You could have knocked me down with a feather this morning when Theresa May announced there would be a general election on 8 June 2017. Except you couldn’t have because Mrs May, despite having to date been hopelessly out of her depth as prime minister, is a typical, cynical politician who will say one thing one day and another the next. It was only a matter of time until May took the opportunity to seek an increased parliamentary majority and today that is precisely what happened.
There are a number of groups who will be happy with the decision, first among unequals will be those who voted to leave the EU last year. When the Tories romp home, we will now get the hardest Brexit imaginable with all the bloody consequences. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that May has bought time here, hoping to get the worst aspects of Brexit out of the way before the country heads again to the polls. Plenty of time to blame someone else for the mess that will ensue. Given the state of her majesty’s opposition, it’s hardly a gamble at all.
Tory MPs will be happy because they know they will all be returned safely to serve at least another five years in parliament and newspapers will be happy in the near certain knowledge that sales will probably pick up for a few weeks, with their proprietors retaining easy access to government and the favours that will follow.
Many Labour MPs and supporters, some of whom, like me, are already resigned to defeat, may be pleased that Labour’s coming electoral catastrophe will mean the end of the wretched Corbyn and the hard left takeover of the party. I am not so sure about that. I don’t buy the line that Corbyn is a decent, honest chap. He was the friend of the IRA and numerous other terror groups around the world, he is a pacifist, he tolerates anti-Semitism and anti-Semites in his party – oh, the list could go on forever. I reckon he might even stay on in a diminished Labour Party, to hand the levers of power to some equally useless but far younger member of the wrecking ball hard left. But Corbyn, who supported a hard Brexit, will be thrilled. He will relish the prospect of addressing rallies consisting of people who already agree with him. Imagine being Corbyn tonight, knowing in your heart that you are wholly unqualified to run a whelk stall, never mind the country, about to embraced again by his cult following. The hipsters and chattering classes of Islington will return their hero. The comrades in Momentum, who don’t care about winning general elections, will be thrilled that scores of mainstream Labour MPs will lose their seats, and that they can turn Labour into the dysfunctional “political movement” they have always dreamed of.
The odious Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP will be overjoyed too, with the prospect of kicking out Labour for good. In fact, it will be the Tories who will be their main rivals. And a Tory landslide in England will intensify their claims for separation which this time will surely happen. Could anyone blame the Scots?
And what of Nigel Farage? May has stolen his clothes – happily not literally – and Ukip are doomed, but he won’t care. He will have helped shape the Little England he has striven for all his life. Farage, who has never won a first past the post election, is the most successful politician of his generation. Think about that for a moment.
And what of Rupert Murdoch who, as soon as the election is over, will be free to buy the 61% of Sky he doesn’t already own. He will be the happiest evil emperor of the lot.
Of course, I’m sad about the result of the forthcoming election. I am sad that Labour will be annihilated and I am even more sad that May will have a strong mandate for a Brexit that will separate us from mainstream Europe, destroying the United Kingdom and wrecking opportunities for the next generation.
Theresa May’s impending landslide victory will, at least, put us out of our misery. It was either going to be a snap election or three miserable years of Corbyn failing to lay a blow on May.
This is effectively our second vote on the EU. On 23 June 2016, “we” voted to leave and on 8 June 2017 we will gift Theresa May the hard Brexit this most hypocritical politician has yearned for, ever since she supported remain some 10 months ago.
Now we really are going to hell in a handcart. Margaret Thatcher will be regarded as a closet lefty when May has finished her work, on current form some time in 2027.