`TC President Bush cannot take advantage of sudden popularity from the Persian Gulf war to win re-election before the allotted time, November of next year, by which time the winds of fortune may have shifted. Prime Minister John Major of Britain, however, can do just that. He threw British force east of Suez for the first time in three decades, to the cheers of the British electorate. He went out to visit the British forces in Kuwait City, photographed atop a tank in casual sweater. He came into office a loser, and looks a winner.
When Conservative members of Parliament replaced Margaret Thatcher with Mr. Major last November, their party was hopelessly behind in the polls and almost certain to lose the election that must be called by June 1992. Inflation and recession were undoing Thatcher prosperity. Her strident anti-Europeanism made cabinet colleagues uncomfortable. Her revolution in local government taxation made the voters furious, provoking civil disobedience. Low-key Mr. Major was not widely expected to turn the mood around quickly.
The war helped him do that. Then he went to Germany to reverse Mrs. Thatcher's rhetoric and pronounce himself a good European. And now he has reversed what the British people call a "poll tax" and their officials a "community charge."