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?

  • Ann

    Remember the last time there was speculation over the election. Will there, won’t there. Will it really be like that again. All the pointers are certainly there for one early in the new year. F. Nelson, thinks January…..

    Locally? It may make those difficult issues still not resolved a little harder to solve.

  • The Raven

    “would it choke off at birth any faint hopes of an early UU revival in a Conservative brand?”

    Surely Brian, this is a two-to-three-elections-away revival? Surely they can’t be thinking there’ll be an immediate upturn?

    One UU Councillor I spoke to recently was certainly thinking in terms of four-to-eight years to rebuild, with any immediate revival coming from general disaffection with the DUPers? (Like, guys, I’m already there….)

  • Insider

    Haven’t you forgotten something? For a revival the UUP would need some players with personality. They have nobody capable of taking on the DUP in any constituency.
    Word is that defections are imminent from UUP at Assembly level. Here we go again.

  • blinding

    Gordon may be taking huge risks with all of the british peoples future at the moment.
    He did not display such courage when his own future was primarly on the line the last time there was a whiff of an election in the air.

    Nothing like it being personal to bring the real danger home.

  • Comrade Stalin

    It’s possible that the approach being taken in the UK and the USA might lead to a temporary upswing in the UK economy, and the low value of sterling might offset the real unemployment crunch. If Brown can persuade people that he was able to fix what would have been a really bad problem, then an election will allow him to secure another five years in office and cut the Tories off before they have a chance to become a serious threat (right now, they’re not).

    It’s interesting that companies like Honda are closing their factory in Swindon for a few months while retaining all of their staff on full pay. I think this is an interesting vote of confidence; they obviously have not written off their investment there and they believe that things will recover without them having to lay people off.

  • Greenflag

    Comrade Stalin ,

    ‘It’s interesting that companies like Honda are closing their factory in Swindon for a few months while retaining all of their staff on full pay.’

    I think it’s more a case of Honda having very deep pockets whereas GM , Ford , Chrysler and many other car manufacturers particularly state side have not only no pockets but their pants are missing as well 🙁

  • Greenflag

    blinding ,

    ‘Nothing like it being personal to bring the real danger home. ‘

    Indeed this was very much noticed at the recent G-20 summit in Washington . At a side meeting on development aid for the poorer African countries German Chancellor Merkel chaired the meeting and began with a list of new efforts that would be made by the German Government to alleviate distress in Africa . This was followed by even more munificent contributions by Prime Minister Brown and French President Sarkozy . Nevertheless they were all stunned into silence when lame duck Dubya Bush upped the ante considerably by offering 4 trillion dollars worth of aid for war torn and development challenged Africa . Speaking to reporters later Mr Bush said that such a huge amount of aid was necessary to stop all these people from coming to America and taking American jobs . This had been happening for the past twenty five years in the USA. He said he was speaking from ‘personal’ experience .

  • Comrade Stalin

    I think it’s more a case of Honda having very deep pockets whereas GM , Ford , Chrysler and many other car manufacturers particularly state side have not only no pockets but their pants are missing as well 🙁

    I think Honda’s advantage is knowing how to build and sell cars that people actually want and which don’t fall apart at any given minor provocation. The Detroit alternative is to build crap; they’ve been getting bailed out by the US taxpayer (in the form of tax credits) for years. I’m sympathetic to the problems that will be faced by auto workers due to the restructuring that those firms need to do, but Congress was quite right to ask them for a business plan rather than give them a blank cheque.

  • Greenflag

    ‘I think Honda’s advantage is knowing how to build and sell cars that people actually want ‘

    Eh -Lots of Americans and non americans wanted SUV’s and Hummers and the bigger the better .

    ‘but Congress was quite right to ask them for a business plan rather than give them a blank cheque’

    They might have gone even harder and demanded a much higher miles per gallon standard and put a heavy federal tax of 5,000 dollars on any vehicles that rated below 30 miles per gallon .
    With oil prices now in decline you can expect car manufacturers to hope for a rebound in sales .

    Jimmy Carter in the 1970’s did great work in promoting fuel efficiencies but and energy conservation to make the USA less dependent on Middle Eastern oil but once Reagan got in and the oil price declined to about a dollar a gallon Americans started down the path of the bigger the better i.e vehicle size etc .

    Downsizing was a no no except of course for many in manufacturing who saw their jobs go overseas. Having downsized the American manifacturing sector and promoted the rise of the financial services sector for the past 25 years we now await waht is to come from the ‘downsizing ‘ of the financial sector as hundreds of thousands lose their jobs across the country . There is just not enough washing for everybody to take in washing .

    Printing money time again I’m afraid . No other short term option other than risking societal meltdown . The prisons are full and the army is fully stretched in two wars .

    Empire overreach . Watch as Clinton unfurls the flags and retreats with discretion .

  • Comrade Stalin

    Eh -Lots of Americans and non americans wanted SUV’s and Hummers and the bigger the better .

    Indeed they did, but the Detroit three haven’t been profitable, and as such haven’t paid any taxes, for quite some time. Japanese carmakers on the other hand have been profitable pretty much continuously ever since they entered that market. There comes a point when you have to ask the same question as the British did; how come the Japanese can run a profitable car manufacturing business here whereas the indigenous companies can’t ?

  • Greenflag

    Comrade Stalin

    ‘how come the Japanese can run a profitable car manufacturing business here whereas the indigenous companies can’t ?

    Because Japanese CEO’s of car manufacturers don’t get to business travel on private jets ?

    Seriously CS there have been several books written on this subject and the underlying reasons range from everything from cultural to late start industrialisation to more focused education and technical training in Japan to long term investment capital in Japan not being squandered (post 1945) on military expenditure and declining empire maintenance etc. If you know your Japanese history you will remember their path from Feudalism to an Industrial culture took a little under 100 years following a 250 years of peace and population expansion (Tokugawa period) which itself followed on from the expulsion of the foreign ‘devils’ who were trying to undermine Japan with their ‘Christianity’ in one hand and economic colonialism in the other .

    Japan has other concerns these days mainly the geriatricisation of their population coupled the rise of competition from China , Korea , Vietnam etc .

    In the ‘new’ world to come it will those who adapt and can change to meet current environmental , political, demograhic and economic change who will ‘survive’ . Those who don’t , can’t , or won’t may still survive but no longer at the level of their former status be it political, military or economy based .

    You can be sure that the long run decline of the West (USA and EU and honorary member Japan ) will continue relative to the rising powers of the East failing of course some deus ex machina which may emerge . Will all of this lead to a better world ? One can only hope . Could’nt be much worse than some aspects of the old eh ?