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May Intervenes to Prevent UK Politics Becoming Too Predictable

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Has Theresa May jumped the shark? In a somewhat surprising news, Britain’s Prime Minister has announced that she wants a General Election in June this year. That Donald Trump was attracting too much attention by playing nuclear chicken with North Korea and we needed to remind the world that we haven’t lost the ability to keep things interesting. After all, we had forgotten that politicians sometimes suddenly do the complete opposite of what they have been claiming that they planned. Doubtless that will spice up the Brexit negotiations in a helpful way. Yes, there was the Fixed-term Parliaments Act in 2011 but that doesn’t mean we should limit ourselves to only having General Elections once every five years. And of course not politician, certainly not a Conservative, would stake her political future on a win or lose gamble that is going to cause massive social discontent whichever way it turns out.

Sarcasm off, I’m bewildered and not a little angry. If her apparent plan comes together and May wins a decisive victory, it might dampen down the voices that say she doesn’t have a mandate to lead but that is an even more slender hope that her getting a big win; it will do very little to increase the electorate’s trust in politicians. Meanwhile, there are lots of other potentially spin-offs. For example, if the SNP maintains its present position, I think that is likely to increase the chance of Scotland breaking away from the UK (or having an even more bitter fight and still not resolving it any more than their last ‘once in a generation’ referendum did). Or perhaps May is being Machiavellian and hopes to lose the vote to allow the election while frightening fellow Conservatives into supporting her more ardently? That doesn’t make a lot of sense but neither does anything else.

Maybe it will all become clear. Or May be not.