TO be surprised by opportunism in politics is to be a little naive. Though a noble calling, it is often underhand, dirty and fake. But even the hardiest of cynics was left gobsmacked by the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday.
With little fanfare, and little warning, Theresa May walked out on to Downing Street and called for a General Election on June 8. The Prime Minister explained that her decision was because of division in the House of Commons.
“At this moment of enormous national significance there should be unity,” she argued, “the country is coming together, but Westminster is not.”
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This election was to end the “political game-playing” of her rivals, she went on, so that her government could continue “getting the job done”. It is breathtaking hypocrisy from the Prime Minister. This is not about unity but about destroying the feckless and ineffective Jeremy Corbyn and Labour. There is no coincidence that her call came just two day after polls suggested the Tories were far more popular than Labour.
However, those of us who support independence should welcome her intervention. With one huge miscalculation, May has just destroyed her very own arguments against the Scottish referendum. She told us it was too soon for Scots to vote on independence, and that we didn’t know the terms of Brexit.
And yet she has now asked the country, with scant detail, to back her all the way on Brexit and to give her our trust, blindly and faithfully.
There are times when this paper thinks this “do as I say, not as I do” Prime Minister doesn’t actually want Scotland in the UK, rather she could do without the headache of the constantly agitating Scots.
If the polls are to be believed (and in the age of Brexit and Trump we should maybe be a little more wary) then nationally May will win big, and Labour will lose big.
In Scotland there may actually be little change. Nicola Sturgeon already has a mandate to hold another referendum on independence. This election does not change that.
But make no mistake, there is a real possibility not just for pro-independence parties to pick up the most MPs, as happened last time, but a chance to kick the Tories out of Scotland. Let’s take that chance.
This party of the rape clause, of child welfare caps, of austerity, £12 billion worth of cuts to benefits, and food banks. This party of Brexit, whose local election campaign is beset by racists and Ukippers who thrive on xenophobia.
At the very least, never again will those of us who support independence let them tell us “now is not the time”.