Gordon Brown morose Laura Kuenssberg writes this afternoon on the BBC website that Gordon Brown is to announce Labour's four general election themes at an event this weekend in the West Midlands. They are:

  • Ensuring the economic recovery
  • Protecting frontline public services
  • Standing up for the many
  • Protecting future jobs

Labour's pledge cards always dealt with lists of five – do you think they ran out of ideas at four?

Meanwhile, there will doubtless be frenzied speculation in some quarters that the Prime Minister may be planning to call the election this weekend for the end of March. I am utterly unconvinced by such a suggestion and remain of the view that it will be May 6th, as I have thought it would be ever since Gordon Brown entered Downing Street.

Apart from the track record he has of bottling decisions in favour of waiting in the hope of something better coming along, there will be local elections on May 6th regardless of when the general election takes place. I simply cannot imagine him being allowed by those few around him whose counsel he respects, to put the Labour Party in the position where it most likely loses a general election and then its dwindling band of party activists are then expected to spend another month on the campaign trail – when the party has no money left to fight the local elections in any case. It would be political suicide and regardless of Brown's flawed judgments, I can't even see Mandelson letting him do it.

Jonathan Isaby