Following the surprise announcement by PM Theresa May, all Brits are now in the midst of their second General Election in two years, not counting last year’s referendum on the EU.
The announcement of the national election on 8 June 2017 heralds the third act in a bizarre play:
● First: the 2015 poll-defying election in which David Cameron was re-elected on 7 May 2015 with a small majority over Labour’s Ed Miliband, the ‘other’ brother who had himself snatched the Labour leadership from the more likely contender, David Miliband.
● Second: the 11th hour surprise result of the divisive EU referendum. Having won the 2015 election with a manifesto promise of a referendum on the UK’s EU membership as a political manoeuvre to outflank UKIP and Tory Euro-sceptic right-wingers, the Referendum was held on 23 June 2016 with lively and sometimes controversial campaigning from the LEAVE and REMAIN camps with its sad denouement of the tragic death on MP Jo Cox at the final week. Remainer Cameron resigned hours after the Leave result plunging the already bewildered country into a Tory leadership contest while it struggled to come to terms with ‘Brexit’. Former Remainer Theresa May was duly elected and tasked with being midwife for Brexit. After toting the mantra ‘Brexit means Brexit’ (which nobody could either explain or deny, clever), Article 50 was finally triggered on 29 March 2017, formally starting the two-year Brexit process.
● Third: Despite the Fixed Term Parliament Act decreeing May 2020 as the next election date and firmly denying any contrary intentions, on 18 April 2017 the PM announced the ‘snap election’ for 8 June 2017. Widely believed to be taking advantage of the huge Tory lead in the polls with difficult times ahead and of the perceived weak opposition position, May’s fig leaf is that she is seeking a firm mandate for her Brexit negotiations. And so was born her next mantra: ‘Strong and Stable government’.
And so here we are, a few weeks away from our third national voting event.
Next, a focus on the Eltham constituency….