A Snap Election? Thank God.

Fit me up for a giggle jacket if you like, but I’m delighted they’ll be a General Election on June 8th. No, really, and not just because This Week will be bumped in the schedules. There’s more at stake than that.

British Politics has been listless and dysfunctional these past two years. Both main parties are in limbo, beholden to, perhaps held hostage by, predatory vested interests. They’re begging to be liberated and a march to the ballot box can do just that.

Theresa May, lumbered with David Cameron’s rizla paper majority, also inherited her predecessor’s nightmare. She heads a Conservative Party dominated by hardline Eurosceptics, monstering her premiership, wielding great influence on the back of last June’s referendum. If she deviates one degree from the course they’ve laid out, she faces mutiny, perhaps even the indignity of a backbench seat next to Michael Gove.

With two-years of negotiations set to begin in June, little wonder she’s opted to dare to believe the polls and open the door to tens of newly elected loyalists who’ll dilute that dangerous group and give her space to make a deal both she and liberal Britain are more comfortable with. A personal mandate, a desirable prerequisite for constitutional change of this magnitude, will put her authority beyond doubt at home and in Brussels, settle the matter as far as the electorate’s concerned, and may, pun intended, complicate separatist calculations in Edinburgh and Belfast.

May also has the chance to liberate her domestic agenda and junk Cameron’s cynical, never-to-be-implemented 2015 manifesto – bad fiction that’s made even modest reforms, like Phillip Hammond’s attempt at changing National Insurance contributions for the self-employed, impossible. If the government’s serious it needs a serious blueprint.

Meanwhile, for the remnants of the Labour Party, the election provides the unexpected, but surely welcome prospect of early release from the Corbynite death pact. There’s been no functional opposition these past two years; an inevitable consequence of having an opposition leader whom 81% of the PLP didn’t vote for and don’t support. The so-called moderates may not have an alternative of course, or any bold or radical vision for what the party should do going forward, but they can’t begin rebuilding (or rebranding) until Jeremy, the man who leapfrogged all meritocratic stages to take the top job, is put in his political grave. Defeat does not guarantee his resignation of course; Jeremy doesn’t respond to the same hints as past leaders, but a massacre for Labour would surely provide the impetus and excuse they need to focus and initiate change, even if that means a split. It may even lead to a realignment of the left with newly emboldened Liberal Democrats as partners.

Speaking of the Liberal Democrats, Election 2017 is the best thing to happen to Tim Farron since God appeared to him in a dream and told him to run for party leader. Much sooner than expected, and before a single hour of Brexit talks have taken place, the Yellow Peril have been gifted the chance to revive on the back of the very Pro-European sentiment they’ve always espoused. At long last they’re fashionable amongst a significantly large and angry portion of the electorate.

Brexit is the new Iraq for the Liberals, and it’s just possible that disillusioned Labour voters who’ve awoken to Jeremy Corbyn’s referendum betrayal, and even Europhile Tories, for they must still congregate somewhere, perhaps in the pubs they used to meet in to weep over IDS, will be tempted to boost Tim’s numbers and send a signal to Mrs May, the PM-presumptive, that a Hard Brexit is not the settled will of the people.

Finally, in Scotland, there’s now the faint hope that Unionists will seize their chance to pour cold Irn Bru on Nicola Sturgeon’s IndyRef 2 dream. Unlikely though it is, any significant erosion of the SNP’s strength at Westminster, especially to the Tories, emboldens the UK and signals the First Minister has misjudged the mood. Scottish voters have the opportunity, if not the will, to give Ruth Davidson a boost and undermine Nationalist sentiment. Coupled with a UK-wide mandate for Brexit (it really must be reflected in all parts of the country to have legitimacy), that just might be enough to forestall a break up, at least until politics recovers.

And that’s why this election can’t come soon enough. British politics needs a reset; the prospect of a parliament where the government can govern, the opposition can oppose, and something other than Brexit can be factored into the agenda and direction of both. It’s also vital the Tories have popular rather than implicit support going into a deal. The binary choice of the referendum was the first stage. We’ve now had a year of debate on the substance of Brexit and its impact. Granted, we haven’t got very far but at least the reality of Brexit and what it could mean has begun to be understood. It’s time we had our say on that, not to mention a chance to give our beleaguered and struggling opposition parties help to help themselves.

See you at the polls (assuming you live in the right part of my constituency).

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Published in: on April 18, 2017 at 13:56  Leave a Comment  
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