08 October 2007

The Prospect of an Early General Election 27 June 2007 - 7 October 2007

Friends of Gordon Brown were today weeping into their glasses of puritanical water and Conservatives laughing into their jubilant champagne following news of the death of The Prospect of an Early General Election, which slipped under the psephological waters over the weekend with the Prime Minister's confirmation that he will not be seeking a mandate(1) from the electorate until 2009 at the earliest.

Despite having been born so recently and having spent so much of its time in the eye of the media, the parentage of The Prospect remains uncertain to this day. Those close to the Prime Minister insist that it was the child of a series of drunken liaisons between political journalists eager for a story and a few overenthusiastic Labour MPs intoxicated by Mr Brown's enormous success in looking dour but responsible while plague, pestilence, famine and death chose the first hundred days of his premiership to visit the country. The dark mutterings of others(2), however, would suggest that The Prospect was actually the child of Mr Brown himself, born on the wrong side of the bedsheets after Mr Brown's attempts to screw the Conservative party and get his own supporters to toe the line by making a General Election seem - like an object in the wing mirror - to be much closer than it really was.

Whatever the truth of its origins, The Prospect certainly grew quickly. With political correspondents tired of their stories only appearing as the third item on the news bulletins, below shark sightings off the British coast or the latest prurient and unfounded speculation about a child abduction, it was soon being touted around as the great hope of political journalism. Before long it was impossible to turn on a news programme without having to face a twenty minute dissection of The Prospect's prospects. Soon discussion of The Prospect was drowning out all other news (save in The Express which continued to deal at length with the most important news of the day, though the day in question was usually 31 August 1997).

Though once closely associated with Mr Brown, The Prospect now seemed to be electrifying everyone. At the LibDem party conference Sir Menzies Campbell became so excited he was seen by at least one witness to twitch his left eye briefly before slipping back into his habitual coma. At the Conservative conference, young Dave "David" Cameron was moved to bounce around on stage calling for Mr Brown to "bring it on" - causing alarm to local hoteliers and restaurateurs who remembered that, in his Bullingdon Club days, such a phrase was normally the preface to thousands of pounds worth of damage being done to a local hostelry or eating establishment.

Mr Brown, meanwhile, found himself increasingly enamoured of The Prospect. Impressed by the attention granted to it by the media and assured of his own performance after an injection of good polling returns, he sought to woo the Prospect - bringing forward announcements he had promised would be made to Parliament, demanding that TV stations prepare for a major statement to be made and (in no way cynically) attempting to upstage Mr Cameron by (in no way cynically) rushing off to Iraq to double count (in no way cynically) the troop reductions he was planning there. The Prime Minister's amour fou for what many believed to be his own child was now obvious to all.

Such a liaison - straight out of the worst 19th Century melodrama as it was - was, of course, doomed. No sooner had the Prime Minister's enormous desire for an early election become clear than The Prospect itself was set upon by Shadow Chancellor George Osborne with a loaded Inheritance Tax cut. Severely wounded by the Tories' plan to enable feckless children to inherit up to a million pounds tax-free from their hard-working parents, The Prospect became a mere shade of its former self. Where once it had been attractive to all, now it was an embarrassing, shambling figure, capable only of inspiring pity. Thus it was that, horrified by what had happened to his former love, Mr Brown chose to steal out of Downing Street at the weekend and drown The Prospect under a sea of unfavourable opinion polls.

The Prospect of an Early General Election will be buried at the Church of St Bob Mckenzie of the Broken Swingometer. Conservatives, LibDems and Labour MPs in southern marginal seats will celebrate loudly into the night, while Mr Brown himself will stand silently at the graveside, a much-diminished man.

(1) younger readers are advised that "mandate" here means the commission as to policy granted by electors to their elected representatives and is in no way a suggestion that the Prime Minister was looking for a romantic liaison with a member of the male gender.
(2) not to mention "the facts".


Gracchi said...

Great post- really enjoyed it!

The As A Dodo Team said...

Many thanks, senator.