Reasons To Be Cheerful
I am not a particularly cheerful person, I rarely see the glass half-full, and I am certainly not offering a defence of Theresa May's decision to call a general election. History will remember it as a tactical blunder of epic proportions, and I doubt that anyone will be able to make a case for it being anything else. However, I do believe that there are at least seven reasons why we should thank Theresa May for calling the 2017 general election, and here they are:
1. Everyone can be cheerful about Jeremy Corbyn's success. He and his supporters can now claim serious credibility after being ridiculed for the past two years, and this will presumably rule out the possibility of a third Labour leadership contest in as many years. However, the Tories can also be happy about this, because if Corbyn really is the useless fool they believe him to be, then surely his success in consolidating his position is a good thing. If he is a ludicrous candidate with no chance of winning a general election, then the best thing for them is for him to stay exactly where he is.
2. We can be cheerful now that the influence of the right-wing British press seems questionable at best, and laughable at worst.
3. Everyone can be cheerful that an increasing number of young people are now bothered enough to vote.
4. There are now more women in Parliament (it's a record number, in fact), and a good few of these women are not white, and have African and Islamic names. The numbers are by no means impressive, but it is still a huge improvement on previous Parliaments.
5. Some will be cheerful that May's dodgy deal with the Democratic Unionist Party has helped to re-focus the British public on issues such as abortion and gay marriage, which is good if only for giving us a break from Brexit and reminding ourselves of just how conservative many echelons of British society are in 2017.
6. We can be cheerful that Labour's slim victory in Kensington and Chelsea (a seat once held by Alan Clark) challenges the tedium of 'safe seats.'
7. A black female nurse now represents the constituency once held by Enoch Powell.
Of course, it is possibly unfair to call May's play a political disaster. It is becoming increasingly clear that it was in fact an example of tactical brilliance, in the sense that she expected this outcome all along. Trashing David Cameron's 2015 success and falling short of a working majority was simply a ploy to 'bring stabilty to Northern Ireland' by forming an alliance with the DUP. This wasn't mentioned during the campaign, but it is now, apparently, a priority, according to Michael Fallon in his interview with Andrew Marr this morning. And because that was on the BBC, we can believe it ... although I don't recall them having much to say about who won Enoch Powell's old seat.