British Prime Minister Theresa May broke her vow not to seek early elections and called a snap national election on June 8, exploiting what’s widely been called a weakness in her opposition.
The Labour Party was caught completely flat-footed, so many think this was a brilliant move to consolidate power and consensus in Parliament over Brexit. Last month, May formally invoked “Article 50” which started a two-year clock for the U.K. to remove itself from the European Union.
BBC getting hacked off that no labour front benchers have yet made an appearance…
— Matthew Bonnett (@Mr_JMB) April 18, 2017
Is it brilliant? The Washington Post offers some strong evidence.
The Labour Party has been at war with itself since the election of the far-left Jeremy Corbyn as leader in September 2015. A recent poll showed that, in a head-to-head matchup between May and Corbyn, not even a majority of Labour votes would want Corbyn as their prime minister.
Other parties are similarly weakened, or more so. UKIP, having fulfilled its purpose and without its leader Nigel Farage, may as well fold into May’s Conservative Party, and the Liberal Democrats are a tiny shell of their former selves.
This could either go very well for May, giving her a firm mandate at Westminster, or it could unravel Brexit if voters make this a referendum–a do-over–on Brexit.
Imagine if the U.S. had a parliamentary system like England, where Speaker Paul Ryan could simply call for new elections in 51 days? The liberals would be calling for new elections every six months until they got their way. Hillary Clinton would never go away, and Bernie Sanders would have 100-foot billboards all over the east and west coasts. It would be absolute Bedlam.
I’m flying out across the pond tonight (not for this). I’ll follow this story from England. They can much better explain the fineries of their electoral and legislative system to me than I could ever learn on my own. It’s like trying to learn cricket. If you don’t grow up with the game, don’t even bother.
But in England, snap elections, do-overs, and their own brand of politics is all they know. Hopefully, May has this well thought out. As they say over there, it could definitely go pear-shaped if she doesn’t.