The election nobody wanted
Gordon Brown ended weeks of speculation yesterday by announcing he will not hold a snap General Election this autumn and also ruled out a May 2008 poll as well. The Prime Minister explained that he wanted a chance to show the country his "vision for change", opposition parties hit back accusing Mr Brown of loosing his nerve. But did anyone in politics really want a General Election?
Certainly Brown was considering it, he put his party on alert, hired election staff, altered the program of government business to allow for an election and certainly did nothing to stop his key ministerial aids from talking up the possibility of autumn poll. Be in no doubt, if he believed he could have increased his majority in the commons Brown would have called an election.
Remarkably in spite of David Cameron’s call to "Let the people decide" and “bring it on," it’s the Conservatives we have to thank for ensuring there won’t be a General Election. The Conservatives entered their annual party conference nervous about a General Election and quite frankly not really fancying it, they were still behind in the polls and Cameron’s personal popularity had taken a hit after a messy end to the last parliamentary session.
What they did was play an absolutely excellent double bluff. They talked up the election, got their activists excited out it and made out like they were super confident of winning. Of course they weren’t, had their been a General Election, they’d have had less than a week to put together a manifesto, but that didn’t matter, they managed to convince the public they were ready, and a poll this weekend revealed they’d achieved a 6 point swing in marginal seats.
This was enough to cause Gordon Brown to fold his hand. The Tories successfully bluffed their way to safety and ensured that would be no General Election.
Don’t be fooled into thinking the Tories could have won an election, even with their six point lead in the marginals, this would have only resulted in a Hung Parliament, with Labour holding 306 seats and the Tories 246. This would have being disastrous for the Conservatives because it would have brought the Lib Dems back into the frame.
Still whilst Lib Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell has rightly accused Gordon Brown of loosing his nerve, before this 6 point swing was revealed, he couldn’t have been too keen on the prospect of a General Election either. With the Lib Dems polling just 13% of the popular vote in a recent survey, the lowest I can remember the Lib Dems polling in years, they would not have wielded the influence they would have liked in a hung parliament.
So much like a game a Texas Hold’em, the Tories were bluffing, the Lib Dems had nothing and Labour folded, no-one wanted to see the river card that would have been the General Election.
Add your comments to this article and read other people's comments on this piece below.
To add a comment just complete the form below. Fields marked in bold are required. Try to keep your comments brief and to the point.