Advice from The Sunday Times is never dispassionate – particularly for a Labour Prime Minister.
So when it asks ‘Will Gordon Brown find the nerve to strike early?’ and call a General Election next Summer, the Prime Minister’s reaction should be to put a tentative circle round 6th May 2010 on his calendar.
Worryingly Charlie Whelan, who in his spare time is the political officer of my union, UNITE, has told the Strathspey and Badenoch Herald (sic) that an election in June 2009 would be ideal. He was, of course, Gordon Brown’s press secretary in the 1990s and his contribution to this debate is rewarded in the Sunday Times by a page two picture of him brandishing a large fish (still I suppose that’s better than a Miliband-esque banana).
Despite Whelan’s support, an election next year would be a mistake.
The Labour Party and the Government have clawed their way back in the polls on the basis of their sound and decisive response to the world economic crisis. (However, the Tories remain ahead despite their confused and inconsistent response to the financial situation.) An early election would be portrayed as an opportunistic distraction from the task of tackling the problems facing the country.