Written by Edward Langley
Watching Theresa May stand outside Downing Street to announce a general election, after vehemently denying she was going to call one for months, made me think of some sort of evil villain announcing their dastardly deeds to the world. By the time she’d torn into all other parties and institutions in her way including the ‘unelected’ House of Lords (lets not forget who else is still unelected) and as her hair became increasingly swept by the wind as if we’re being warned from above, her message was clear: only the Tories will provide ‘stability’. As if it is some sort of an obvious fact that the Tories have provided us stability over the past year, she called for the country to follow her deeper into the dark abyss of hell where unpleasant characters like Liam Fox and David Davis beckon for us to join their fiery dungeon. Maybe that’s a bit of an unfair description. Its an exaggeration, I accept that. But Liam Fox is still unpleasant.
Anyway, why is she calling this general election? Well lets start by picking apart what she actually said. May’s argument for making this U-turn stems mainly from Brexit, she claimed, since Britain needs a strong government in order to score the best possible deal: “Every vote for the Conservatives will make me stronger when I negotiate for Britain with the prime ministers, presidents and chancellors of the European Union.” Following from this she argued that “division in Westminster will risk our ability to make a success of Brexit.” So essentially, she needs to forge a stronger mandate to pursue the deal that’s in the best interests in the country. No, you’re right, it doesn’t add up.
First of all, let’s deal with that word ‘stability’ that keeps flying around. How on God’s green Earth does calling a snap election create any sort of stability, when a Scottish independence referendum had to be avoided at all costs because it would provide instability? And how in any way has May provided us with any sort of stability so far? She’s been tight-lipped on the details of her Brexit plan, suggesting she hasn’t even come to any stable decisions herself yet.
Then there’s the indication that although she’s only just announced her intentions for a snap election (the Commons haven’t even voted on whether to hold it yet), she’s already started the campaign by bashing all her opposition:
“In recent weeks Labour has threatened to vote against the final agreement we reach with the European Union. The Liberal Democrats have said they want to grind the business of government to a standstill. The Scottish National Party say they will vote against the legislation that formally repeals Britain’s membership of the European Union. And unelected members of the House of Lords have vowed to fight us every step of the way.”
Okay. But isn’t the main purpose of opposition parties to scrutinise the Government in the first place? Especially at a time when 48% of the country have not yet had any representation whatsoever of their interests? Even then, the House of Lords didn’t vote down the Article 50 bill, and Labour didn’t get to amend it in any way, yet still passed it. So May’s implication that the opposition is trying to somehow thwart the will of the people is fairly preposterous.
The closest May came to showing her true intentions arose from her mention of “political game-playing”. Accusing the opposition of playing dirty political tricks, she revealed how much of a hypocrite she is. Because we all know why she called this election. It’s not because she needs a stronger mandate, it’s nothing to do with unity or stability. It’s because she’s preying on Labour’s weak polling to try and eke out as many seats as she can, especially before the Tories inevitably sink in the polls as soon as the hard Brexit implications settle into the minds of the people. Like the vulture she is, she’s been waiting for her moment to pounce, and now is the best time. By 2020 the tides could have turned against her, but at the moment an election is hers for the taking. In fairness, any shrewd politician would have done the same thing. But let’s not pretend she’s calling this election for any other reason than to use it for her political advantage.