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Monday, June 01, 2009

Autumn the season of mists, elections and flu outbreaks? 

More pressure for an Autumn election in the press and elsewhere. But another possible Autumn story may have an impact on that. So far we have not had great outbreaks of H1N1 ‘swine flu’. But cases are increasing slowly and the pre-conditions for a pandemic wave definitely exist. One persuasive epidemiological model suggest that H1N1 will rumble along at a nuisance level over the summer, inhibited in part if we have a summer outdoors in the sun. However when schools and universities and general workplaces start up again in September and October, H1N1 will be at a stage where it could proliferate very quickly and in a serious form.

And the impact? For starter this could lead to the cancellation of the national Party Conferences.

What would be the effect of fighting a General Election in the middle of a pandemic, where public meetings could be banned, people would be highly resistant to opening their doors to canvassers, and election volunteers (and candidates even) falling sick?

Should we be giving some thought to this possibility?

Famously, the 1991 General Election was postponed because Foot and Mouth disease was raging during the originally planned election period.

We may again find it an advantage not to have fixed term Parliaments..

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