Campaign Shorts: a Dramatic Start to the Official Campaign

Has the Campaign Had its Defining Moment?

It seems an age ago that Theresa May stood in Downing Street and told a stunned Westminster that she was calling for a general election. The General Election campaign seems to have gone on an eternity already. However, it was only on Thursday that Parliament was dissolved. As the Prime Minister berated Brussels, that was the official moment the real campaign started.

British election campaigns are, at three to four week, generall pretty short. The last time a campaign was so long was in 1997 when John Major was pushing the election date as back as hecould in the hope of maximising voter satisfaction with the economic recovery.

Those with longish memories may remember that Major’s early dissolution had prevented the publication of a report into cash-for-questions affair. Cynics might wonder whether May’s rush to the polls was from an equal fear, as the CPS mulls police investigations of alleged voter fraud from the 2015 campaign.

The trouble for observers is that campaigns rarely change anything. Labour enthusiasts may see slights rises in the party’s poll ratings as evidence of a change in fortune. They might be right. It is unlikely though. 

This promises to be a boring campaign. The most we can hope for is that Diane Abbot continues to give interviews. Theresa May is determined to run a disciplined campaign and avoid potential gaffs. The trouble with criticism of this is that David Cameron was criticised for running a boring campaign - he won it though. The Tories election machine has rarely been more professional, while Labour has rarely been weaker.

Most of all, every election has a defining moment. In 2001, Sharon Storer berated Tony Blair over the NHS: it seemed to sum up voters frustration that publics ervices were not improving quickly enough.

May will be hoping that her statement on Wednesday was 2017’s defining moment. But who knows?

@grakirby

May Has Revealed an Unsettling Authoritarian Streak

When a Prime Minister on the campaign trail visits a factory but fills it with party faithful and keeps journalists locked in a separate room, it’s an unconvincing imitation of democracy. Yet that’s what Theresa May did this week. She chickened out of televised debates, claiming she wanted to speak directly to people, but now she’s even chickening out of that.

It confirms May’s inability to handle unscripted moments. She’s excellent at monologues but weak at dialogue – any critical question, or encounter with a regular John or Jane Smith, clearly spooks her. In her few interviews she dances around questions, asking to be judged by her record without ever stating what’s so good about that record.

Her avoidance of public and press alike confirms something more troubling, though. May called the election because opposition MPs were allegedly blocking Brexit; initially, she didn’t want them voting on Article 50 at all. By seeking to stifle MPs, rather than recognising them as democratically-elected officials whose job is to challenge her and represent the wide spectrum of views on Brexit, May - who recently uttered “every vote for the Conservatives will make me stronger” - is revealing her profound aversion to dissent.

We’ll never get a Turkey-style referendum giving May sweeping powers. This election alone, however, has been enough to reveal in her an unsettling authoritarian streak.

@HarryMason19

Enjoyed this article?

Help us to fund independent journalism instead of buying:

Also in Disclaimer

The Week on Planet Trump: Tweeter-in-Chief Threatens Iran with War and America with Government Shutdown

President Donald Trump late Sunday threatened Iran in a tweet, warning Iranian President Hassan Rouhani of “consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before.” Just another week in Washington. Duisclaimer rounds up Trump's week.

Tweeting Checking: Is Jeremy Corbyn Labour’s first Black Leader?

Claims that Jeremy Corbyn was the first black leader of the Labour party were pretty daft. They were not alone. Harris Coverlet looks at some of dumb Twitter.

Dark Star, A Triumph for Those Who Like Detectives Haunted and Noir Coal Black

Oliver Langmead's Dark Star is published by Unsung stories, a fiction imprint of London-based independent press Red Squirrel Publishing, Unsung Stories are publishers of literary and ambitious speculative fiction that defies expectation and seek to publish unforgettable stories, from the varied worlds of genre fiction – science-fiction, fantasy, horror, and all the areas in-between.

Tweet Checking: The Grotesque Left That Thinks Albert Speer Had More Integrity than Tony Blair

Harry Leslie Smith thinks that Albert Speer had more integrity than Tony Blair. You donot have to be a Blairite or supporter of the Iraq War to see this as insane: the left promoting a Nazi. Diusclaimer looks at some of the worst of Twitter.

Don’t Look Now: Britain is Not the Only Nation Facing Economic Turmoil

Anyone living in Britain could be forgiven for assuming that the only real and important economic crisis is the one facing the UK in the form of a hard Brexit. It is certainly true that this country is close to committing an historic act of economic self-harm. But other countries are facing stiff headwinds — and it is only British exceptionalism that makes the media and commentariat focus so totally on it.