If Gordon Brown has an ounce of backbone he will call a snap General Election on March 25th rather than wait for May 6th. The omens will never be better than they are now for New Labour. The bullying furore has proven short lived. The public seems undeterred by even the Chancellor's admission that No. 10 unleashed the forces of Hell against him for telling the truth about the economy.
A revised fourth quarter economic growth reading yesterday has raised GDP from 0.1 per cent to 0.3 per cent – still meagre but will be spun as evidence of the climb out of recession.
For this alone it would make sense to go to the country before the publication of the first quarter 2010 estimate, which just could signal that a double dip setback is on the horizon.
The polls are going Labour’s way and currently indicate that the party might scrape more seats than the Tories. This would give the LibDems the opportunity to support Labour as we head towards a hung Parliament.
In addition an early election would wrong-foot the Tories at a time when constituency members are growing uneasy about George Osborne’s tough line on Budget cuts.
On the subject of the Budget, by going to see the Queen to dissolve Parliament, Brown would eliminate the thorn in his side, Alistair Darling. A new Chancellor – Ed Balls – would be installed at No.11 after Brown led Labour to a victory, which seemed impossible just a few weeks ago.
Balls – much more a political beast than Darling – would have his eye on a second election, say, 12 months or so hence. Brown can count on his lieutenant postponing the worst of Budget cutbacks until Labour had an overall majority.
This is conceivable because the Conservatives would be in disarray. Tory leader David Cameron would be out on his ear if the party remained in opposition. The Tories – a much less sentimental bunch than Labour – would never forgive Cameron for squandering a massive opinion poll lead.
The prospect of another five years of Gordon Brown and his band of intellectual pygmies fills me with dread but the Tories haven't shown they are ready for office. So now it is for Brown to show the character that his supporters claim on his behalf - and call a General Election.