The PM’s TV appearance last night was not about making a live television pitch to the nation nor was it about putting off the election until the dead of next winter.
As a live television appearance it likely did not garner much of a direct audience. We live in a 70 channel (or more) television universe, not to mention such distractions as video games, the internet and the Ipod. What it did accomplish was generating frenzy on the part of the media – bold headlines this morning, the lead on all electronic newscasts, etc. This was the idea, and it succeeded. The Liberals were able effectively to deliver their message.
As for the message itself, the chances of the Liberals’ avoiding an election are slim to none. However, by firmly committing to an election post-Gomery the Prime Minister put himself unequivocally on the side of the majority in all the polls – for example, question 7 here, and here, and here – who don’t want an election now. It is a line he can replay during the inevitable spring election campaign.
And, in the end, an election will not likely be influenced by such considerations. So the gambit was a success, but of limited consequence.