Ariontheweb loves swimming against the tide, and it's time to do it again. The commentariat have decided that August 7 is the poll date (The Arab Times have even employed a psychic to write headlines about it), and that we should gear up for an announcement in the first couple of days of July. Here's why they're wrong:
1. Howard's best chance is to give himself as much time as possible to expose and reinforce the flaws in Latham's character. The longer he waits, the more likely there will be Latham gaffes and the more chance there is for dirt to be flung and stick. Howard loves a good mudwrestle.
2. The US election is not until the first week of November, and any tricks that Bush has up his sleeve will came out late ("We're all going on Osama holiday..."). If Howard goes early, he will miss out on the massive boost that this will provide.
3. Howard has said in the past he thinks three years between elections is short enough as it is, and that governments should sit for a full term. And Howard would hate to be a hypocrite.
4. The Senate cycle will become unhealthily out of sync. Regardless of the date, the Senators elected at the next election will not take office until 1 July, 2005. With an early election, there would be an 11 month gap between election and taking office. This means that there will almost certainly be a Senate-only election in the next couple of years.
5. August 7 is Bledisloe Cup night. Nuff said.