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Last Updated: Friday, 28 September 2007, 08:55 GMT 09:55 UK
Will he - won't he?
Jon Sopel
Jon Sopel
Presenter
The Politics Show

Gordon Brown
A man with a big decision to make...

When all is said and done, that was the only real question under discussion in Bournemouth.

Those who live in countries where there are fixed terms for a president or a parliament, are utterly bewildered by the idea that the prime-minister, once he's elected, can call an election any time he chooses.

But what a lonely, burdensome decision.

Sure there are advisers, wise owls, political soothsayers - and I dare say the odd long term meteorologist looking at what the weather prospects are for the first or second Thursday in November - but ultimately it's Gordon's call.

So how does opinion split among the aforementioned savants?

Well broadly speaking by age.

The young cannot see a good reason not to go now: the polls are buoyant, GB's personal ratings sky high, women voters seem to have shifted, the marginals are looking good - and to rewrite Labour's anthem of 1997, they say "things can only get worse".

Compelling huh?

On the other hand...

But the counter argument is equally engaging.

Edward Heath
Edward Heath, the surprise at the door of No 10

The old hands ask are the polls really stable? - after all, it wasn't that long ago that Cameron was ahead.

Look at 1970, they say, when Labour were 14 points ahead, weeks before polling day, only to see Ted Heath walk through the doors of Downing Street.

And they wonder whether the British people will thank them for calling an election that isn't strictly necessary.

While the PM makes up his mind, and the Queen waits by her phone, we'll be focusing on the Conservatives as they gather in Blackpool for their annual conference.

The party enjoyed good results in the English local elections this year, but since then things have looked far more difficult.

Mr Cameron has challenged Gordon Brown to call a general election, and his party say it has money, candidates and a draft manifesto. But are they really ready?

David Cameron and William Hague
Cameron and Hague - ready for a campaign?

Gillian Hargreaves has been to the key electoral battleground of Bolton to test morale in Tory ranks, and I'll talk live to the party's Foreign Secretary, William Hague.

Belgium, yes Belgium...

Alex Salmond
What similarities will Alex Salmond see between Scotland and Belgium?

Now here's a fascinating story that might have passed you by.

The political situation in Belgium.

No it is fascinating, I promise.

Ever since their general election three months ago, the country has been without a government.

And there are even suggestions the country could break apart, with Dutch-speaking Flanders and French-speaking Wallonia parting company.

Paola Buonadonna will investigate the strange world of Belgium politics.

And among those keeping a very beady eye on the Belgium situation is Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond.

I'll ask him whether Belgium is a blueprint for Scotland.

That's all on the Politics Show this Sunday - a little later than normal at 13.35 - following the coverage of the Great North Run...

In his Autumn Political Cartoon Gallery, Gary Barker gives his own personal take on the politics of the week...



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