Friday, October 05, 2007

Why there might be an election after all

The opinion polls do not looks so promising for Gordon Brown, but Alexander Chancellor points to the psychological factors that might yet tempt him to go to the country:

there is another powerful reason that could push him into taking the plunge immediately. This is the oft-repeated view of his enemies in the Blair camp that he is quite incapable of winning an election. They have been saying this since 1994, when disbelief in his electoral appeal handed the Labour leadership to Blair; and they have been going on about it ever since. Brown, they claim, is not someone whom voters will ever take to their hearts: he is too stiff, self-centred and fundamentally disagreeable.

I used to think that the animosity between the Blair and Brown factions was probably something exaggerated by the press in its desire to make politics more titillating, but it turned out to be just as strong as the newspapers made out. In fact, I have never heard Conservatives speak as ill of Brown as some of his comrades in the people's party.

Brown's first few weeks in office must have surprised Blair's acolytes, for he built up a commanding opinion poll lead by appearing as different as possible from his predecessor. All of a sudden, he was looking thoroughly electable. How thrilling that must have been for him. Now he would show them. Now he would finally break the spell that had bound him so long to Blair in soul-destroying interdependence. He would be free at last. Can he fail to call an election next week?

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