by RAY FLEMING

WILL Gordon Brown call an election when he gets back from his travels? The thought crossed my mind when I saw pictures of him sitting next to David Beckham and listening to Boris Johnson's speech at the British Games party in Beijing. I don't think I have ever seen the prime minister looking so relaxed and he was clearly enjoying Boris' speech about “bringing ping pong home to London”.

Why not? The mood has lifted in Britain as a result of the fine achievements of our athletes and the prospect that the 2012 Games might produce even better results. After all, Harold Wilson always said that he won the 1966 election on the back of England's victory in the World Cup. Another straw in the wind was Mr Brown's speech in Beijing at which he summarily ditched New Labour's belief that sports competition in school is unfair on those who don't win and may give them a complex for life. He commended Shanaze Reade, the BMX cyclist who crashed out of her event on the last bend as she bid for victory: “She went full-throttle for the gold,” Mr Brown said, “That's the sort of spirit we want to see in our schools, not the medals-for-all culture we have seen in past years. That was a tragic mistake. The competitive spirit is essential.” That's all good stuff for an election manifesto and if Mr Brown can use the sporting metaphor to address some of his other problems I would not rule out a landslide victory. Go, Gordon, go!

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