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Tories to call a snap election in May?

Tom Watson is speculating on Labour Uncut that the Conservatives are preparing to call a snap general election in May. He quotes a “well-placed conservative insider”.

Further more the source told Watson that Andy Coulson, David Cameron’s phone hack implicated PR chief, is toast and will depart on January 25.

The logic for the snap election is simple: Cameron wants the glory and the Liberal Democrats are damaged and deeply divided goods.

I immediately dismissed the idea of an early election, but it has gnawed at me since. And the more I think about it, the more I think the logic is impeccable. It was Peter Oborne’s brilliantly incisive new year’s eve column that firmed up my thinking.

Here’s the rationale within the Cameron camp:

The Lib Dems are so damaged, they’re an unreliable partner. Clegg is in the trough of despond, providing little, if any, leadership to his troops and getting increasingly paranoid about Conservative ministers making announcements without clearing it with him. It’s getting to the point where they cannot be relied upon as the “majority” in the chamber.

Next Left has posted a speedy response, doubting whether there is any chance that Cameron will call an early election.

Many, of course, will likely be of a similar opinion, probably rightly so, wondering whether Cameron could possibly hope to increase his majority in the face of such unpopular cuts.

There are many other questions that spring to mind as well, but two that strike me is 1) what will happen to the Lib Dem vote. Their share of the vote is in free fall. Would supporters part like the red sea and head for either Tory or Labour instead?

And 2) what of Ed Miliband who has been unimpressive after more than 100 days as Labour leader. At the moment while Labour will attract fresh support from disaffected Lib Dems Miliband does not seem likely to inspire in the way that Tony Blair once did and win that middle ground that Labour needs to make a breakthrough.