May calls election for June

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So it appears we are to have a General Election on Thursday June 8th.  Has Prime Minister Theresa May been clever, opportunistic or or just calculating?  I think a case can be made for all three.

Clever because she knows she needs a mandate to push her version of Brexit with other EU leaders in the future negotiations.  She knows that, with France going to the polls at the weekend in the first of 2 rounds of voting for their Presidential election, with the 2nd round not due until 7th May and the incumbent President needing a week or two to get their feet under the table, serious negotiations won’t start until at least June.  She has a window of opportunity to get her mandate rather than borrow David Cameron’s.

Calculating because she knows that whilst the media will make this a Brexit election, there are other things she wishes to move one – grammar schools for one – that she doesn’t have a mandate for.  With everyone focused on Brexit it gives her the opportunity to add things to the Conservative manifesto that, in normal election campaigns would be scrutinised to death, but will not get the coverage it would have say in 2015 or 2010.  This will allow her to get certain things SHE wants through the Commons because it will have been part of a manifesto that has been voted upon.

Opportunistic because she knows she will never get a better chance to win an election with a large majority.  She is still seen, generally, as a strong Prime Minister and with Labour in disarray under the inept and calamitous leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, she must know she is odds on to win a full term as Prime Minister.  To be fair, if Corbyn or anyone else was in the same position with the same calculations to make, I’m convinced they would make the same decision.

For me this is going to be a difficult election.  I have much thinking to do.  In 2010 and 2015 I voted for Angela Smith – the Labour MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge.  It was generally an easy decision.  The Lib Dems have only ever been paper candidates and I have an aversion to voting for someone who doesn’t campaign properly.  I’ve never been struck by the Tory candidates – but then again it would take something immense to ever get me to support a Conservative in a General Election.  Angela Smith is, I believe, a good constituency MP.  My problem is that whilst I vote for the person rather than the party, I cannot get away from the fact that if I vote for Angela Smith in a way I will also be voting for Jeremy Corbyn to be our next Prime Minister and I cannot think of someone so ill equipped to hold that office.

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Wayne Chadburn

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