Here in the U.S., there's always quite a bit for those of us in the chattering classes to chatter about, during the runup to a presidential or congressional election.
The same is true of a British parliamentary general election. But, in light of the fact that the U.K. has no set time interval between general elections, as I explained here, they have one additional issue about which to chatter: the timing of the election.
The drop-dead deadline is in June 2010. But Prime Minister Gordon Brown can set the date any time before then, and his decision will be rubber-stamped by Queen Elizabeth.
Political reporter Nick Robinson, in his blog on the BBC website, discusses speculation that Brown might try to wrong-foot his rivals by setting the date earlier in the new year. Robinson concludes that the timing of the budget process will prevent that.
It seems as though Brown will do the same thing his predecessors have done when they find their party trailing in the polls, as Brown's Labor Party currently is, which is to wait until the last possible moment, hoping for some unexpected event, such as a surprise uptick in the economy, to save the day.