WI: Snap UK General Election in November 2007

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by bobby501, Oct 5, 2017.

  1. bobby501 Well-Known Member

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    What if Gordon Brown had risked it and called the election that was widely speculated?

    Given the experiences of this current year, it's very tempting to say that Labour would have lost their overall majority and Brown's (an uncharismatic and stiff figure in front of the media) authority would have been diminished just months into his premiership. Cameron wasn't all that popular at that time, but he also wasn't that well-known. He may very well have 'surged' during the campaign. The Lib Dems may well have suffered an horrific result too.

    Another interesting factor would have been Scotland. This election would have been in the immediate aftermath of the SNP coming to power for the first time - if they had made sufficient gains, would we have seen IndyRef by the end of that decade?
     
  2. Thoresby Well-Known Member

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    Scottish labour under Brown remained dominant at Westminster and anyway indyref is more about Hollyrood than anything else. Brown would probably have got a sharply reduced majority which would have crippled his authority. Cameron meanwhile would be secure having delivered significant gains and would get another go. The ongoing financial crisis would cripple Labour which combined with inevitable rebellions due to a tight majority would see them had into 2012 way behind and the Tories would thump them and get a comfortable majority (40+). Though no Coalition means the Lib Dems would still be a force and would probably have 60 so MP's
     
  3. Wimble Toot Theresa May: You For Cough.

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    It's a big gamble, just for two additional years in No 10. Brown/Labour was polling above Cameron/Tories. It was the backlash from the banking collapse that did for his reputation.

    If there was a snap election, and Brown edged it and was re-elected, the Tories would be looking for their fifth leader in a decade.

    Tory leaders who lose GEs are expected to fall on their sword. Brown could be facing Osborne or Johnson in 2012.

    Could Britain face an Olympics and a GE in the same year?
     
  4. JDrakeify Well-Known Member

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    Brown's reputation was really destroyed by his failure to call an election. I think his handling of the financial crisis was less of a factor, because he did actually handle it pretty well, and few people, even now, fault his immediate response. Either way, he goes into this election with his reputation in tact, though I think, like May, his total lack of charisma would shine through and hurt Labour badly, and weaken his authority, though at worst the result is going to be a Labour minority dependent on Lib Dem support, given how ridiculously favourable the boundaries were back then for Labour.
    Only if the result was a decent Labour majority. If they got back in either with a slim majority or as a minority, but lost the popular vote to the Tories, then I think many Tories would blame unfair seat boundaries, rather than Cameron, who would emerge as the stronger leader from the election. The Tories have a history of deposing leaders, but they have never been in a situation like this one. With Brown severely weakened and the wind in their sails, they'd probably keep Cameron on.
    I don't think they would be the main candidates. If Cameron were ousted, Osborne would be too tarred with the same brush, and Boris hadn't even made the shadow cabinet, he was more well known as a TV personality than an MP at this point. The contenders at this point would probably be Hague (again) Davis, and Fox.
     
  5. Wimble Toot Theresa May: You For Cough.

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    Iain Duncan Smith didn't even make it to a General Election before the Tories got rid of him.

    Hague? Hague!!? Even the stupid party isn't that stupid
     
  6. JDrakeify Well-Known Member

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    Yes, because he wasn't performing well. As I said, this situation is totally different. Cameron would have faced an election, and come out of it with probably over fifty gains, and possibly having won the popular vote too. That's a far better performance than people had expected out of IDS when he was ousted.
    In my experience he has been a fairly common suggestion in AH for Tory leaders to replace Cameron at this time. He certainly had certainly built up a lot of respect in the years since he left the leadership. There is a reason why it is often said he was a great Tory leader whose moment came too early.
     
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  7. Pericles Well-Known Member

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    If Cameron managed to make gains for the Tories but only lost narrowly, especially since the LibDems would likely lose a lot of seats under Campbell, he could be given a second chance and hang on until 2012.
     
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  8. John Farson The Good Man

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    Hung parliament, Brown forced to bribe the SDLP and/or Plaid Cymru, disastrous speech by Brown at the next Labour Party conference involving comedians, a persistant cough and the stage falling apart.
     
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  9. Pericles Well-Known Member

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    If there's a hung parliament, maybe Brown's Foreign Secretary will get to stage a successful coup against him and become PM.
     
  10. Garrison Well-Known Member

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    Thing is at the time Cameron was seen as something of a Tony Blair MarkII and I think that would have counted against him in a GE. There really is no comparison with what happened with Theresa May, Cameron did not have the disrupting effect of Jeremy Corbyn.
     
  11. Masteroftheuniverse Liberal Elitist

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    Cameron would almost certainly have stayed on unless he actually lost seats or made gains in the single figures. His leadership was regarded as a two term project before the recession. In the unlikely event that he does get removed, Liam Fox is the most likely replacement.
     
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  12. The Red A virulent, ignorant bigot

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    The thing is that the Labour majoritys in most central belt seats were so huge that it would require an unrealistically large swing before they start making serious gains. The SNP have a decent shot at Ochil and South Perthshire but after that Labour are pretty safe.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2017
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  13. JDrakeify Well-Known Member

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    No, because the SNP have used the Scottish elections to get a mandate for independence referendums. They wouldn't win a majority of seats in Scotland for Westminster with Brown around anyway, since he was actually able to increase his party's share north of the border in 2010. Finally, an IndyRef is something that it far too big to be given away in return for support in the Commons, and any party that did so would face a PR disaster south of the border, so that route is most likely closed off too.
     
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  14. GeorgeUK Nemo me impune lacessit

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    Unlikely. Cameron was elected with the election after the next one in mind.
     
  15. Wimble Toot Theresa May: You For Cough.

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    What's plausible to AH readers often bears no relation to political reality. Cite me a single example where the Conservative party have re-elected a candidate that had ALREADY be rejected by the electorate at a General Election. Just one.

    If Cameron did not win the Nov 2007 General Election and did not resign, the Tory press would crucify him and he would face a leadership challenge almost immediately.

    No-one in the Tory party liked him very much, beyond his own clique of 'modernisers'
     
  16. Ivir Baggins You Must Be This Politibrit To Enter

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    Ted Heath.
     
  17. Wimble Toot Theresa May: You For Cough.

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    Wrong. Heath remained leader after losing the 1966 General Election, but was elected leader of the Tories only once.

    The Tories would not choose Hague to lead them again, after his humiliating 2001 defeat.

    You only get one chance to resign from the leadership of the Conservative Party.

    I think it was only desperation among the Tories that ensured he had a ministerial career after 2001
     
  18. JDrakeify Well-Known Member

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    Just because it hasn't happened before doesn't mean it will never happen. Precedents are there to be broken. Bill English lost the NZ election only a year after Hague left as Tory leader, and now he is their Prime Minister.
    Why? The guy has just picked up a large number of seats against expectations, and Brown would be badly wounded. The Tories might have ousted their other leaders in this time period, but they didn't perform nearly as well. The situation is unprecedented in Tory history (though we know what happened to Corbyn), and its fairly obvious that the reaction to someone gaining sixty or seventy seats two years into a parliament is going to be rather different than someone who gained just one seat after four years.
     
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  19. Machiavelli Jr Member

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    I think Cameron managing after less than two years to practically wipe out Labour's majority (which would mean winning the popular vote handily) would be enough - he didn't do much more than that given a much stronger position and three more years. He needs substantial gains from what was still a poor result for Howard, but "one more heave" would be a strong enough position I think. If he then doesn't win in 2011-12 he will be remembered as a historically terrible leader, mind, and he will certainly spend those five years worrying about a leadership challenge from the Right and/or major defections to UKIP.

    Such a result would also put the Lib Dems in an easy position to ally with the Tories on the grounds that they were robbed by the electoral system - is there any chance this gets the Tories to budge on electoral reform (other than a boundary review)?

    I think the 2007 result would have been a slim but viable Labour majority, but Brown would be seen to have won on 'economic competence' and 'an end to boom and bust' that the crash would have finished him off completely, he would have had even worse problems than OTL with internal challengers.
     
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  20. Wimble Toot Theresa May: You For Cough.

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    Has he?

    According to whom?

    This is the same David Cameron that couldn't win a majority in 2010, yes?

    Michael Howard regained 33 seats on 5 May 2005, and resigned on the 6 May 2005.