November 01, 2004

Feb Election Not On

Speculation has mounted in the press that Tony Blair could call a surprise February 2005 election. This speculation has predictably been rubbished by Number 10. The Sunday Times and Telegraph had argued that the Blair government could benefit from a Baghdad Bounce - an approval ratings lift as a result of the upcoming January 2005 Iraqi elections. A snap General Election in February 2005 could see Blair at the height of his popularity according to the papers. However, this appears to make little sense. Historically elections are not held in the winter due to lower turnout. Furthermore, the likely upsurge in violence in Iraq is hardly going to increase Blair's support. There is absolutely no guarantee that all Iraqi groups are going to support the election after all. A Sunni boycott, and the election of an American-backed puppet government is a real possibility. This is hardly going to be a boost for Blair, no matter how much spin he puts on the matter.