#GE2017: So why did Theresa May go for an election now?

Chris Deerin writing for CapEx on what this election will mean in GB for the Conservatives (if they win)…

There is, of course, base political calculation at the heart of Mrs May’s proposal – she is confronted with the fierce urgency of now. The 20-point polling gap between her Conservatives and Labour is staggering, sustained and a lit runway to a landslide majority.

Her government is as yet largely unbruised by the Brexit process, but will not stay that way for long.

Over the next few years the Prime Minister will need the bodies that this election walkover will provide. She has to know that she can win the parliamentary votes on Brexit and everything else without the need for sweaty backroom deals that erode her political capital.

She must be able to face down the crackpot wing of the Brexit movement without fear. And she must shake off the lingering feeling that her accidental government, born amid crisis and emergency, isn’t really legit.

But aside from Mrs May’s personal fortunes, this is right for Britain too. The country will now get one half of what it genuinely needs – a stable and robust Conservative administration properly licensed to negotiate Brexit.

We will continue to lack an opposition worthy of the name, which is unfortunate, but even here there is a silver lining – the quicker we can show the hard Left our contempt at the ballot box, the quicker the serious business of figuring out the nature of a future, sane, credible centrist party can begin. I hope Mr Blair, Mr Clegg and, perhaps, Mr Osborne, have their thinking caps on.

Let’s return to that point of democratic hygiene. This is not the Cameron government under new leadership. Mrs May has junked large parts of the manifesto that secured her predecessor an overall majority and which we have a constitutional right to expect to be delivered.

In tone, temperament and action, she has gone about her business as if she has already won a general election rather than lucked into the top job.

On the economy and public spending, industry and education, immigration and more, she has taken a markedly different line to her predecessor. At times, it has felt a bit like a coup, and deeply unBritish.

That’s an impression confirmed by Janan Ganesh’s Op-Ed for today’s FT (and therefore written before today’s news):

The British political system is so centralised that a government is often just the magnification of the prime minister’s instincts, and May’s are unmistakable. The implications go beyond the precise terms of the exit deal she will sign, to the policies that will shape the country once it gains that mercurial prize called independence.

At its best, May’s Britain will be vigilant to terror and give industrial strategy a chance to amount to more than it has in the past. At its worst, spirit-draining bureaucracy will set in and Britain will spurn able migrants with the zeal that other countries put into the worldwide competition for them.

Either way, it will be her doing, not that of her MPs, the media or even the electorate. To see this government’s work as the sum of outside pressures is to patronise and exonerate May all at once. It is worse than you think. She believes in it.

And finally, this from Belfast lad in London, Steve Moore:

What has been most striking about May’s premiership is how her boldness relating to Brexit has contrasted with the feebleness of her domestic policy.

For the all the promises of heeding the wider lessons of Brexit she has been clearly shackled by the 2015 manifesto commitments on taxation and spending.

I would expect the Tory manifesto to have significant costed commitments on mental health, infrastructure, social care and industrial strategy (on skills in particular)

Why now?

Lynton Crosby has been on manoeuvres for months laying the ground and donors have been mobilised. Crucially intelligence from the local elections, consecutive 21 point polling leads and a little noticed but significant win a Middlesborough council ward seat last Thursday all led to this outcome.

Of course, it is not just Labour but UKIP who are in disarray demise adding at least 4% to the 2015 Tory vote and they have zero funds to fight this election.

The Tories remain vulnerable to Lib Dems in West Country (but so are Labour in London and in university towns) but they can expect to squeeze UKIP everywhere.

Labour will now pay a dear price for not dealing with Corbyn, how could May really resist? Tories by 65–75 seats for me

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty