Theresa May and why a snap election was the right call

When Theresa May called a snap election to take place on the 8th of June the only ones who were worried were the Labour Party.

Leading Labour officials had been hoping that the Prime Minister would wait until 2019 or even 2020 to hold a general election. That would’ve given Labour time to ditch Corbyn and find a better leader with the hope that Brexit would be a disaster and voters would rapidly turn to Labour. But with the Prime Ministers announcement of an early election the nightmare of having to face voters with Corbyn as leader has come true.
The Tories now have an opinion poll lead of 21 points and, if they fight an efficient campaign, will win the election comfortably. Following Labour’s disaster in Copeland where they lost a seat they’d held for eight decades Labour cannot approach this election expecting anything else but a catastrophic defeat.

The Prime Minister has clearly learned from Labour’s mistakes. When in 2007 Gordon Brown took over from Tony Blair Labour had a large majority and an opinion point lead of six points. If Labour called an election in 2007 David Cameron would’ve held little chance of winning. But because Gordon Brown shied away from going to voters and the world changed after the financial crisis with the government of Gordon Brown became almost a consistent joke.

The circumstances for Theresa May are similar than for those of Gordon Brown. If Brexit turns out to be as hard as many, including myself, believe it will be, then securing a comfortable majority in the House of Commons will put the Prime Minister in an exceptionally strong position until 2022.

Clearly Labour are in the weakest position they’ve been in since the election of 1983 where Michael Foot led a ramshackle party to a humiliating defeat at the hands of Margaret Thatcher. Margaret Thatcher could’ve waited another year but she knew that Labour were there for the taking and acted accordingly securing a second term as Prime Minister and silencing her enemies in the Conservative Party. Labour didn’t truly recover from that defeat until the election of John Smith as Labour leader and then, with the help of young stars Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Peter Mandelson, started to push Labour into the centre ground of UK politics where, after 15 years of pathetic opposition, they could finally win.

By calling this election Theresa May has potentially sunk Labour as a serious electoral party until an election well into the 2020’s. Labour will now need a new generation of skilled, moderate Politian’s to re-build the party the same way as Blair, Brown and Mandelson did in the mid-nineties. By taking this calculated risk the Prime Minister may now enjoy a prolonged period of comfort in Downing Street.