Monday, April 6, 2009

Sorry, Too Busy

Here is a BBC report on further speculation about the next British general election. Prime Minister Gordon Brown is taking the same public position that he has for some time now, that he's too busy dealing with the economic crisis, to pay any attention to something as trivial as an election.

Those who are unfamiliar with the process of setting a British election date can find an explanation here.

Brown's Labor Party has generally been trailing in opinion polls, since he took over as prime minister in 2007. But the Conservative Party's lead was narrowed last fall, when Brown received some good publicity about his reaction to the economic crisis. Before taking over the top job, he had been the finance minister, under the title "Chancellor of the Exchequer", for 10 years. Therefore, with economic issues on the front burner, he seemed to inspire more trust than the less-experienced Conservative leader David Cameron.

Labor's support deteriorated again in polls during the winter. When that happened, Harriet Harman, Brown's deputy party leader, was kind enough to suggest that Brown would find more career satisfaction in a proposed new job of global economic regulator. Being even more the good friend, she made it clear that he needn't worry about things back home; she would agree to bear the burden of replacing him as prime minister. Surprisingly, he rebuffed her generosity.

Now, Labor's poll numbers have received a bit of a "bounce", after Brown hosted the G20 summit in London. Being seen with fellow world leaders, especially the popular new American president (and the even more popular new American first lady), has boosted his image.

Each of these twists and turns brings new speculation about the election date. But, with the Conservatives still leading, it remains highly likely that Brown will wait until the last minute, in 2010, before calling an election.

Is it really true that he's not thinking about the next election? I'm sure that that's not true, and what's more, that it should not be true.

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