Theresa May’s ruling Brexit Party today called a general election for 8 June. This is three years early. So why?
May, elected by no one but some voters in Maidenhead, isn’t seeking a personal mandate for the post she inherited. She isn’t responding to a clear public appetite for more votes – quite the contrary. Nor is she observing the normal rules of political purdah that ought to obtain in the run up to the local elections. She can’t possibly be trying to de-rail the Crown Prosecution Service decision, expected next week, on allegations of electoral fraud by her party.
May was, in her statement in Downing Street just over half an hour ago, clear about her reasons for calling an election. Brexit Means Brexit.
Her burning hatred of Un-Brexit, Remoaner forces, that tiny group of half of the population, was wholly behind May’s Erdogan-like determination to vanquish all opposition. We whingey types, with our ‘facts’, and our ‘experts’, and our damned insistence on due process; we’re in her way. We fail to bow down to the titanic majesty of the May Queen.
I suspect that her delusion is genuine. She said that the obstructors of the Great Brexit Project were in Parliament, whereas the British people had come together in unity behind the mission to leave the EU. Which is palpable nonsense.
It is understandable that a politician of little vision wants to call an election whilst the Official Opposition is having a five year long nap. It is tempting to go to the polls when it looks like the Tories are 20 points in the lead. Opportunistic, contrary to all previous promises, but normal political calculation.
But this may be her mistake.
The Tories have a huge opinion poll lead. Not The Brexit Party. And May has made this a Brexit election.
The omens for The Remain Party are not good. These are not the right circumstances for a rational election, and our strength is our weakness, for we insist on reason. But if we didn’t want a fight right now, on these monstrous terms, we’ve got one, and there is no alternative but to fight.
To fight hard, to fight as dirty as we have to. To do what we didn’t do in the referendum campaign.
Throw their £350 million a week to the NHS bus in their faces every day. Parade the old and sick, deprived of social care on every TV screen and phone and tablet in the land. Be (properly) alarmist at the loss of all the good things – food safety, rights at work, medical research, and so much else – that we gain from the EU.
If May wants to be the Brexit Party in a Brexit election, let her have it.
For the numbers aren’t quite as terrible as they might be, even with the collapse of the Labour Party.
This election is fought without the benefit of the boundary changes that are due to come in before 2020. In much of the South, and especially the South West, the Lib Dems are well placed to regain seats they once held. Elsewhere, we must make the best of tactical voting to remove Brexitist MP, mainly Tory, though others, like Labour’s shameful Brexiters, must also be defeated by Remain candidates. And we must have a voter-registration drive. Above all, mobilise the young. Young people must vote. Their future is in their own hands.
We can deliver a House of Commons without a Tory-Brexit majority if we are active and disciplined.
This is our Turkish democrat moment. We are in jeopardy. Massive resources, the full might of the media, will be ranged against us. But we can and must fight.