Friday, March 15, 2024

Why the general election may well be on 28 January 2025

I now believe it's likely that Rishi Sunak will put off the general election until the last possible moment, which is 28 January 2025.

It's only human for him to hold on to office in the hope that "something will turn up", though it's hard now to imagine anything that could turn the polls round enough for the Conservatives to win. Victory over an invading force of Martian spaceships might just do it, I suppose.

But there may be another human reason for his delay.

In the autumn of 1978 it was widely thought that Jim Callaghan was about to call an election. Instead, in his speech to the TUC Congress, he mocked journalists who were speculating about it by singing the old music hall song Waiting at the Church.

Yes, really.

He soldiered on, but loss control of the unions and then lost of a vote of confidence. There was no guarantee he would have won in 1978, but things only got worse for him after he declined to call an election then.

It was I think James Fenton - now a distinguished poet, then the political sketchwriter for the New Statesman - who pointed out that "Prime Minister 1976-9" would look much better against Callaghan's name in the history books than "Prime Minister 1976-8".

So maybe Sunak wants to be remembered as "Prime Minister 2022-5" rather than "Prime Minister 2022-4".

Sadly, I can't find a video of Jim Callaghan singing Waiting at the Church to embed, so we'll have to make do with Miss Piggy.

You what?

1 comment:

Crewe Gwyn said...

Campaigning over Christmas and New Year would be ... interesting!