It was at least five times the Prime Minister Teresa May ruled out a general election before 2020. But yesterday she did the most spectacular of u-turns and declared it was now a necessity. So now that the Labour party has acquiesced to the request despite having the power to block the move the country faces an unnecessary general election on 8 June.
“The Country’s coming together but Westminster is not.” So did parliament refuse her article 50? No not a bit it went through both houses with relative ease.
And in any case what’s the point of a parliament in a democracy if all are expected to agree. It sounds as if no opposition is to be tolerated more like the North Korean system of government than that of a so-called mature democracy.
She name checked three opposition political parties – Labour, the Lib Dems, and the SNP – for their own, criticisms of her vision for Brexit. And just for good measure the House of Lords. All their offence to dare question the divine leaders plans for Brexit. And, for good measure, she included the unelected House of Lords, who have also dared scrutinize her Brexit plan.
So why go to the country now. Well partly because of party advantage. With Labour languishing 20 points behind in the polls she sees an open goal. But let her not pretend that it was done out of principle, it was naked political opportunism.
She is riding high and it won’t last long. She knows that the real impact of Brexit is yet to come and there are real difficulties coming down this particular road.
A popularity contest between the parties must happen now – not in six months, when the forces of Brexit will batter the whole of Westminster.
What are we to make of it all? Well if the vote to leave the European Union was in large part a product of the widespread disillusionment with the Westminster political elite. How does this move help? This is just the latest but very blatant example of the political elite saying one thing yet meaning another? This clear example of Teresa May putting party and power above national concerns will only increase that disillusionment.