General election faint sweat

We’re having the election in June next year,” Peter Mandelson, the business secretary, told journalists at a drinks party last week, with a stage wink. In case anyone missed it, he added: “That was a joke.” But around Westminster, the idea is now being discussed with utmost seriousness.

It was the long time Brown mentor and bank roller Geoffrey Robertson who fuelled the speculation with the Evening Standard, said Standard stable mate Mail pol ed Ben Brogan in his blog today, while over in the news pages he ran Brown’s denial on Radio 2. No repeat then of last year’s near fatal fumbling over an election date. The denial is very plausible of a super Tuesday June 4 general election with the Euros and the English councils. But as a reality and looked at locally, would it choke off at birth any faint hopes of an early UU revival in a Conservative brand? Or would the time be ripe to unveil the Colonel for –er- south Belfast er – –umm -south Antrim?

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London