There seems to be an assumption, that a fall election is very unlikely. This prediction is largely based on Conservative fortunes, down in the polls, no real apparent upside or realistic prospect of the coveted majority. Within this mindset, an almost after the fact analysis of the Liberal situation. Surely, the Liberals wouldn't consider an election, given what happened prior, given where they are in the poll, even entertaining the possibility sure madness. I would submit, contrary to conventional wisdom, the Liberals should seriously consider a fall election.
It always seems to come down to the polls. I believe there is much more to the equation, but on this score, the numbers are actually encouraging. If you isolate yourself to the Liberal support, then the idea of an election is somewhat laughable, but that is to narrow a view. The fact that this government sits well below their tally in the last two elections, closer to their 2004 LOSS to Martin, is a very powerful indicator that they are ripe for defeat. Some voters are clearly bypassing the Liberals, but that doesn't detract from the fact that there is no love in the land for Harper and company. The polls tell me, on a personal level Harper has never been less popular, as a party, the Conservatives show more vulnerability, than at any point since they came to office. Rather than a "where we are" exclusive consideration, one should be well aware of "where they are" and then decide if we can capitalize. At the very least, I don't see the polls as the great dissuader that some to, in fact I see opportunity.
Beyond the polls, I sense a real change on the narrative front. There are two storylines here, both of which work in the Liberals favour. Harper is getting hammered, the most negative narratives are cementing in a very coherent, easily understood way. At the same time, Ignatieff is gaining a certain measure of respect from the media class, as he completes an almost flawless tour, proving he is up to the challenge of a campaign. While the numbers have yet to show a seismic change, there is no question Ignatieff is better off today, than he was at the beginning of the summer. My political instincts see a certain momentum, that might serve us well when Parliament returns. Eliminate the self inflicted wound, internal divisions routine, and you might just keep the focus on the government and start to look the credible alternative.
Some Liberals are waiting for that day when the Liberals are well ahead in the polls and victory looks almost assured. I would argue, that day may never come UNTIL we have a campaign, unless of course people are prepared to wait for a couple more years, even that offering zero guarantees of anything. A campaign offers the Liberals the best high profile opportunity to bring the soft support back into the fold. Should we wait until the budget, we might be surprised when the government announces the deficit fight is ahead of schedule, a relative "good news" feel, the Conservatives look competent. No one should assume the future is always brighter, timing is everything and this moment has many attractive attributes.
I think it's "go time". I would very quietly and cautiously move in that direction come the return of Parliament.