Wednesday, 3 October 2007

An unnecessary election?

Speculation about an early election is now reaching fever pitch and it looks as if Gordon may be tempted, if only to show that he is not that cautious. We elect a party to govern for five years, not a person, and it seems to me that an election after half that period is unnecessary. As Peter Riddell was pointing out in The Times yesterday, voters may be suspicious of why a 'cut and run' election is needed. Is there bad news ahead?

Turnout could be low and if it all ends with a similar Labour majority to the present one, or even a smaller one, what is the point in terms of partisan advantage?In any event if there is an election we shall follow the contest in Warwick and Leamington which has a wafer thin Labour majority, although some redistricting since the last election should help Labour. James Plaskitt, under-secretary of state for Work and Pensions, will presumably stand again, as will Chris White for the Conservatives.

Warwick and Leamington was for a long time the constituency of Sir Anthony Eden and was known as Garden of Eden. When he visited the constituency, Sir Anthony and Lady Clarissa would progress through the streets in an open car. Patriotic bunting would be displayed and the crowds would cheer as if they were royalty, which in a sense they were. Sir Anthony did actually have a house in the constituency. A friend of mine subsequently lived in it and found someone dead in the front garden one morning. I doubt whether Sir Anthony was inconvenienced in this way.

Sir Anthony's first opponent back in the 1920s was the Countess of Warwick. The Countess had been a mistress of Edward VIII and took him to meet the founder of the agricultural workers' union, Joseph Arch, in nearby Barford. Arch gave it large to His Majesty and the meeting did not go well.

The Countess was the inspiration for the song 'Daisy, Daisy, give me an answer do'. When she campaigned in the Socialist interest, she set forth in her chauffeur driven limousine to meet the proletariat.


skipper said...

Surely an excellent reason for an election is the fact that Gordon has not been voted on yet by the public? Could he not say or even think that he needs the legitimacy of an election victory to escape the shadow of his predecessor? And is there not something in this?

Wyn Grant said...

I think there is something in it. But we elect a party to govern not an individual. Certainly in the past no one asked for an election when Harold Macmillan succedeed Eden and he was in turn later succeded by Alec Douglas-Home.