Remainers Should Show Cynical and Opportunistic May Their Convictions
Why now? There is no reason unless…
Nothing has changed in the last few weeks to justify a change of mind. There has been no defeat in parliament to act as a catalyst. The reasons Theresa May gave as she called for an election - she has a small majority and she faces opposition - could haved been given months ago.
There could be another reason. More cynical.
On Tuesday, the Crown Prosecution Service told Channel Four News that they were considering charges against 30 individuals over fraudulent election claims. By calling an election, May is getting out ahead of the issue. She avoids losing her majority or having to endure a series of by-elections as accused, or even convicted, MPs find their positions untenable. And it may be that in a new parliament the public interest in going ahead with prosecutions is lessened.
On the other hand, this could be the sign of a cautious prime minister who takes time to make up her mind. It could be that she has been uncertain about the polls and has only been persuaded that her lead is solid enough so that a general election becomes less risky.
May is being cynical - voters must go tactical on 8 June
By performing such a tyre-screeching u-turn on the fixed-term parliament law that the government in which she was a minister laid down just seven years ago, Theresa May has shown a degree of cynicism that few expected of her.
She must expect her opponents to take the gloves off in the upcoming 8 June election fight.
The decision to seek to overturn the law on five-year parliament is exactly what that law was meant to avoid - cynical appropriation of cyclical fortunes to secure personal political gain.
Having dismissed talk of a second referendum as an insult to the British people, she had done exactly that: setting up an unneeded general election to give her a mandate for the Brexit that was approved less than a year ago.
If voters are being asked to vote on Brexit, then that is exactly what they should do. Put aside party politics and vote or against candidates based on their policy on Brexit.
Labour voters in current and prospective Lib Dem constituencies should put their cross next to the yellow bird symbol and, for once, abandon the red rose in favour of the great good of an anti-Brexit majority.
Even Conservatives in safe Tory seats such as Maidenhead, the Prime Minister’s own, should stick to their Remain convictions, hold their nose and vote for Labour, which came second place in 2015.
Many voters wanted to be given the chance to vote again on Brexit. They have been given that chance and should use it wisely.
May Should Beware the Remain Backlash
Theresa May must be feeling fairly buoyant about her and the Conservative party’s prospects in the general election we now know will be happening in June. This was certainly a surprise and seems to have taken an already incompetent opposition totally off guard.
The Conservatives may be on 46% in the polls but they must realise that this general election will be seen (despite what they say to the contrary) as a second referendum on Brexit. The country is still tremendously divided and the Conservative party itself remains split, even with outward claims of solidarity.
It all largely depends on what appears in the Conservative Party manifesto. If there is a genuine attempt to reach out to the 48%, then we may see the country come together. If, as expected, this election is used an excuse to dictate a future “hard Brexit” then we could see serious electoral repercussions. Look out for shifts in remain areas in the South East, low turnouts of Brexit supporters and less than enthusiastic campaigning by pro-Remain Conservative MPs.
Any party, even this one, can exploit still open wounds to their own advantage. Opposition parties may take advantage to exploit the embarrassment over possible criminal activity in Tory party 2015 expenses, as well as justifiable claims of naked opportunism.
May in her speech argued that an election will stop divisions in Parliament (which means removing people who disagree with her) and that ‘the country is coming together’. I am not sure from where she is getting that impression.
Brexit Will Dominate, But It’s Still Tory versus Labour
This will be a general election to elect a Conservative or Labour government. The need for proportional representation is ever-present, but the two-party system is a reality.
UKIP has been torpedoed by the Tory embrace of Euroscepticism. The SNP will repeat their 2015 landslide in Scotland. Though anti-Brexit, it’s unlikely the Liberal Democrats will expand their handful of MPs enough to influence the balance of power.
Austerity marches on, yet since the EU referendum this seems to have been almost forgotten.
The NHS has spiralled into perpetual crisis, child poverty has risen and social care is collapsing. Legions of disabled people have been stripped of benefits. Education is disrupted by divisive reforms.
The positive reception for Jeremy Corbyn’s suggestions of free school meals, a £10 minimum wage and increasing the top rate of income tax, indicates that Labour can succeed with a socially-just vision. The rise of Jean-Luc Mélenchon in France signals the mainstream appeal of radical leftism in Europe.
Brexit will overshadow this election, but it shouldn’t define it. From this Corbyn and Labour have to carve their pitch to the nation in contrast to hard-line Tories empowered by Brexit. The best strategy they have with the odds so stacked against them.
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