Britain is going through a damaging period of uncertainty. The outcome of the EU referendum is certain, but what Brexit actually means, nobody really knows for certain. Theresa May thinks she knows what Brexit means, but when she crashes out of talks with the EU in the Autumn, she will realise that Brexit won’t mean what she keeps telling us it means.
The Tory party seems to have such confidence in their victory that they have rolled out a controversial pledge to allow MPs a vote on fox hunting, as well as a policy to scrap winter fuel payments for pensioners with more than £100,000 (when surely they are their target electorate?). However, I believe that their victory is anything from certain. The divisive Brexit vote has driven life-long tories to join Labour and the Liberal Democrats (LibDems) and young people, too, are very disillusioned with Theresa May and her backwards vision for their future.
Cowardly refusing to participate in a televised leaders debate on ITV, she instead turned up for a cosy interview on the BBC One Show (where they coincidentally blocked out the windows to conceal any passers by who might happen to be waving EU flags!). In the interview, she was joined by her husband and they discussed their “boy’s jobs and girl’s jobs” – hardly the visionary feminist many young women would hope to be leading the country.
Why did she do it?
There is a lot of speculation about the real reason Theresa May called the snap election. The guise of “strengthening our hand in Brexit negotiations” falls foul because she already had a mandate for Brexit, and the triggering of Article 50 went almost uncontested in parliament, no thanks to Jeremy Corbyn’s three line whip. The much more believable reason is that the Conservatives want to capitalise on the Labour party’s appalling rating in the polls and position themselves for the greatest power grab in Westminster, which will allow Theresa May’s government to push through more of her controversial policies. Another reason for the timing of this election is the high level of “Brexit optimism”, which will undoubtedly come crashing down when Theresa begins negotiations with Brussels and thus rapidly realises she can’t have everything her own way.
A recent poster seen on the streets of London
When the devastating social and economic impacts of Brexit begin to bite in real terms, the support for the conservatives rock-hard strategy will soon turn to regret. The conservative party won’t have to face the voter’s bitter resentment and disappointment gain until 2020. On the upside, hopefully, by then a significant proportion of the 14-17 year-olds whose futures will be blighted by Brexit will be able to swing the government back into a sane part of the political spectrum – although by then I fear it may be too late.
I think it is fundamentally wrong that the governing party should be allowed to call a snap election at a time of their choosing for the sake of power positioning. In the same way that it would be wrong for a government to extend their term for an indefinite period, both acts are simply undemocratic. Parliaments should serve for a fixed term with no possibility to manipulate the system. The cost of holding another General Election, 2 years early, and only one year after the advisory referendum on EU membership is utterly absurd and unjustifiable.
It’s all a game
It is another huge distraction from dealing with the real issues such as the education system, providing housing and the worsening crisis in the NHS which just goes to show the Conservative Party’s irresponsible behaviour. This party power positioning is the cause of the uncertainty that will have hugely damaging impacts on the British economy. What’s more, Theresa May who seemingly has no conviction in her beliefs, is playing politics like it is a game in which she will only act in the interests of her party and not “the People” who will suffer catastrophically from the Conservative government.
We will never have a true democracy until we have a PR voting system, unbiased (or representative) press coverage, parliaments that serve for a fixed term and a means of holding politicians to account. Given the lies, deceit and misinformation that won the vote to leave the EU and the meaningless three-word mantras and broken promises churned out by Theresa May, in the words of musician Jarvis Cocker, “perhaps we should consider calling off this hoax election and hold a public enquiry instead.”?