In the midst of serious problems being encountered in the
countryside with the continued spread of foot-and-mouth, staging a
general election would appear to be far down the country's list of
But for a Labour Party keen to secure a second consecutive term, even
the tragedies of the foot-and-mouth epidemic cannot afford to take top
billing above the fact that all other factors point to 3 May being the
most desirable date for a general election.
Exclusive research carried out for PRWeek by NOP backs this up: two
thirds of the population register a 'feel-good' factor and only one in
five think the British economy is shrinking - a sure sign of widespread
Both factors suggest that despite the problems currently being faced in
the countryside, the time is right for Labour to go to the polls.
Yet for senior members of the Government to come out and publicly say as
such would, of course, show Labour as insensitive and more than likely
provoke a public backlash.
Instead, we have had all the right people making the right noises
without any clear signs that a change of date was ever on the cards.
In particular, Gordon Brown has helped strengthen his public image as a
smooth operator through some carefully placed stories.
But in an era when how the message is conveyed often becomes the story
itself, there is still a chance this decision could backfire on the
Government and create a storm of negative publicity.
That appears to be a price worth paying for Labour. Especially since the
alternative - to go to the polls when the economic downturn predicted by
Gordon Brown's advisers has already hit - makes 3 May the preferred
date. Game on.