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Last Updated: Friday, 2 November 2007, 17:33 GMT
Martha Kearney's week
By Martha Kearney
Presenter, BBC Radio 4's The World at One

David Cameron
'Prime Minister Cameron' might have been starting work

At the end of this week, I might have been analysing David Cameron's new Cabinet, speculating about Gordon Brown's electoral pact with the Lib Dems or writing about Tory plots to unseat their leader after a fourth Labour outright victory.

If Gordon Brown had decided to go ahead with the election.

This week we would have gone to the polls had Mr Brown not wavered.

On Thursday, Iain Watson reported for us on the election that never was and the repercussions which are still being felt.

Ipsos Mori polling shows that satisfaction ratings for Gordon Brown have plummeted while those for David Cameron have risen.

'Brown mistake'

Labour MP Karen Buck told Iain that the decision not to hold an election had been destabilising. She had had leaflets printed.

Gordon Brown now needed to articulate a vision for the future, she felt.

I interviewed Tony Giddens, the Labour peer and architect of the Third Way about this.

He agreed that Brown had shot himself in the foot over the election and while the injury wasn't fatal, he needed to set out a clearer direction.

Whatever the ramifications of the education policy, it is the issue of immigration which is causing the government the most grief this week

It had been a mistake to follow the Tory proposal on inheritance tax.

The Cabinet minister and Brown ally Ruth Kelly came on to defend her leader, arguing that he had two serious speeches that week on liberty and education.

Education targets

That speech on schools provoked controversy earlier in the week.

The PM threatened schools with closure if they failed to achieve the target of 30 per cent getting a good grade in 5 GCSEs including English and Maths.

The NUT and a successful head in a deprived area told us that the target was too crude and top down.

It should be reflecting a school's intake.

But the education minister Lord Adonis maintained that schools would get lots of help and that many in poor areas did get good results.

Foreign workers

Whatever the ramifications of the education policy, it is the issue of immigration which is causing the government the most grief this week.

There was the apology over getting the number of foreign workers wrong, then the row over how many new jobs they were taking.

This is all difficult for the government not just because feelings run high on the issue but also because it damages the government's reputation for competence, which should be one of Brown's trump cards.

A lot will be resting on next week's Queen's speech.


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