Election fever jolts poll hopes

OVER the last few days election fever has really been whipped up at the Labour conference - and I'm now beginning to think that Gordon might go for a quick campaign and a poll at the end of next month.

OVER the last few days election fever has really been whipped up at the Labour conference - and I'm now beginning to think that Gordon might go for a quick campaign and a poll at the end of next month.

I had always expected to go to the polls in June 2009 - with a general election on the same day as local and European votes.

But over the last few weeks I've felt if the polls keep on telling the same good story for Mr Brown he might go in May next year.

I still think that is the most likely option.

Labour won a comfortable majority in May 2005. There is no danger of it being defeated by the opposition on crucial votes.

And when people voted Labour in 2005 they knew that Gordon Brown was going to take over from Tony Blair at some stage.

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So it is not right that the current prime minister needs a mandate - he effectively already has it.

The only real reason for going to the country now is that he thinks this is as good as it gets - that over the next few months there are likely to be so many problems in the country that it will be more difficult to win an election in the future.

Of course the prospect of crushing David Cameron, the most competent leader the Tories have had since Mrs Thatcher, must also be an attraction.

But I know one group of Labour members who must be secretly hoping that Mr Brown doesn't go for this autumn - those running the party in Ipswich.

They want the general election to be held next May, held on the same day as an all-out election for the new unitary council.

They know that if Labour gets its vote out in the town, then it will end up with a clear majority on the borough council.

Leading Tories like deputy leader John Carnell and leisure spokeswoman Judy Terry would lose their seats - and they should also see the back of many Liberal Democrats including new group leader Andrew Cann.

But to really get its vote out, it needs the general election to be held on the same day. Look at the results from 2005. In that year Labour won 10 out of 13 county council seats in the borough, the LibDems won two and the Tories just one.

The year before and after the Tories were clear winners in the town - but Labour knows when the chips are down it can get its voters out.

If there is a general election soon, then by next May a victorious Labour government could be back in the doldrums.

It will be the start of the parliament and the government won't feel it needs to worry about keeping voters too happy.

Labour voters might well be suffering from voting fatigue by then - while the Tories and LibDems will be keen to register a protest. The Tory/Liberal coalition could sail merrily on into the era of unitary government.

HERE'S the ultimate green dilemma! We've been sent details of a green exhibition and fun day coming up at the weekend.

It looks very interesting and my family is tempted to go.

The only thing is, the event is deep in rural Norfolk, on Sunday. We can realistically only get to Gressenhall, near Dereham, by car - putting greenhouse gases into the environment.

There is a special bus service from Norwich - but the prospect of travelling by train, walking across the city and then getting on a bus is so unappealing that we'll dismiss that!

So if the weather's fine then we'll take a guilt-filled trip in our diesel car. If it's wet then we'll sit at home thinking how environmentally sound we've been!

BURNING residual waste to create enough electricity to power Ipswich sounds like a very good environmental option to me - so long as the filters work and the stuff that comes out of the chimney is as harmless as the council claims.

But I wouldn't want the plant at the bottom of my garden! And I suspect that those of us who live in Ipswich will be fairly safe from that prospect.

The council says any site would need good road access - ideally from a dual carriageway - and ideally be near a rail line.

If you look at the map that means sandwiching the plant between the A14 and the Ipswich-Cambridge rail line.

It could mean the plant being built at Great Blakenham where the Masons' Tip is already a blot on the landscape.

But I can't help feeling this isn't really central enough for the rest of the county - and it is too near Ipswich.

I can't help wondering if the site they will eventually opt for is at Saxham, just west of Bury where there is already quite a large industrial estate between the main road and the rail line.

If I owned land there I might start rubbing my hands!