We were having a chat in the office yesterday morning about election timings. Two journalists had came back from separate meetings with politicians from different parties who had come to the same conclusion - game on for a March election.
The logic goes something like this - next year's Budget is too horrible for any chancellor to deliver just weeks from a May election. If a budget is presented without a cuts agenda (impossible) Britain could have its international credit rating down-graded from AAA, making all that debt more expensive to pay off and penning a suicide note for the Labour government.
Better then to have an election before a budget - which leaves the government open to charges of "hiding" their cuts plans but could be better than a bitter end strategy. Tomos Livingstone lays out the theory here and notes that there are good odds on a March poll.
Alistair Darling, who is in charge of the budget and the country this week, was talking this morning about how Labour will set out an "optimistic view of the future" in an effort to win the next General Election. Keep watching him to see if he buys a thick winter coat. That'll be a sure sign.