Thursday, 27 April 2017
UK Election: another broken proimise (1)
I've just returned from a week's holiday in the Netherlands, where I've been more or less cut off from British news, so much of what follows has probably already been said. However, for the record. . .
I started my holiday by travelling down to London on Tuesday 18th April, and was startled, on leaving King's Cross Station, to see blazoned on the front page of the Evening Standard that Mrs May had called an election. At first I had assumed it was some sort of spoof as per Private Eye .
It has never been quite clear why Mrs May has, since having become Prime Minister, so emphatically ruled out the possibility of a General Election before the schedule end to the parliament in 2020. But she has, not once but several times.
So why the change of heart? The tale that her mind was cleared during a walking holiday is clearly pure bunkum. The decision is obviously guided at least to some extent by the plotting of party advantage in, nowadays, smoke-free rooms.
Even the published reason, that the nation is coming together in wanting to get on with leaving the EU, but parliament is divided with ne'er-do-wells trying to obstruct her implementation of the "will of the people," is equally disingenuous. Sadly, parliament is already far too supine in succumbing to her will, and failing dismally to represent the views of the many of us (and nearly all the "experts") who see her policy as folly.
It is also sad to see the one significant constitutional achievement of the Liberal Democrats in the coalition, the fixed term parliament, fall at the first hurdle. It would, of course, have been embarrassing for Labour, given their legitimate and profound disagreements with the government's social policies, to have voted against and thus blocked the dissolution. But even so a reasonable case, that all energies must be focused on the Brexit deal, could have been made.
As a result, Mrs May has been allowed to break her oft-repeated promise, and our politics is diminished. No wonder people are disillusioned. I suspect they will become even more so as the simplifications (the will of the people), distortions (strong and stable leadership) and, yes, downright lies ( watch this space) are bandied around in the coming weeks.
But, as Harold Wilson famously noted: "A week is a long time in politics." And with six of them to play with a lot can go wrong for Mrs May. Her predecessor David Cameron miscalculated badly, and quite unnecessarily. It's perfectly possible she may have done the same.