Theresa May always said she would not call a snap general election before 2020, but when you are Prime Minister and face the possibility of increasing your majority from 17 seats to possibly over 100 it is well worth the ridicule of saying you have “recently and reluctantly” changed your mind.
This is a well calculated risk from Theresa May, I mean let’s face it, it’s not like the average voter is going to say: “Hang on a second you promised not to call an early election; I’ll punish you by voting for Jeremy Corbyn instead.”
Jeremy Corbyn is facing extinction according to all current polls, Labour will be losing seats and Corbyn will be losing his leadership. He is even helping Theresa May sign his resignation by announcing that Labour MP’s would provide the two-thirds majority needed under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act to move the date of the next vote forward from May 2020. Maybe somewhere in his mind Corbyn feels like he stand against May and maybe even win himself the job of Prime Minister, if that’s the case I’d like whatever he’s on please.
For May every argument is pushing strongly for an election, if she is able to get the huge majority some polls are predicting then she will have a strong personal mandate, and significant authority in the rapidly looming Brexit negotiations.
One recent poll suggested that the Conservatives are currently enjoying a 21-point lead over Labour, the last time a Tory government was that far ahead was back 1983 when Margaret Thatcher won herself a 144 seat majority. And let’s face it there are a number of reasons to think Labour are in an even weaker position this time around.
Even Labour MP’s are unable to come up with valid reasons why the electorate should vote for Jeremy Corbyn, though that’s not entirely surprising considering many of them fiercely opposed his appointment as leader. Neil Coyle, the Labour MP for Bermondsey & Old Southwark, once supported Corbyn before calling for his resignation could only come up with the rallying cry of: “Any Labour prime minister is better than any Conservative prime minister.” Not exactly going to win over undecided voters there are you Coyle?
May’s primary reason for call an early election is undoubtedly the upcoming Brexit negotiations. If she is able to win herself a large majority then this will certainly help her in talks with fellow European leaders. All the current talk about a possible ‘no deal’ and the UK having to walk away from the union with no trading deals are no doubt causing a bit of anxiety in the cabinet room. The truth is we have no idea what’s going to happen over the coming two years. If you have the chance now to increase your majority then, why wouldn’t you?
The temptation for May to reverse her position was therefore entirely understandable, not to mention it’s a lesson well learnt from her predecessors. Gordon Brown would have been able to win his own general election if only he’d cashed in on the positive public opinion he enjoyed back in 2007. Yet the former Chancellor wavered on the idea of an election for weeks and never managed to find the courage to pull the trigger.
Theresa May has turned out to be better at reading the public mood and better at being Prime Minister than a lot of people gave her credit for when she first rose to the role. In one fell swoop she will increase her parties power, cripple the opposition and sign Jeremy Corbyn’s resignation whether he likes it or not.
The only question that remains is who will rise to the occasion to stop this country becoming a one party state?