"There is one thing which could trip the premier up—not stop her from winning, but contain the scale of her victory"by Tom Clark / April 18, 2017 / Leave a comment
Ever since the EU referendum that brought Theresa May to the top, her whole pose can be described by a single word: steadfast. And it is a pose that has worked wonders for her. Today, as she announced that she wanted to precipitate a general election, she sought to redouble her advantages in the steadfastness stakes. She charged her opponents with indulging in “game playing” and, for good measure, “political games” as well. She, by contrast, was the serious stateswoman who wanted to clear of the way the antics of such opportunists, and concentrate on furthering the national interest.
The truth, however, is that May has just played the opening gambit in the biggest political game of all. With apparent sincerity, and for an entire year now, she has insisted that there is no need for an early election—no reason at all to divert from legislation fixing the five-year term that was, after all, passed by the Conservative-led Cameron government. Back in the Autumn, she could have—with credibility—made the claim that the sudden post-referendum switch of leadership, foreign and economic policy necessitated a fresh mandate. Even as late as March, when she signed the Article 50 letter, she could have been half-convincing if she had said that the weight of that moment had persuaded her that it was necessary to ask a country that is in any event heading to the polls in council elections on 4th May to give the national government a new mandate as well.
But today that obvious moment has gone. Nothing of procedural substance has changed, and yet this all-conquerin…