Two weeks ago I wrote how, in refusing to call a general election, Theresa May was putting herself in a position to fail irrespective of the outcome of Brexit negotiations. Such a failure could well have brought her down.
Well, the Prime Minister may have realized that also and has now called a general election.
For all the talk that elections are inherently uncertain, this is an election that the Conservatives cannot possibly lose – even if they were to do no campaigning whatsoever. The only question is what the size of her majority will be after June 8th. It will almost certainly be much larger than it is today and could well exceed 100 seats. Such a majority will marginalize the rabid hard Brexiteers (estimated at around 30 to 50) and allow the government a much freer hand in compromising with the EU. Many new Conservative MPs will be sitting on the green benches and they will all owe their victory to Mrs May. They will fall in line with whatever position the government takes. The extremists will be marginalized and the 1922 committee largely emasculated as a thorn in Mrs May’s side.
It’s not worth even speculating as to what will happen to Labour after this election. Time will tell.
But for the country as a whole, for business and for the economy, this must be good news. Marginalising the hard Brexiteers will allow the government to do the sensible thing (whatever that might turn out to be). An increased Lib Dem presence might help though a huge majority would still give the government a largely free hand.
About a year ago I was speaking to a senior politician and asked “Why has she not called an election? Surely she can’t be serious when she says that she will wait until 2020?” His response was that we shouldn’t always try to find hidden agendas in politicians’ words. Sometimes they just mean what they say. Well, in this case he was wrong.