Calling a general election: smart move?

As I am sure you have all seen by now, Theresa May announced today that there will be a general election held in the UK on 8th of June, 2017. When I saw on Twitter this morning that the Prime Minister (PM) was delivering a statement at 10 Downing Street, I thought of everything that it might possibly be and the last on my list was a general election. I presumed the PM was going to make a Brexit related announcement or that direct rule was going to return to Northern Ireland. It even crossed my mind that she may be resigning but one thing is for sure, I did not imagine that the announcement would be about an election.

Why I thought that a general election was the last thing she was going to announce is probably irrelevant but it definitely puts it into perspective as to why (after a lot of thought) I think it is a smart political party move. When I heard that an election was being called I was baffled as to why the PM would do it especially at this time. The UK is in very uncertain territory and the one thing that politicians have utter control of is the running of the country until 2020. For businesses and the economy in general, political stability is really important right now as many businesses face an unknown future due to Brexit. I also thought that with the work load that is already on the PM's desk (Brexit, Northern Ireland and the possibility of a second Scottish independence referendum), I believed that Theresa May would have her hands completely full without having an election to prepare for on top of that. Elections are a lot of work for political parties. A manifesto has to be prepared and of course, politicians have to get out canvassing. There will be a lot of pressure on the PM to visit most of the UK with other Tory candidates and of course, the media will be asking her a lot of questions. Because of all of this, you couldn't be blamed for thinking that for all these reasons, a general election would be a bad idea at this time.

I was under this impression until about 1pm today. Theresa May made her announcement outside number 10 at 11:05am this morning and it took me just under 2 hours to realise that she is exactly right to do this. A recent political poll put the Tory's at 43%, with Labour vastly behind them at 25% so currently Theresa May leads the most popular party in the UK. Because of this drastic difference in percentages, why wouldn't she call for a referendum and get voted in as PM by the people of the UK? Theresa May fell into the position of PM back in July 2016 when David Cameron resigned as leader of the Tory party. She was not voted for by her colleagues or by the people of the UK. Regardless of your opinion of the PM (or Brexit), she has kept to her word since becoming the leader of the UK. Her popularity has risen and she is in a very strong position to lead her party into the general election in June 2017.

Another reason why the PM was right to call a general election was because the opposition's support rate is extremely low. Labour have suffered many blows over the last number of months and this has not changed. With a recent poll placing Labour at under 25%, Theresa May will be very confident heading into election mode. A lot of people have now accepted that Brexit is happening and they are glad that the PM is sticking with what she set out to do. Whereas on the other hand, Jeremy Corbyn has had many months of bad press and to the outside world, the Labour Party does not seem to be in a very good place; organisation, stability and leadership wise.

While I do admire Theresa May for calling the election and giving people a clear idea about what to expect from her party and others in the lead up to Brexit, I do find that calling the election is somewhat for party political agenda for the Tories. I think that if politicians and political parties put the country first and worried about popularity second, Theresa May would have waited until later this year, if not even early next year to hold a general election. It can also be argued however that the sooner an election is held, the sooner the UK can be on a clear path out of the European Union and have a clear agenda for policies going forward. I think whatever way you look at it, there are both positive and negative impacts which I am sure will be explored countless of times by the media between now and June.

For now though, I will leave you with a link to register to vote if you haven't done so already. Get your voting card before it is too late and have a say in how you would like your country to be run.

A.

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