly, the polls look good. The Conservatives have slipped since the autumn and are now hovering at around 40 points. Labour meanwhile has clawed its way up from those disastrous autumn depths to a respectable 36 to 37 points. This means there is plenty to play for and a well fought election campaign from Labour could see the Party just sneak in.

Secondly, the Government is more effective, better disciplined and appears stronger. Thanks, I would say, to Peter Mandelson’s return. It appears to know which political direction it is heading in unlike the Tories who seem distracted and out of their depth.

Thirdly, the recession is not (yet) hurting people. The financial crisis has not quite filtered down yet so people are not feeling the pain in their pockets. Every economic commentator says it’s only a matter of time before more jobs are lost but for the moment people are not blaming the Government.

Finally, the Conservative solution to the crisis has been dreadful. Osborne is a drag on the ticket, but the policy response is nothing short of scandalous. Their laissez-fair approach contradicts everything coming out of the Obama administration-in-waiting, the EU, the CBI, France, Germany, the Institute of Directors and the IMF to name but a few. It look uncaring, outdated and a return to the Tory Party of the 1980s.

The next few months look like the best time for the Prime Minister to call an election. But I still don’t think he will.

Gordon doesn’t want another disastrous will-he-or-won’t-he election that never was. He needs to make a decision and stick to it. Speculation will destroy the Government.

Secondly, the Prime Minister, for all his bombast and activity over the last few months, is still essentially a cautious man. He will not relish an election campaign against David Cameron and he would still rather wait and see then risk an early election.

But if he is playing the part of Mr Micawber and waiting for something to ‘turn up’, he could be severely disappointed.

In times of recession, the electorate blames the Government and as we are constantly being told Britain is heading towards a severe recession.

Before we get there, maybe it would be better for Gordon to call it and call it now.

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