Would this be in Labour’s best long-term interest?
Another opinion poll overnight showing not one iota of improvement in Labour’s position and another month goes by eating into the precious time the party has to get it right before it is forced to face the voters.
Labour’s situation is dire and it is hard to foresee the circumstances in which it can stop Cameron’s Conservatives getting a substantial majority. There is no positive indication anywhere – and there’s been nothing to suggest that it would fare better under new leadership.
Quite simply the Labour government that was elected on May 1st 1997 has run out of steam. The priority now, surely, is how can it return to power in the shortest possible period.
Even many of its own supporters have given up on it with Populus showing this morning that only half those who voted for the party in 2005 plan to do so again.
In the real world outside things look grim – the pound down to its lowest levels, prices soaring, and the threat of rising unemployment and threats of industrial action. On the international front there’s a Russia that’s flexing its muscles, worrying talk of an attack on Iran and the never ending fears about terrorism.
These are not the times for a lame-duck government to cling onto power. For when it loses office, as it surely will, the electorate’s memory of what life was like under Labour will be highly coloured by the final period.
Surely the earlier that the general election is the better it will be for Labour’s long-term chances. It can then start afresh with a new leader and new thinking while it watches the Tories seek to grapple with massive problems across the board.
Why not a statesman-like act by Brown saying he’s calling an October 30th election because a government with a fresh mandate is what’s needed to deal with the mountain of issues facing Britain?
Maybe Labour would be rewarded for doing something in the broad national interest and not just for narrow party advantage. Maybe the outcome would not be as bad as ministers fear. Maybe even such a move would reduce the numbers of wilderness years that Labour looks set to endure.