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If Brown calls an early election, the Conservatives should call on the electorate to treat it as the referendum on Europe that they have been denied. At the same time it should be made clear that the Tories will be guided 100% by referenda on the future of Britain in Europe, even to the point of departure from the EU if the public so wish it.
Couple this with a declaration that draconian measures will be taken over immigration and the Tories will romp home at the election. Continue with the present incomprehensible green Mystic Meg approach and Portillo's prediction of disaster will come true.

We tried that in 2001 mark - Keep the pound etc -- it did not work!

We tried that in 2001 mark - Keep the pound etc -- it did not work!

Some of these people are like a scratched record.

There are all sorts of reasons why we did not win in 2001 and the fact that we did not win does not prove that all our policies were unpopular.

Would this satisfy you 'Bluepatriot'? Shall we collect together all the manifestoes of the last three unsuccessful campaigns and ban every single policy from future use as being obviously unsucessful?

This would include all the policies you still support as well as those which (as an obvious Europhile) you don't.

Of course that would rule out all the policies that Cameron included when he wrote the last manifesto.

The media want to call all the shots. That's how they love it - all in their power to control the process, coordinated with ramming the EU consitution down peoples' throats without a referendum.

People will notice that it is all a bit much. They can do their damnedest to make Gordon Brown look beautiful, but he's an ugly bastard. Have you noticed that in all the pictures they pull out to make him look good, everyone's looking the other way. It's kind of embarrassing.


What you say is very true but if Brown does calls an early election and wins he will probably claim that it is a mandate for the European Treaty.

Then it will almost be over. The next step after that will be that Brown declares that the Euro has finally passed the five tests and goodbye sterling.

When he was interviewed recently, he made it very clear that he is not against the concept of the Euro.

I agree that Cameron must not use the EU as a foundation for his manifesto but buried in its detail he must make a clear commitment to do as he has already stated and provide a referendum and work to entangle us from the bureaucracy of Brussels.

The day of the European Elections (11 June 2009 if I remember correctly) seems the most likely date with Local Elections also moved to that day - I am sure that Gordon Brown intends getting a lot of legislation through in the Autumn and in 2008, he also wants to go to the country with a Budget surplus and probably a number of rabbits pulled out of the bag, I wouldn't be surprised if there were some tax cuts in the 2009 Budget as well as no doubt more stealth taxes.

The Conservatives may well do quite well in the 2008 and 2009 Local Elections, they may even get a slightly higher vote than Labour in the 2009 European Elections, but I rather think that in the Westminster Elections that while the Conservative vote will be slightly up that there will be little progress in terms of seats and Labour will probably hold or slightly increase it's majority due to returning voters who had switched to the Liberal Democrats from Labour between about 1999 and 2004 or so.

Like it or not, the media ARE calling the shots at the moment and it will continue to be the case until such time when clear water appears between Government and Conservative Policy. These people thrive on negatives; why on earth arn't we playing the game?

It's obviously a good idea to reconnect with "soft" tory voters who have loaned their ballot to Labour or the LibDems as the case may be.

Perhaps the next phase of our sales pitch should be reaching out to the increasing numbers of non-voters.

In addition, whether we like it or not, UKIP supporters must be brought back in to the fold. Given the coverage that the EU constitution will get over the next months they are bound to receive a boost. We simply cannot afford to lose 27 or more marginals next time round by UKIP forcing us into second place.

Time to accelerate the candidate selection process. We need to aim to complete every selection by the end of this year.

I agree and so far we are leading the way on that regard with 143 candidates already selectecd, more than Labour who have only 22 elected so far. If the party can achieve full selection in all seats that would be good but it has to be on quality of candidate and not on the pressure of an election.

In a way it is a trap that has been set by Labour and the media. They are trying to make us panic and rush things through. As a party we must not fall for it and also remain strong as a well a decisive when taking on Brown and the Labour government.

Surely Labours poor financial situation rather limits Gordan's options regarding calling an early election. And although he may wish to pull rabbits out of the hat's he is as likely to shot himself in the foot you only have to look at how the last budget backfired on GB.

Brown has interestingly not gone for an early election...within 3 or so months.

He's saying maybe only and the earliest date the spring. That's really one year from now or maybe 9 months, and even then it's only a maybe. It's just bravado. He hasn't yet got enough lead to make it a risk free venture.

Relax, guys. He's trying to make it look like he's got it all sewn up while he's enjoying the media frenzy. Reality will be back within a week. We don't have to rain on Gordon's parade too hard, or be party poopers.

The anger's brewing within Labour sufficiently about his disloyalty in going outside the party to recruit his ministers. He's dumping the Blairites as if they were lepers. This whole moment is a glorious example of hubris. Nemesis is warming up her act, you can be sure of that

From a Labour website -

Commenting on the results of the elections for the deputy leadership of the Labour Party, former leadership candidate, John McDonnell said "The very low turnout amongst party members and trade unionists is a clear demonstration to Gordon Brown of the scale of resentment amongst our supporters at being denied a vote in a real leadership election. The election of Gordon Brown's own candidate to the deputy leadership evidences little other than the effectiveness of the machine poitics associated with the Brown camp but even Harriet Harman had to posture to the Left on the issues of Iraq, trade union rights and council housing in order to secure victory."

Not happy bunnies at being trampled on by Gordon. Labour MPs feel as stitched-up as Conservatives. Time to join forces and reimpose democracy in the UK, over the heads of party leaderships, the media and all.

or this -

Gordon Brown's first act in his relations with the Labour and trade union movement is to announce that he intends to scrap the trade union vote in policy making at Labour Party conference.

Jon Cruddas and the Compass group initially started this dangerous hare running with their proposals to cut the trade unions' percentage share of the vote at conference. Brown has taken this to its logical conclusion with his proposal of a total removal of the right of trade unions to vote on policy decisions.

This is a real kick in the teeth for all those trade union general secretaries who loyally nominated Brown to the leadership of the party.

He's dumping the Blairites as if they were lepers.

Yes, and we should leave them to it. Labour is internally divided and will rip itself apart -- just as the Conservative Party has done in the past.

Our job is to be the party that's most fit for government, meaning the party that's united, positive, full of sense, and best for Britain.

John McDonnell is just bitter, he's a fine one to talk, neither he nor Michael Meacher could even get all the members of the Socialist Campaign Group to back them - 45 between them but with many refusing to back one or the other out of Michael Meacher or John McDonnell.

As for Gordon Brown's choice, it isn't clear that he actually had a preferred candidate although he probably would have preferred Alan Johnson to Harriet Harman.

The Deputy Leadership race was just that, nothing can be inferred from low turnout in any of the sections in relation to the Leadership race!

In one important respect DC continues to beat Brown all hands down: he is a very charismatic person. However, one is perceived to be all style with little substance and the other the reverse.
While it is highly unlikely that Brown will call an Autumn election, it is not impossible. A spring election next year is much more probable if Brown enjoys good ratings in the polls for several months hence.
Tapestry @ 14.07 is correct to advise us all to relax but I would urge that quite a lot of hard work is carried out during the summer vacation. CCHQ should be helping the constituencies ( especially the northern ones) to get them all ready for action and the policy review groups should aim to report as soon as possible.
No doubt the latter will provoke much discussion and we need proper time to debate them.
Where Europe is concerned, a promise to carry out the wishes of the electorate as expressed in a referendum would be all that is needed (apart from getting some independent body - if any exists - to draft a briefing paper of the pros and cons of EU membership on which a wide ranging debate could be founded).
Once DC is loaded with policies, the jibe of style without substance should disappear and he should be able to take Brown on.

Good post Henry and I wholly agree with you Mark Fulford. We as a party must come together on those subjects that unite us rather than those which divide us....or lose.
I really suspect that is why Brown is playing the 'general election soon' card now,it's the only way to unite the Labour party. I think he will probably succeed in this. Will we?

Brown cannot go for an early election as the Labour party cannot afford it. The parties cupboard is bare and the books flow with red ink.
However splash headlines about an early election, helpfully placed in NuLab supporting Murdoch newspapers help push "Blair Sell-Out over Europe" or "Give Us The Referendum You Promised, Mr Brown" style headlines off front pages.....end to spin. Nah!

I really suspect that is why Brown is playing the 'general election soon' card now,it's the only way to unite the Labour party.
I rather think that it is members of the media speculating and individual Labour MP's right up to cabinet level who think that Labour could do better in a snap election than waiting, it isn't neccessarily even a majority opinion and I doubt it's Gordon Brown's, rather those who favour aiming for 4 years probably are just being quite for now leaving it to closer to the time, Gordon Brown believes in preparation in advance

Brown has missed a trick in not calling an immediate election. Cameron got an extended 18 month honeymoon because he was seen as so new and fresh, and without baggage. Brown won't get this. Any Government problems can be pinned on him. Scandal in the Home Office - Brown froze the budget, Iraq war - Brown signed the cheques, Defence - Brown froze the budget. His speech and warm words were very convincing until you look at his record.

We need to freshen up our team and deploy our most effective speakers more often to get these points across. The Shadow Cabinet needs to lose it's poor performers.

I for one will be glad to see the back of Bliar. Just now, in the commons debate, after a very good piece by Cameron, he used all his lying lawyers skill and patter to put a specious denial of what the clever B......d had been up to with Angela.

editor - i really struggle to see how your obvious enthusiasm for conservative policies translates into support for the current Conwervative party and DC and, relatively speaking, antipathy towards Brown. I am not a head banger.

I know the party needed modernising - and there were plent of ways of doing this yet remaining true to principles (ie. a greater stress on personal freedom but keeping support for economic liberalism). The party has moved so close to Labour that it is hard to ascertain much difference and it's staffed by the same sort of long term political obsessives who know nothing about the real world.

There's an old maxim for me, which is relevant, about going for the real thing rather than an imitation - and, anyway, I'd rather 5 years after a strong Brown victory than accepting the Cameron agenda, after a strong showing, with the result that there is no party that represents those with actual conservative values.

Principles ultimately are what matter - not loony extreme principles but sincerely held beliefs. Without this, people are only going into politics for their own power - viz the Tory Establishment right up to 1979.

The election! September put your money on it. After watching DC's pathetic performance in the commons, Brown must have realised he's no threat. Brown's gonna go early.

From a Labour blogger -

Amid all the excited talk in both the MSM and the blogosphere about Gordon Brown calling an early general election, I offer this by way of a counter-argument.

As reported here at the height of the speculation over whether David Miliband would challenge him, Gordon has already made it clear that he intends to serve only one full-term as Prime Minister, and that he expects to hand over to a younger successor (Miliband?) within seven years.

So to get an idea of how far away the next election is, you just have to do the sums and work backwards. A full Parliament equals five years, and seven minus five equals two. Ergo, Gordon plans to hold the election in 2009, and serve as premier until the end of that Parliament in 2014.

I think it will take more to deflect him from this course than the kind of short-term polling advantage over the Tories that we saw this weekend.

Talk of holding an election keeps Conservative strategists windy and might help to edge them into making tactical errors. But most of all, it suppresses rebelliousness in his own camp.

Brown knows how to work the machine, but not how to move the people.

Agree with much of what has been written here by David Belchamber and others. I'm not so sure an early election is likely, but even if Brown indicated it to keep us on our toes, that can't be a bad thing for us.

Candidate selection is moving ahead well, we have several campaigning intiaties on the cards for this summer (not a break for most of us, I might add!) and we need to keep gearing up anyway.

Even if the election is not until 2009, it's a good thing for us to be on a war footing from now (is there any other kind of footing that's valid in modern politics anyway?), and to ensure that we're doing basic campaigning on the ground pretty consistently, as well as Associations pairing up with their partner target seats and getting heavily stuck in.

No good waiting for market day to fatten that pig...

Gordon has already made it clear that he intends to serve only one full-term as Prime Minister, and that he expects to hand over to a younger successor (Miliband?) within seven years.
Haven't seen anything about that, over the years though I have heard speeches in which Gordon Brown stated that he intended to serve 10 years, I am sure he intends to go through elections in 2009 and 2014 and retire in 2017, at which point it will no doubt be between Ed Balls, David Miliband, Douglas Alexander, Caroline Flint and maybe even by then Clare Ward and I think Ed Balls is almost certain to be his successor!

Frank Aylesford, "The party has moved so close to Labour that it is hard to ascertain much difference and it's staffed by the same sort of long term political obsessives who know nothing about the real world."

I get bored with this lazy assumption that we have moved closer to Labour. Labour moved onto our turf and have been dominating for 12 years now Why? Because it was where any political party aspiring to government needs to be. We allowed Labour to win the arguments where it mattered and have been rewarded with an incompetent government not fit to govern.
We veered too far to the right and that has only compounded the present political situation. I am not worried about being similar to Labour, I just want the Conservative party to prove that we have the better ideas and can win the arguments on the issues that matter to people.

have been rewarded with an incompetent government not fit to govern.

I think that is something we may as well get used to....I doubt there will be any improvement in coming years and Britain has had quite a few mediocre governments

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