The Blog of
Nadine Dorries
Reasons to be cheerful, 1..2..3…
Posted Thursday, 19 July 2007 at 14:49

Last night I went to an awards dinner and was seated on the same table as the BBC’s Political Editor, Nick Robinson. The conversation veered towards, will he/won’t he go for an October election. In Nick’s words, my assertion that the PM will almost definitely go for an autumn election is ‘tosh’.

I tried to convince myself on the way home that Nick is right and I am wrong. Didn’t work – every bone in my body yells September/October, and here, in a bit more detail than last time, is why.

The economic future for voters is dodgy. Personal indebtedness is higher than we have ever known it before. Some of those who are fortunate enough to own their own homes, have little equity left in their property. Borrowing against home equity is OK, as long as the property market remains buoyant. We have just seen another interest rate rise, another is on the way, and there may be more - people are really beginning to feel the squeeze.

Giving authority to the Bank of England to set interest rates may appear to Gordon Brown to have been a good idea ten years ago, I can’t help wondering whether or not the PM thinks he may have shot himself in the foot; a political lever, pulled by many a Chancellor over the years for political advantage, has gone. The measure so astutely put in place to remove him from any blame in the past, may end up frustrating him hugely in the future.

Many are predicting a property market crash in the New Year. This has been on the cards, as it always is in an overheated market, for some time, however, supply outstripping demand has forestalled this catastrophe, until now.

The main argument at the table last night, which included other eminent journalists, Peers, oh, and I almost forgot, the political commentator, Iain Dale (joke Iain, thanks by the way) was that Gordon Brown has wanted this so badly and waited for so long that he isn’t going to take the chance. I would argue that he isn’t going to take the risk of only being the PM for two years. He is very well aware that if he waits two years, the likelihood of him being re-elected with a workable majority will erode, month by month as people begin to tire of his dourness and seriousness.

In a political world that is more image conscious than ever before, Gordon Brown just doesn’t cut the ice when it comes to charisma, personality or charm.

Going for an Autumn General Election will not be taking a risk; it is in fact the safer option.

A head of steam is beginning to build, driven largely by the vote in the House of Representatives in the US, to withdraw troops from Iraq. A catastrophic move which would have devastating consequences, however, as with most things, the idea is beginning to catch on over here.

The American elections are just over a year away (as in term times). A Democrat victory is likely; they already have control of Congress and are pushing for troop withdrawal. American opinion wants the boys – and girls – home - both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are plugged right into that opinion. Hillary has said “It is time for us to move our troops out of harms way in the middle of the Iraqi civil war”. (Hillary voted for the war by the way.)

Now, Gordon Brown has one big vote winner, one policy announcement likely to push him through the 40% poll barrier, which is to announce the withdrawal of British troops from Iraq. If he waits and makes such an announcement after the next American Presidential elections - whoever that may be – wouldn’t that make him look like a poodle?

Knowing Gordon Brown, don’t you think that if Tony was seen to follow Bush, he may wish to be seen as the one to lead Clinton/ Obama?  Whereas Tony could be portrayed as a man who took us into a war with less than honour or truth, Brown could be portrayed as the man who saved our troops and took us out.

A hero, who will emulate serious decency and conviction, and no ghost of Kelly to haunt him in the night, will shine like a beacon on the world stage.

Once the troops are home, how loud and insistent would the cries for an Inquiry into the Iraq war be then?

Would he make such an announcement at conference? Well, having spoken to one of the most popular past leaders of the Conservative party, a lot can go wrong at conference.

Remember Walter Wolfgang and the security men at a past Labour conference? He was the elderly man being detained under terrorism law, because he heckled during a speech by the then Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw.

Remember Neil Kinnock falling over on the beach? No, he won’t risk a conference, and he won’t let the Lib-Dems have theirs either. Conferences can be good or bad, you never know the Lib-Dems may break the habit of a lifetime and have a good one.

Which brings me on to another point: what if the Lib Dems replace Ming - which is highly likely - and Nick Clegg or some other youthful, good looking, energetic, Cameronesque leader takes over the Lib-Dems? All those voters who voted Lib-Dem because they didn’t like Tony and may have gone back to Labour may decide not to change after all. Even worse, serial Lib Dem voters may vote Labour to show solidarity and support for a man who talks their talk, and walks their no war walk.

And of course there are boundary changes which will put Labour at a disadvantage in some areas next time.

I could go on and on listing the various reasons why I think he will go - but it will become a very long blog and my lunch time is over – I’m back to the Committee - more tomorrow….

Mike H said:
Responded: Thursday, 19 July 2007
I saw one of the BBC political commentators - I think it was Nick Robinson - arguing his case on Newsnight a day or two ago. His points made sense to me. Besides, are the electorate all so tied into image-based politics that GB won't hack it in an election unless he calls it fairly soon? Personally, I'm not sure they are. Many are fed-up to the back teeth with image-driven politics. I think GB's dourness and general personality are currently viewed as an asset, and I think that may remain the case for a lot longer than you think. However, I do agree that the economic outlook is against him in the longer term. It's a tough call...
Anonymous said:
Responded: Thursday, 19 July 2007
Apparently, women are turned off by his miserable face. More women than men vote. I think if I were him I would go sooner rather than later.
Sam said:
Responded: Thursday, 19 July 2007
He would love to get one over on Tony Blair and you are right, that would be a great way to do it.
Anonymous said:
Responded: Thursday, 19 July 2007
Zero chance of it happening - Labour don't have the funding. It is just a come-on to Cameron to rush the policy making process and burn the cakes in the process. A General Election before 2009 is just wishful thinking on the part of the Tories who know the wheels are going to come of the band wagon by then..
Travelling Middle Manager said:
Responded: Thursday, 19 July 2007
GB will go for an election in the Autumn - the only thing that will stop him is the state of the Labour Party Finances. If he can squeeze some money from somehwhere , he will go for it.
Anonymous said:
Responded: Friday, 20 July 2007
The unions will sub him.
Glyn Davies said:
Responded: Friday, 20 July 2007
Sorry Nadine - but I just can't see it happening in the autumn. Be a bit of a shock for me if it were to - since I was selected only two days ago! I accept your logic of the early election though, and think there is a good chance that there will be an election in the spring - if the GB bounce lasts though to March.
Rachel Joyce said:
Responded: Sunday, 29 July 2007
I think your arguments make real sense - I have been thinking along those lines myself, but you have come up with even more reasons. I was hoping for at least Spring, having myself only just been selected, but best be prepared...
Contact Nadine
Nadine Dorries MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
via e-mail at:
or Telephone on 020 7219 5928

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