Political Week Ahead: Blame It On The Weatherman - 29th April 2012

Political Week Ahead: Could It Be A Tory Washout In This Week's Elections?

Since much of the country is more obsessed with the weather than anything else at the moment, HuffPost has abandoned its usual weekly look-ahead in favour of a political weather forecast.

The outlook for the Department of Culture Media and Sport remains uncertain with squally showers continuing to blow in, although it's not clear whether or not a mini-tornado could suddenly pick up Jeremy Hunt and throw him out off his office.

A sudden revelation could easily cause him to resign, but what's more likely is that he'll be ground down by a relentless battering of hail from Labour, amid concerns that future policies in his department could be utterly undermined by the hot air that continues to waft in from the Leveson inquiry.

The decision for David Cameron - which he still hasn't really made - is whether to batten down the hatches or ditch his culture secretary. Complicating his decision is a calculation on whether getting rid of Hunt would just mean the pressure over cosying up to Murdoch will be focused on him alone.

Overall the outlook remains squally for everyone in British politics, and those affected by it. Although commentators have already dismissed it as a damp squib, a report by the Culture Media and Sport committee on phone hacking, published on Tuesday, could send temperatures soaring at the east London premises of News International - if they conclude that Parliament was misled by senior executives in previous evidence to the committee.

MPs' ultimate sanction is a call for contempt of Parliament proceedings to be brought, though that hasn't happened for hundreds of years and would be the political equivalent of a typhoon. However it's thought likely that the committee won't go that far, since it would potentially complicate the findings of Leveson and possibly the Metropolitan Police's own investigation.

While it will be largely blustery in national politics for the first part of the week, we certainly can expect a very cold front with accompanying gale-force winds sweeping into Tory and Lib-Dem areas this Thursday night, damaging gusts which could uproot hundreds of Tory councillors and bring down vital Lib Dem power lines.

It could take quite some time for Nick Clegg's followers to clean up after the storm, however these gales have been predicted for quite some time, and the emergency services at the parties' central offices have already issued a severe weather warning.

Unfortunately we're less confident in our forecast for the London area, where current projections suggest things could stay calm for the Tories - but the most recent modelling has shown an increasing likelihood of winds of change blowing through City Hall, potentially blowing Boris Johnson off his bike.

Funnily enough the London Mayoral election could easy be influenced by the real weather - where the forecast is just as unpredictable but is likely to be sunshine and showers. In a poll where an expected low turnout could throw the whole election either way, the ability of both Boris and Ken Livingstone to get their supporters to brave the rain could be crucial.

And there are other uncertainties for Labour - we're expecting a mixture of sunshine and showers across northern Britain, with the prospect of a washout in Glasgow where a Scottish National Party storm is brewing.

This raises the prospect of an area of high pressure developing directly over Ed Miliband's office on Friday morning, if Labour councillors on Glasgow City Council find themselves suddenly out in the rain.

The long-term forecast? Pack a brolly.


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