Only the stupid or the ill-informed would ever believe that this was all about Brexit. May had everything she needed to move forward on negotiations on Article 50, Parliament had voted in favour, and despite her party’s protestations Labour helped vote it through.
Done and dusted?
Obviously not, but that doesn’t mean this election is being called for Brexit. I have several hypotheses why and I will listen the below in a second. But for clarity this is my own view on Brexit – I voted remain. I didn’t hold much water with either side of the campaign Leavers and Remainers in the political establishment both lied to the electorate. I was also a little annoyed that this wasn’t a legally binding Referendum, why go to all this trouble without it? The margin bewteen leave and remain was also too small to suggest anything of the sort that has been claimed about “the people have spoken” when in reality its too close to 50/50. Having said that, lets get Brexit over and done with. It has already damaged out reputation in Europe, moaning about wanting another Referendum isn’t going to help in a society that is a little worn out by recent elections and referendums.
So what reasons could May and the Conservative party have for a General Election?
Cameron promised in 2015 that he would not raise taxes. Cameron basically kept the rate of tax established by his previous Coalition. My hypothesis is that May intends to put taxation up – something that nearly happened to the self-employed at the last budget, with Hammond having to backtrack.
It seems also that someone within the party sees value in distraction tactics. Fox hunting, although horrific, is distracting a little from other issues. The possibility of it becoming legal again has rightly upset many people, but it is advantageous to the Conservatives to highlight this over some of their other problems. Don’t vote on a single issue! Vote because of a range of issues!
There is another possibility. If May had not called the election had Brexit had gone badly by the time it had finished (its around a two year period according to some newspapers) it could have meant she would have been voted out in the 2020 general election. And Brexit supporters would be the one’s doing it. Calling the election now gives her another 3 years in office and time for the electorate to forget or the economy to pick up again if things do go wrong.
This of course is just hypothesis, but I am trying to look at the broad picture logically. If you look at the Tory manifesto you will see that there are going to be future problems for pensioners, public services and home owners. Less kids from working backgrounds are already going to university to study core subjects that are needed for health and industry; the social care crisis; the education crisis; cuts to policing, the nhs and the fire services: this is all adding up to a poor performance that meant if the Government were a business they’d have gone bust operating this way.