As you are no doubt aware, Prime Minister Theresa May has called a snap general election less than two years after David Cameron was voted in, with polling to take place on 8 June 2017.
Although she had previously said she would do no such thing, Mrs May defended her decision to call an election, saying: “We need an election now to secure the strong, stable leadership the country needs to see us through Brexit and beyond.”
After the announcement of a third, nationwide vote in as many years (2015 general election, 2016 referendum, 2017 general election), many people voiced their lack of enthusiasm, epitomised by one Brenda from Bristol who famously exclaimed “you’re joking? Not another one.”
It’s already been dubbed the ‘Brexit Election’: exiting the EU is bound to be the top issue. Of the mainstream parties, the LibDems are effectively reviving their Remain stance. Labour seems to be angling for a soft Brexit while Theresa May says she needs a strong mandate, i.e. vote for me!, in case Brexit negotiations go the hard way. As for UKIP, well it’s hard to take them seriously after all their internal shenanigans.
On hearing the news, I found myself thinking highly of Theresa May (not something I am naturally prone to). Her nous for tactics means she’s picked the right moment to finish Labour as a force in national politics.
Polls put the Tories on 43 percent, with Labour dropping to just 25 percent; accordingly, there have been predictions of a 200-seat Commons majority for the Conservatives.
But opinion polls are just that – nothing more; and voter apathy is a great unknown.
After the vote for Brexit last year, you might have thought that UK politics were about to become truly political again, offering voters a choice between genuinely distinctive alternatives. But already we seem to have lapsed back into the same old phoney war between only marginally different management styles.
How many of us will be captivated by this, is anyone’s guess.