...but the thought has been increasingly occurring to me - isn't it great that we don't have Tony Blair on the box every day now?
It will obviously take several months before we can know whether Brown is really going to be able to win the next election - initial evidence suggests he can, but then initial evidence suggests that estate agents are trustworthy people who will Do The Right Thing by you. The poll bounce is interesting as it's something that was predicted to happen if Brown had managed to replace Blair at the height of party discontent over the post-Iraq fallout, in late 2003, but Brown didn't want to split the Labour party (the charitable interpretation), or he bottled it (my interpretation).
Since 2005, though, most of the opinion polling has suggested that there would be no 'Brown bounce' - in fact, if anything, Brown would go further behind.
This has proved completely wrong. Many of you will be sensible and wise enough not to take any notice of opinion polls - you will remember 1992, a few old stagers may even remember 1970. But for the weak-willed, obsessive and candy-starved among us they are bread and butter, the political equivalent of London Lite free newspaper. And it is highly amusing that Labour has gone 3-4 points in front on some polls.
BBC Political Research Editor David Cowling says in the aforelinked article:
I have yet to find anything Labour did between January and June this year that satisfactorily explains, to me at least, the eight point improvement in their standing on the NHS.
Er... Tony Blair getting the hell out of No 10 maybe?
It would show real balls, or indeed semi-recklessness, were Brown to exploit this poll bounce by going for an autumn 2007 election, with the Tories still having no real policy platform to speak of besides a commitment not to abolish grammar schools but they might build a new one in areas which already have them if people really really really want it. Or something...
Strangely enough, I think that going to the country early - by Spring 2008 - would be a good option for Brown. Because if the poll lead were to continue into, say, autumn 2008, it's quite possible Cameron might face a backroom coup of the type that did for Iain Duncan Smith back in '03. And if he did it's probable a hard-right challenger like David Davis could take over - and he might be harder to beat than Dave. Yes, I know the Tories failed twice on a hard-right agenda with Hague and then Howard, but it could be third time lucky. There may just be enough nutters worried about immigration/high taxation/overweaning government to vote in a Tory on a hard right extremist ticket'. Call it 'the Sarkozy Effect'. Or, perhaps we remember Britain, 1979? With enough nutters worried about immigration/high taxation/overweaning govt? As a friend's dad once said about Star Trek, "it could 'appen".
Just to get back to the title of this post as I've gone on long enough... there's been a refreshing lack of Blairite voices saying how bad a job Brown is doing, "we told you you'd miss Tony when he's gone", etc. Maybe "we're all Brownites now", as they say. But this is just some advice for the Blairites I know are hiding out there someplace (in the form of a 'free verse' poem:)
'spin that wheel - blaiRIGHTS get real'
by Seth B Ramal (with royalties donated to Technotronic).
**New for 6 July: battlestarred, URLed remix version** after worries about the impact of senseless profanities on pensioners, and remembering the Nixon tapes.
the wheel hath spun,
and yer man hath frakked the frak off
(as Malcolm Tucker would say.)
(as Nathan Barley would say:)
"YER DEAD YER F***ING DEAD..."
so keep your orifice backed up
jump-shift to blair MK2 - dave ca"MORON".
(which is where you sensible, friendly people should have been in the first place).
[Ah, that feels better now.]