Tuesday, 14 October 2008

No early election!

Governments can govern. Sometimes, it becomes very clear why governments are needed. And, just sometimes, governments manage to carry out those responsibilities well.

That goes a long way to explain the change in the political weather.

There were some attempts as long ago as the weekend to accuse the government of exaggerating the international influence of the British policy. Now that this is the one thing the French and the Americans can agree on, it is churlish to deny it.

As to the longer-term political fallout, the fact is that absolutely nobody knows. If anybody says they do, don't believe them. Or, at least, ask them to prove that they predicted all of this.

Surely to govern well is the point. This might have political benefits; it might not. But the best way to reap any political benefits is not to think about them.

There are three things that both Labour backbench MPs, commentators and any of us assorted hangers-on who have an interest in the party's future could do, which might all be summed up by a general 'first, do no harm' injunction.

1. Behave sensibly. At all costs, avoid triumphalism about an economic crisis, however well the Prime Minister handles it.

2. In particular, could anybody banging on about the Falklands please stop it. It is in very poor taste all round.

3. And, particularly particularly, if any MP wants to say 'when the crisis is over, perhaps there might be an early election', perhaps arrangements could be made for them to be quickly taken out and shot.

To be fair, that particular madness is largely at the level of media commentary: Jackie Ashley may have started it with a brief, depressing mention of talk of a 'quick poll' yesterday; other commentators may keen to stoke up the circus.

So I am wary even of pointing out the sheer insanity of that discussion when I very much doubt there is any reality to it. Indeed, as the immortal Basil Fawlty once said:

I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it all right.

Please eat and destroy this message after reading it.

And with that said, Let silence fall. Please!

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