After the May elections of one sort and another there were voices in the Conservative party and amongst commentators and bloggers who, in the face of a Brown Coronation March counseled inactivity: “This is Gordon Brown’s time and we should accept we are not going to get a look in, so we may as well not try”.

At the time I found this an extraordinary notion and in the light of events, I am utterly convinced it was a very grave error to leave him to go about the country and be crowned. What should have been done was that the attack on Gordon Brown, who lets face it carries with him a huge number of issues upon which he might be attacked, should have been stepped up in that time so that, instead of him making a whole lot of set piece speeches and appearances unmolested, he should have been made constantly to look on the defensive. Instead he was allowed to go about his business, probably because, as Iain Martin in the Sunday Telegraph alleges today, the Conservative Party’s presumptions about the then Chancellor were “lazy”.

Thus, upon taking over from Vanity Blair, Gordon Brown, instead of finding himself mired in the defensive mud of the political trenches, was able to hit the ground running and running he has been ever since then. And fortune has gifted him a number of events where he has been able to present an appearance of dull but worthy competence: a nasty terrorist conspiracy, some devastating floods and a small outbreak of Foot & Mouth disease. Whilst the political sun has been shining, Gordon Brown has been quietly making hay.

Meanwhile the Conservative Party has had several policy groups out there contemplating how one makes a Conservative Party, whose brand has widely been recognised to have become ‘toxic’, electable. Some have reported but others are still to do so and there has been in recent weeks a feeling that there is an insufficient sense of urgency in this process, even after first hints of a snap election began to bubble to the surface. There have been concerns at the feeling that many Shadow Cabinet Members, laden with outside interests and directorships, are not able to devote enough time to the business of attacking Labour and that this level of external commitment sends the wrong message to the Party as a whole, that of not believing we can win. New errors of judgement have revealed continuing disquiet at Mr. Cameron’s judgement.

The result? Gordon Brown and Labour have suddenly turned a losing position in the polls as Vanity Blair’s tawdry time at the helm came to an end into a handsome one which, if replicated at a General Election, would give him an increased majority and deliver the Tories their fourth straight loss, into the maelstrom of which will immediately be swept Cameroonism, hugging hoodies and kissing Polly Toynbee.

All is not lost. John Redwood’s paper on tax and regulation has, after the BBC has had its obligatory repeat of him mumbling the Welsh National Anthem, been much better received than might have been expected whilst Labour’s ‘lurch to the right’ message has been seen for what it is: the usual rant which gets stuck into a groove, whilst the usual lies peddled by Labour have been quickly exposed as such: witness Paxo finding out Andy Burnham, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, as commenting on the proposals before having read them. That will not stop them lying, but they should know that people are beginning to question whether they are telling the truth.

In addition the Brown Bounce may be more ephemeral than Labour thinks. And, as I have noted recently, there remains the problem of Scotland where Labour’s fortunes are far less certain, with one recent poll suggesting a Labour meltdown if replicated at a General Election.

The LibDems, for all that they came second in the Ealing Southall by-election, remain stuck with an elderly Scots Gentleman as their leader, a man with all the dynamism that you might expect of a man of 66 years of age who has had (and recovered from) cancer. He may just be found wanting in the fitness stakes, quite apart from the deficiencies of his policies and character. Just as Labour voters, turned off by Vanity Blair and his war-mongering and sleaze, are apparently coming back into the Labour fold, so LibDem support may leak to the Tories. In addition they do not exactly seem flush with cash. Anything less than 17% for them might well trigger a meltdown back to where thy stood in the 1970s.

It is right and sensible that Cameron has apparently given instructions for a Manifesto to be put in hand, given the possibilities: I have calculated the earliest possible date for an election as 27th. September if Parliament were dissolved on 5th. September 2007, though in practical terms the earliest date is probably a week later, being 4th. October 2007. There is nothing to stop the party conferences from being abandoned, indeed Brown might wish to deprive the Tories of the oxygen of publicity that would provide if he waited until after the conference season had finished. But undoubtedly a sense of urgency must now be injected into proceedings.

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