Posted by Chris:
There is a way that Gordon Brown could save face if he does decide not to call a snap General Election, and risk becoming the shortest serving PM, by agreeing that there should be a fixed term Parliament.
He saw the merit in handing over responsibility for setting interest rates to the Bank of England. This move, long advocated by the Liberal Democrats, distanced the Government from a lot of the flak associated raising interest rates.
Having a fixed term for Parliament will work in a similar way. It would put a stop to the endless speculation about the date of the election, by agreeing a date now for May or June 2009. It also would save him from the flak he will undoubtedly get which ever way he decides to go now.
If he calls a General Election now he will be accused of cynically using the system to suit his own party political interests. If he doesn't he will be accused of being a coward.