Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Racing Card

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Racing Card

Article excerpt

WHELAN, CHARLIE

The Bet: When will the next general ejection be held?

Just as we eagerly await the sound of the first cuckoo of spring, mediawatchers eagerly await the first prediction of the date of the next general election. This time round, we have not even had to wait until the third year of office.

On 12 March, the political editor of the Mail on Sunday, Simon Walters, splashed the paper with the prediction that the next election will be held on 3 May 2001. And how did he know this? Because the junior foreign minister Keith Vaz had let it slip while in America. I don't want to be rude about Vaz, who is a very nice man (so nice that I shared a few drinks with him before the Worthington Cup Final), but even he would admit that he would be the last person Blair would think of telling about his election plans.

Not to be outdone by the Mail on Sunday, the Guardian joined in the fun the very next day with a front-page story by its political editor, Michael White, who must have predicted wrongly more election dates than most. …

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