If Mr Brown wants an election on 25 October (the last Thursday before the clocks go back, and also incidentally St Crispin’s Day), he has to call it early next week, which neatly allows him to steal the headlines away from the Conservative Party conference.
But where does the requirement that an election be called (at least) seventeen working days before polling day come from? Is it just custom and practice, part of the unwritten British Constitution, or is it encoded in statute somewhere?
(Similarly: why always Thursdays? I approve of holding elections on Thursdays, as lots of children get the day off school, and this, among other things, helps to persuade them that parliamentary democracy is a good idea, but have elections always been on Thursdays in this country for ever and ever, and if so, why?)
For what it’s worth (bugger all), I’m thinking that there probably will be an election. I used to think that there wouldn’t be, as the Labour Party didn’t have enough money; but now people tell me that the Tories are planning to flood marginals with cash in the period between now and whenever an election is called, which seems to make it sensible to go sooner rather than later. (Unless the cupboard really is completely bare, but if it were, then presumably the Party would have killed this talk of an early election much much sooner?)