Monday, January 04, 2010

election dates and political advantages 

Controversies over budgets and election timings are not new things under the UK political sun. Way back in 1950 Attlee wanted to call the 1950 election for May, after a spring budget that would have included the ending of petrol rationing. However his chancellor Stafford Cripps had other ideas.

…. Cripps was adamant that it would be immoral to deliver a budget just before an election – and threatened to resign over the issue. Such was Cripps standing in the country … that Attlee felt he had no alternative but to yield to Cripps wishes. But as he remarked privately … ‘(Cripps was) no judge of politics’.

(Quote by Douglas Jay a sometime Labour Cabinet Minister )

The election took place on 23 February 1950 with petrol rationing still in force. Labour just squeaked back in.

Bearing in mind this financial immorality argument, note this Sundays exchange on the Andrew Marr show, as commented on by Impartial Nick Robinson.

"The slip came when Marr asked him if there'd be a Labour Budget this Spring - a coded way of asking him to rule out an election before May.

'Of course' came the reply, before the PM realised what he was being asked and so he hastily added 'if it's the right time'.

So, May it is...I think."

(Jay, D 1980 “Change and Fortune” cited in Kynaston, D. ‘Austerity Britain’ p 358)

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