You MAY remember that I said that Daddy had had an idea about what Mr Frown might do about calling the election. Well, since Mr Frown has now CANCELLED the election, it is SAFE to tell you about it.
The thing that occurred to him was this: what if on Monday Mr Frown had announced that - in keeping with his new openness to democracy(!) - he was going to give Parliament a FREE VOTE on the motion of CALLING A GENERAL ELECTION.
There would have been NOTHING that we could do except vote FOR such a motion (the Conservatories too, for that matter) – given that the alternative would have been to look (a) hypocritical (since both Parties have been calling for one) and (b) cowardly (since Mr Vague had been busily calling Mr Frown exactly that).
Mr Frown could have, quite literally, forced us turkeys to vote for Christmas.
The benefits for Mr Frown - if he'd been going to call an election anyway, there was no chance of Parliament saying no. (And of course since he's decided against it, then he just does nothing.) He would have gotten to look like Mr Consensual and Mr Non-partisan again, ideal for the start of his big "father of the nation" campaign, and he makes us join his motion, so we look like little duckling following along in his wake. The media would have LOVED the AUDACITY of it, the whole CLEVERNESS and POWER of getting his own way with a HUGE yes vote in Parliament. He could have stood up and said "I have heard all this talk of an early election, and I am a listening Prime Monster. But it would be wrong for me to use the Royal Prerogative to my own advantage, so let us let Parliament decide." And it would be in keeping with his previously stated commitment to letting Parliament always have a vote before going to WAR too.
Disadvantages - well, it would have slightly bound the hands of his future self next time he wants to go to the country (assuming there ever will be a next time, i.e. that he wants to go though two elections rather than handing over to Mr Balls / Mr Millipede in five/six years.)
And it's exactly the sort of too-clever-by-half stunt that Mr Frown pulls all the time.
Calling for a General Election was therefore VERY NEARLY exactly the wrong thing to do. Even apart from the fact that there is no good constitutional reason to do it – in fact it's almost the exact opposite of the fixed term Parliament we are now MUCH MORE SENSIBLY demanding – we were not then and are barely now in a position to give a good showing. The reason that we DID do it was obviously to gain PUBLICITY. The Conservatories were pretty much BOUND to do it anyway, and by jumping in first we helped to DISTANCE ourselves a bit from the Labour while looking BOLDER that Mr Balloon. But publicity stunts are Mr Balloon's territory, and we don't gain so much if we also look OPPORTUNISTIC. It was a HIGHLY DANGEROUS bluff, that – just by chance and Mr Frown's general habit of backing off when things get tough – we managed to get away with.
On the other fluffy foot, my TOP LIBERAL DEMOCRAT CONTACTS have tipped me off that we WERE making plans just in case Mr Frown did something like this. So we're not ENTIRELY dim.