Political commentators and opposition parties have wrung their hands in angst and outrage this week, vilifying the Prime Minister for ‘political opportunism’. Well, there’s a surprise. Someone at the top of government indulging in opportunism!
I’m afraid I can’t get too carried away by Theresa May’s apparent U-Turn. I have predicted for sometime now that she would call a General Election long before the 2020 date that had been set by a piece of legislation introduced by the previous coalition government. Not to wish to sound like too much of a know-it-all, but I have also said on more than one occasion that the fixed term parliament rule wasn’t worth the paper it was written on. So, it proved.
The question shouldn’t be why May has called an early poll. The question is why wouldn’t she? Look at the evidence the PM was considering as she walked through the hills of Wales with her hubby over Easter, and then tell me, hand on heart, that in her position, you wouldn’t have done the exact same thing.
- The polls at the weekend. A 21- point advantage over the official opposition, with a likely majority of over 100 seats beckoning post June 8th.
- The Crown Prosecution Service and the police have confirmed that they are considering taking action against up to thirty Tory MPs over allegations of electoral fraud. This would wipe out her 16-seat majority in one fell swoop.
- Labour may not be in turmoil forever. What if the Unite Union de-selects hard-left Lenny McCluskey, replaces him with the moderate Gerard Coyne, who, in turn, supports a more credible personality to lead the Labour Party?
- Let’s face it, negotiations aren’t going well are they? The single market will be gone. Immigration, according to the government’s own figures, brings net gain to the UK economy. The Customs Union will be a goner too; and post Brexit, inflation will be on the rise.
- She is fed up with her own loonies. Don’t underestimate the challenges Theresa May faces on a daily basis trying to keep the likes of Bill Cash, Iain Duncan Smith, and John Redwood happy. Having to negotiate with the swivel-eyed brigade of her own parliamentary party to get anything done can’t be much fun. May doesn’t strike me as someone who would tolerate her ‘bastards’ in the way that John Major was forced to do in his 1992-1997 administration. A big majority will enable her to govern without reference to her overly influential backwoodsmen.
Of course, she will face cries of ‘liar’ for a week or maybe even seven. However, given that the country has the choice of a woman who has broken her word and a man who most believe would break the country, she knows that this is of little consequence. With Jeremy Corbyn and Tim Farron as her main protagonist’s I would go as far as to say that Theresa May could run up and down Downing Street naked shouting ‘Chelsea for the Cup’ and still win this one by a landslide.