BY COUNCILLOR RABBI ARNOLD SAUNDERS – KERSAL WARD
We are of course now in the middle of a General Election campaign. The election took most people by surprise – including, by all accounts, some members of the Cabinet! It is being referred to as a “snap election” owing to its sudden “calling” – almost three years before the “due date.”
Personally, I never liked the “Fixed Term Parliaments Act,” which set down the date of the next election as a rigid date: five years after the previous one. This was of course a key demand of the Lib Dems at the start of the Coalition Government – in order to prevent David Cameron “cutting and running” and dissolving the Coalition. As it happens it did the trick, and the Coalition did indeed run for a full five years! I believe that David Cameron and Nick Clegg did not get enough credit for what I consider a remarkable achievement.
Not only did they hold the Coalition together for five years, but they actually rescued the country from economic doom. Certainly the Lib Dems paid the price at the Ballot Box in 2015! I consider that the fact that the date of the election was known meant that the last year or so the government was virtually a “dead duck.”
There was none of the usual excitement surrounding the election, and frankly it made for a boring election!
The prime minister gave the reason for the election as wishing to strengthen her hand over the Brexit negotiations. Some take a more cynical view and see it as political opportunism – capitalising on Labour’s poor showing in the polls. I personally do believe that the PM wishes to have a bigger majority in the Commons as she charts the stormy seas of Brexit negotiations.
As she launched her election campaign in Bolton last week and explained her reasons for calling the election, I stood four-square yards behind her – metaphorically and physically (See photo below).
I believe that a large majority will allow her to be her “own man” (if you see what I mean). I will continue to discuss the election over the next few weeks so watch this space!