Theresa May has called for a General Election which Parliament has voted almost unanimously in favour. This is in stark contrast to the woman whose spokesperson defiantly said that she wouldn’t call a General Election:
“There isn’t going to be one. It isn’t going to happen. There is not going to be a general election.”
Yet here we are. Many publications have pointed out and rightly so that Theresa May has flip-flopped on every important decision in recent times, from her support for remaining in the European Union before the referendum as opposed to after, her voting record on LGBTQ rights which she voted against but has now changed her tune, and finally her complete about face about a General Election which she said she would never call.
Yvette Cooper had it spot on when she attacked the Prime Minister at Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday for lying about the General Election.
“The prime minister said yesterday that she was calling a general election because parliament was blocking Brexit, but three-quarters of this parliament voted for article 50 and two-thirds of the Lords voted for article 50, so that’s not true, is it?”
Until this Tuesday May had flatly denied that she would call a snap election, saying instead that the next General Election would be in 2020 when the term limit would be reached and a General Election would have to be called. How do we believe anything Theresa May says. She’s consistently changed her mind, been disingenuous, and spoken so negatively of political opponents and remain supporters who feel entirely disenfranchised.
Let us be sure about what this General Election truly is, and be doubly certain about what it is not. This is nothing more than a coronation, seeking to displace and silence opposition in Parliament whilst giving Theresa May and The Conservatives a more powerful mandate with which to operate. A democracy survives on its ability to question and guide government which Mrs May appears to have forgotten in hopes of her larger majority.
The official opposition to The Conservatives is The Labour Party which May seeks to stamp out for fear of a resurgent Labour Party defeating The Tories in 2020. Her aim is to not only increase her fragile majority of 17 but to decimate Labour and force them into a position where their power to debate and change policy is all but gone. This is political opportunism at its most ugly and most dangerous. This decision will poison politics for a generation.
It is disappointing that Jeremy Corbyn would allow this to happen, uttering no response to May’s continual change of direction or inability to follow through with what she promises. Instead Corbyn chose to go along with The Conservatives and support their bid for a General Election.
If Labour was going to vote in favour of it, could he at least have had the political strength to remind his constituents and the country of her dishonesty. All it would have taken would have been a repeat of her dismissal of a snap election whilst on Andrew Marr’s show. She stated ‘it would cause instability’, contrast that with her calling a snap election when she has a lead in the polls with the words “I have concluded that the only way to guarantee certainty and stability for the years ahead is to hold this election and seek your support for the decisions I must take.”
Either we don’t have a General Election because it would cause instability, or we have a General Election to correct an instability. It cannot be both.
This decision is nothing to do with trying to heal divides in Westminster where divides should indeed exist for healthy debate, but a cynical and ugly way to wrench complete control of our Parliamentary system into the hands of Theresa May. It would allow her to savage a nation as she lashes us to the mast whilst she sinks the ship. Although Article 50 has been called we should be negotiating with The European Union on a way that separates us in a fair and equitable divorce. Her intention is to throw everything at them, ask for nothing in return, and slink off into the night to bleed out in peace and quiet.
Her idea of negotiation shouldn’t be allowed and our Parliamentary system is intended to prohibit this but this vote is little more than a coup. Jeremy Corbyn should have spoken up, and reminded her of her inability to keep her word, and challenged her to explain herself. It’s understood of course that he was in an impossible position as Labour leader and Theresa May understands that this will do the most damage possible to essentially end his time as Labour leader.
We shouldn’t allow The Conservatives to win because of their continual attack on the disabled, the poorest in society, and privatisation of The NHS. We can’t allow a party that seeks to govern for self-interest rather than work for social progression to increase our quality of life. I find it hard to fathom why we ought to allow big business and the richest people amongst us to shake us upside down for our money to line their own pockets.
The Liberal Democrat announcement saw Tim Farron, leader of the Liberal Democrats see this as an opportunity to win seats for. His party has nothing to lose as The Liberal Democrats only have 9 MP’s currently however their membership has risen by 1000 in the first hour since Theresa May’s General Election speech.
The Liberal Democrats are the only main political party that has come out in favour of avoiding a ‘hard Brexit’, calling in favour of a proper negotiation that protects the rights of Europeans within the UK who are resident here whilst seeking to protect the rights of British people who live and work within the EU. It’s without a doubt an opportunity for The Liberal Democrats to increase their MP’s but the political opportunity was lost on Jeremy Corbyn to take Theresa May to task, even if his intentions always were to vote in favour of a General Election.
What can’t be glossed over is the savagery with which society is being attacked under the clammy guise of ‘stability’. Theresa May specifically attacked ‘The Lords’ with veiled threats of reform and warning them not to send back legislation to The Commons. Need May be reminded that she can’t send threats and barbs at The Lords for being unelected when she herself only became Prime Minister through the political machinations of The Conservative party.
We shall all rue the day that we allowed a government to make a mockery of democracy, specifically seeking to damage other political parties to silence dissent and opposition, whilst also decreasing your own parties ability to rebel when a bad decision is made. As a nation we will be almost powerless to defend against the ugliness of The Conservatives as they bulldoze their way by silencing our MP’s, and changing process to suit themselves.
I mourn the for the UK today and you should too.