Comment: Is Theresa May actually prone to a gamble?

Will snap general election fan or finish May's career?

At 10.55am yesterday, broadcasters and political pundits were sent scurrying as Theresa May announced to the nation that she would be calling a snap general election. Talking on the steps of 10 Downing St, the Prime Minister ushered in seven weeks of endless TV debate and speculation and primed those in Westminster for a heavy workload of campaigning.

Given that there was a general election only as recently as two years ago and that the divisive European Referendum took place less than 12 months ago, is it really wise for May to go to a jaded electorate once again or is it something of a gamble?

Theresa has always been seen as a serious, conservative - with a small ‘c’ - politician, whose time as Home Secretary was never shrouded in flamboyance or controversy. Her background as the daughter of a clergyman also seems to ground her in a quiet - albeit steely - calm reminiscent of a head girl, so why has she taken such an uncharacteristic gamble, when already ensconced in the top job in Parliament?

If all the political commentators are to be believed, May will not sense that this is any way a gamble. Currently more than 20 points ahead of Labour in the polls and with Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership at an all time low in the country, the suggestion is that the Prime Minister simply wants to extend her party’s lead in the polls, take more seats in Westminster and ensure that she has the support of the nation as she negotiates the Brexit deal with Europe.

I welcome this #GeneralElection as an opportunity to form a Labour government that can transform Britain.

— Jeremy Corbyn MP (@jeremycorbyn) April 18, 2017

Certainly on paper it makes sense and it is no surprise that SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon is accusing May of making a decision based on her own party’s position and not with regard to the nation’s welfare.

However, the Prime Minister is making assumptions about the electorate that may have made sense five years ago, but does not take into account the extraordinary political shifts that have been taking place globally.

No-one ever really expected the UK to vote to leave the European Union or for Cameron to be replaced by May and odds for Trump to ascend from The Apprentice to President were more than a 100/1 a year ago.

So whilst the steely, calm persona that is Theresa May, was convinced on her Easter walk with her husband that a snap election would be a no-brainer, recent political events suggest that she could in fact have taken the most rash political gamble of her career.

Will the  8th June 2017 mark Prime Minister May’s madness or common sense?


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