Thursday, November 01, 2007

Not the election day

As other bloggers have already pointed out, today would have been General Election day had Gordon Brown announced a poll immediately after the end of the Conservative conference as was speculated at the time.

Interestingly one of the key calculations in Gordon's dilemmma over whether to hold the first November election in living memory would have been the state of the weather, with conventional wisdom suggesting that the month's customarily gloomy days and dark evenings would have hit Labour's turnout disproportionately more than the Tories'.

Well, I can't speak for the rest of the country, but up here in Derbyshire today it's been positively summery, so if the weather really was a factor in the Prime Minister's decision, he probably needn't have worried.

But autumn sunshine or autumn rains, would Brown have won? No, I don't think so. I think the main movements in terms of seats would have been from Labour to SNP in Scotland and from Lib Dem to Tory in the South, with a small number of marginals changing hands directly from Labour to Tory.

The upshot of all that would have made Labour the biggest single party in a hung Parliament, which would really have been the worst of all outcomes for all three party leaders.

Gordon Brown, having thrown away a majority of 66 in a reckless gamble, would probably have had to resign. Sir Menzies Campbell would have tried to put together some sort of Lib-Lab coalition, but Nick Clegg and David Laws would have stopped him, and he would probably have had to go too.

As for David Cameron, he might have struggled to persuade his party to give him a second chance in a situation where many Tory MPs would have expected him to win outright.

The end result would almost certainly have been some sort of caretaker administration, and a second election next spring, quite possibly with three different party leaders. In a word: chaos.

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2 comments:

Guido Fawkes Esq. said...

Well Labour being the largest party would not have been "the worst of all outcomes for all three party leaders. "

It would have been worse for Labour to have not been the largest party. That is not impossible and I have money riding on it.

In the event that the Tories were the largest party it would be hard for the LibDems to be seen to support a rejected government. Ming would not be a factor because he would be removed after the LDs lost seats.

The LDs will either support the Cameroonies or vote bill by bill.

skipper said...

Paul
I agree re your assessment of how an election would have panned out with Labour biggest but probably.0 lacking overall majority. But I think Gordon would have toughed it out for a while at least, seeking to build majorities on specific issues. Someone as obsessed with being PM as him wouldn't just meekly resign- he'd wriggle and twist and do his damndest to hang on in in the hope he'd get lucky again.