Four key points to consider in the 2017 snap general elections for plight of the Labour party

Today Theresa May called for a snap General Election this summer. There was some assumption that May would want to drag out this term as long as possible with the current state of the political opposition. Here are some key points to consider.

  1. This will become Jeremy Corbyn’s do-or-die moment. If Labour fail to win, then Corbyn’s position will be untenable, and it is important that this occurs prior to the McDonnell amendment. For Mrs May, it would have made better sense to call the election immediately after the conference season on the off chance that it passed.
  2. Lets not kid ourselves. This General Election is about Brexit, and possibly one of the reasons why it was called now while it remains overwhelmingly the salient issue. Labour is stuck in the middle — Scotland will be polarized into a SNP-Conservative race. In England and Wales a hard campaign by the Liberal Democrats championing the abortion of Brexit could suck up a lot of the “48%”, using a narrative that this is not a normal cycle election by referendum re-run. The main effect of this will be to kill Labour support in marginals.
  3. The Conservatives have played a masterclass in what I call “dynamic motion”, the ability for a party to reinvent itself through leadership changes while being in government. It is conventional wisdom to stick with a proven winning formula once in Government and reinvent the party following a loss of power in the macro electoral cycle. By forcing a General Election back another two years, May gains time to complete this divisive phase of Brexit, with her potentially exiting Number 10 in 2020 with a two year cushion for the Conservatives to attempt to reinvent themselves under new leadership.
  4. As with the end of the third series of The Thick of It, everyone is running around like headless chickens as May has seized the initiative. For Labour, an election loss could see 100 seats wiped out, and a lot of talent gone with it. PPCs are not in place. Where is Labour’s future in this worst case scenario? Labour will need to change tack from the hard-left narrative, but who is left to make this case?
  5. A couple more interesting questions. 
    What does this mean for the Boundary Review next year?
    What will the Labour mayoral candidates that hold parliamentary seats do in this contest?