Andrew Allison

Brown’s big weekend

In Brown, general election on October 6, 2007 at 8:35 am

When I checked my e-mails this morning, a snippet of news flashed up on the screen. ‘Brown is facing the most difficult decision of his political career this weekend.’ Deciding when to hold a general election is always going to be a tough one for any incumbent prime minister, however Brown has brought this on himself. He could have ruled out the prospect of a snap poll; he didn’t, instead allowing his advisers to fuel the speculation. I think he will go for November – not because it’s the best choice, but because he has boxed himself in to a corner. If he doesn’t call an election he will be seen a weak. He will be seen as a prime minister who was afraid of asking the people what they want.

There is speculation in ‘The Times’ this morning that Brown will not take the plunge as the Conservative pledge to raise the Inheritance Tax threshold to £1m has proven very popular with the electorate. This policy is the main reason for the Cameron bounce. ‘The Times’ also reports election officers have warned ministers that a postal strike could skew the election results in marginal seats if a poll is held this month. They presume – and it is a fair assessment – the Communication Workers Union will step up their series of strikes to maximise disruption to the election. My response is to tell the government to start banging some heads together. This is the postal network of the UK. It should not and cannot be held hostage to the unions.

So we will have to wait for Tuesday for the announcement. It will be either November 1 or 8. Brown really has no option now.

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