Just when it doesn’t seem possible to add another twist to the story of British Politics, the prime minister pulls one out of the bag and presents the country with another chance to flex its democratic muscles – this time in the form of a general election.
Catching literally everyone on the back foot when she stepped out of Number 10 on 18 April, Theresa May’s snap general election announcement was indeed a shock.
But standing back now, less than a week later, it does seem like a win, and a big win according to the pollsters, who, although they haven’t had a great track record predicting the outcome of recent votes on both sides of the Atlantic, might be onto a winner this time.
If her gamble pays off, the big time winner will be May – who could return to Downing Street with a massive majority, a parliament in place until 2022 and, of course, her own mandate to create a Brexit to her liking rather than that preferred by the hard right of her party, and those even further out.
What exactly the prime minister will do with her new power, assuming the Conservative lead is so large, is another issue. Maybe we’ll hear something in her soon-to-be-published manifesto? Who knows, but you’d imagine there has been some planning going on, which is likely more than the opposition parties have managed, especially Labour.
Labour are, of course, a complete basket case, although I do agree with shadow chancellor John McDonnell on one thing – and that’s there are is undoubtedly some hard economic times approaching as a result of the Brexit process. Of course, I’d have to add that there’s no chance in hell that I’d like to have him and his mob in charge when it hits.
As well as being an exciting time for politicians and the media, a general election period can also be good for businesses. While there are naturally concerns that things can slow down in the run up to a vote, it is also a chance for entrepreneurs and business leaders to have their voices heard.
And I’m not just talking about in the voting booth. This is one of the best times to get in front of politicians of all colours and positions. They are venturing out of the Westminster bubble to lay out their stall to the electorate and business should welcome them with open arms to also get their issues across.
At Pimlico Plumbers we regularly open our doors to politicians and it has enabled me to push issues such as apprenticeship training with them as well as giving my workforce the chance to speak to MPs and ministers that, in everyday life, they might not get the chance to do.
Candidates will be looking for places to visit in their constituencies in the run up to 8 June, and I would encourage businesses of all sizes to get involved. Of course, it could also be good publicity for firms as the election will dominate column inches and broadcast minutes for the next six weeks.
But more importantly, it will give us all another chance to highlight, face to face, our challenges and what the next government can do to help boost the backbone of Britain’s economy.
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