The March 25th ‘snap’ election is off. At the eleventh hour, The Mandelson strategy of ‘go now before it gets any worse’ has been trumped by a Prime Ministerial judgement that ‘it could hardly be any worse…so let’s wait and see’.
The deciding factor appears to have been the second Reid poll today, which showed the Tory lead at its widest-ever level of 14%. The Slog has been arguing throughout that this is the most accurate of the polls – and that all of them understate the likely level of Conservative victory.
The circle around Mandelson is gloomy tonight. Our TenMole writes, “It’s more of the same from Gordon – tentative, hesitant, and now pulling back from the brink.”
Unofficially, the date being touted by most sources and journalists is May 6th. Brown was to have announced the March date at a wing-ding this weekend, after which Lord Mandelson hoped to star in Marr’s Sunday slot. Now the weekend blitz is being termed the ‘launch’ of the campaign….although some think it possible that the PM will name the May date anyway.