Warning: This post was published more than 9 years ago.
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A single sentence in Mr Brown’s conference speech could have saved him a huge humiliation today. But he tried to keep his options open for too long, and look where he’s ended up. A huge climbdown following an unnecessary build-up, in the face of a terrible poll.
The number of mistakes that have been made in the handling of this situation is staggering.
He’s announced this decision in the face of a poll showing a Conservative lead, meaning that the poll gets more attention that it otherwise would have.
He’s done it on a Saturday so he gets a bashing in the Sunday papers and the Monday papers.
He’s done it in an embargoed interview, so the only pictures to accompany the story for the first (almost) 24 hours are those of Mr Cameron criticising him.
He’s done it in a BBC exclusive interview, pissing off every other broadcaster and guaranteeing himself a rough ride.
In fact, I don’t think there’s anything right about the way he’s done this. Yet he’s supposed to be one of the greatest political strategists of our time. What’s gone wrong? Is the pressure of being PM taking his eye off the political ball? And if he makes this much mess of not having an election campaign, how will he manage the real thing in a couple of years’ time?