Gordon Brown, sitting in the Downing St bunker, contemplating the reception to his budget and attempting to generate a new image for his party as New, Old, Retro Labour, needs to look around to find the winning ticket for the next general election. As things stand at the moment, the prognostications are not looking good.
He needs something that will unite the country, drive the bad economic news out of the headlines and get the nation backing him. He needs a war! After all, it worked for Thatcher back in the early 80s. Down in the polls, recession biting and unemployment rising, the Argentinians gave her a hand up by invading a colony few people in the UK could place on a map. Since Brown is a bit of a Maggie fan, having had her round for tea at Downing St (whilst making sure the press were there to cover it), perhaps he could follow her example and have a war.
So, as luck would have it, Britain and the Argentinians are currently having a bit of a spat about where the boundary lies in the South Atlantic between Argentina and the Falklands. It's all about fishing rights and oil.
Brown would, no doubt, argue that a war would be a great boost to the economy (look at the 1930s!) The Conservatives could be painted as a "do nothing" party on the war. In typical new Labour style, they could have targets for shooting down enemy planes and capturing Argie soldiers. The war could be blamed on irresponsible bankers who lent rival fishing fleets unsustainable sums of capital to build new fishing fleets. And ministers could introduce a scrappage scheme for old British warships. They could argue the war will be over by Christmas and 2010 will see a year of strong growth in international relations.
Meanwhile Derek Draper could be drafted in to compile a dossier on the Argentinians with lots of unfounded smears on their leading fishing vessels (they can launch a fleet of trawlers in 45 minutes - and other stuff like that!)
Without a war, there ain't much left for Labour to give them hope of winning a general election. That's not to say they won't win, and it's certainly not saying the Conservatives will win. They do, after all, have to gain 130 seats and even with an 18% opinion poll lead, they are still a year away from the election and they still keep screwing up on the ground - two council byelection losses today for example, one to Lib Dems, one to Labour.
Mind you, last time Labour took the country to war, it was a disaster. So perhaps not such a good precedent after all!