Having boasted in the Commons this week, "We not only saved the world..." the Prime Minister's logical next step is to invite the country to demonstrate its gratitude. He needs to look sharp, though, because his miasma of authority is about to be blown away by gales of rising unemployment.The entire Labour front bench it seems is turning its full attention to the readership of the Mail; first Phil Woolas with a radical shift in immigration policy, then Straw pledging to deport dangerous wogs, now Purnell promising an end to Welfare madness. The only factor lacking is an announcement to end non-contributory public sector final salary pensions.
Gordon needs to be quick, though. The Germans have branded him an economic lunatic, and by early 2009 if the UK gets much worse in comparison with big Europe and the US (as most think it will) his economic credibility will drain away, and Spring will bring out our natural urge for change and renewal, so June is dangerous for him. His mental health is being increasingly seriously questioned and this won't take long to spread to the public perception. As Randall wrote, rising unemployment will skewer him, and once the news bulletins go back to carrying a round up of the day's redundancies, as they did in the past, each day will bleed away 100,000 Labour votes. The polls are now about as favourable as they're going to get. His best chance is January or February on anyone's reckoning.
But will Gordon have the guts to go to the country? Or will he bottle it again?