By Tohid Ismail
This morning, when I heard May announcing her wish for a general election on June 8th, her reasoning seemed clear. Yes, as she said Westminster is divided, but crucially it is crystal clear that she can win a greater majority than the slim one achieved by Cameron in 2015, with a Labour Party at war, the Liberals a non-threat, and the SNP unable to make new gains.
So tactics aside – what will the election mean for Britain? Probably a landslide, maybe the largest in the last half-century, perhaps even dwarfing that of Blair in 1997, and with it a fresh mandate for the Tories. But this was not a vital concern on May’s mind this bank holiday weekend; rather her zeal was fed by the knowledge that she can gain a personal mandate, one that she did not have a chance to win even within her own party.
This election signifies more than anything else, the unique style of government of Mrs. May; she will do things in her own manner and in her own time – in a calm, yet often unpredictable and indisputably audacious fashion. We have seen this style in the last year, we are seeing it now and it is through this election that her ‘May Show’ will be on full display on the domestic and European scene.
This woman is no Mrs. Thatcher: for her there are no firm principles or a ‘you turn if you want to’ policy. Rather, a vision of the pragmatism guides her. If this means scrapping Tory promises such as the defence of the House of Lords, which she dismissed as ‘unelected’ during her speech, or calling an election that she promised she would defer until 2020 to give the people a choice, then so be it.
Photograph: SecretLondon123 via Flickr.