Summertime. And the living is easy

Mortgage rates lowest since 1971: Retail sales rise for eighth month: House prices on the increase; Annual domestic gas bills cut by pounds 8: It was the hottest day of the year: Indians routed by England
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The Independent Online
Yesterday was one of those rare days when the good news seemed to come tumbling out faster than the bad.

It was the hottest day of the year, with temperatures nudging 30C (86F). Indeed, London put the likes of Bermuda, Rio de Janeiro, Los Angeles and the Bahamas firmly in the shade. On the pitch at Edgbaston, England's cricketers bowled India out in a display which could only be described as lively - not the sort of adjective usually applied. Meanwhile, Terry Venables and the England football team were at last able to focus on preparations for Euro 96, rather than in-flight entertainment - and Kenneth Clarke cut interest rates.

Politicians pray for such conditions. And it is for more of thesame that Conservative strategists will be hoping as they plot the date of the general election. In fact, before making a decision, the suits at Central Office could do worse than take a seat in front of the box, and tune into the Euro 96 championships.

For many, Harold Wilson's stunning success in the 1966 election will always be associated with England's World Cup victory. Conversely, in 1970, Wilson received a drubbing at the hands of Ted Heath just days after England squandered a two-goal lead in the Mexico World Cup and lost to West Germany.

Were these events connected? Perhaps. As one senior Government source told the Independent: "If England win Euro 96 then we'd call the election immediately."

A long, fine summer could leave the nation feeling better about itself, water shortages allowing, before an autumn poll. Whatever happens, it is beginning to feel rosier than 1991. Just before the last election, a restaurant in Battersea, south-west London, was trying to entice diners inside with a "recession menu".

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