There is much talk around about whether Gordon Brown will call a general election. It is far from clear that it matters much; he could at the worst hand over government to Cameron this year in 2007, 2010 (the longest the Parliament can run) or by 2112, if he wins an election this year.
Of course in a head-to-head with the Tories I would hope for New Labour to come out on top – just as I wanted Chirac to defeat Le Pen in 2002 and Kerry to win over Bush in 2004. In all these cases one’s vote or wish is essentially negative; i.e. to prevent the gratuitous nastiness of the Right, while having little affinity for the ‘left’ side in these Twiddle-Dum Twiddle-Dee battles.
In 2005 Blair romped home with a safe overall majority of over sixty seats on around 35 percent of the votes, and Brown’s chances of doing the same depends less on how many votes Labour receives than where they are cast. Stacking up votes - from working people who think Gordon is ‘more Labour’ than Tony - in Labour’s heartlands of the north and in the cities counts for nothing. Brown needs to retain votes in the marginals in the South, Midlands and suburbs while hoping for a high Liberal Democratic vote.
So not only does the outcome of the election not count for very much, but the idea of one voter with one vote of one value determining the result reveals itself as a meaningless deception.