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As of this writing (5:00am BST, June 9, 2017) election results for the UK General Election are beginning to trickle-in and pundits are lining up to lambaste Prime Minister Theresa May for calling a snap election while in majority government, and then losing the majority just as the UK is poised to head into Brexit negotiations.
‘Oh yes. She fumbled it. Absolutely.’ Said every headline.
And on the surface, that’s what it looks like.
Surely, any majority government that calls an election they don’t need, becoming a minority government in the process, are losers. What else could it be?
But what if Theresa May is smarter than pundits realize?
Short-term pain, for long-term gain?
Maybe. She’s a shrewd operator. Although she can seem cold, standoffish, and even awkward in certain situations, it also seems she’s a patriot who was willing to ‘take a hit for the team’ in order to realize her dream of ‘Building a Better Britain’.
What if everything she’s done has been done with great purpose and resolve, balancing huge risk to her standing as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and to her party fortunes in order to accomplish some great goal that will eventually result in a better Britain?
What if Theresa May has been playing chess whilst everyone else has been playing checkers?
Viewing the UK through a Prime Minister’s lens
Holding a snap election vs. not holding a snap election.
What would be the point of staging a successful getaway from the European Union, and then with the SNP still powerful because it was holding 56 seats, the SNP decided to take Scotland out of the United Kingdom via (post-Brexit) Indyref after Indyref?
Wouldn’t it follow that either Northern Ireland or Wales might then consider staging their own independence referendums and possibly leave the United Kingdom?
What if both devolved territories followed Scotland out of the United Kingdom?
Suddenly, there would be no more ‘United’ in the name United Kingdom, only England remaining.
At that point, the European Union would probably prevail upon the newly independent territories to join the EU — and if successful at that, the EU would become emboldened to invite London into the EU family by promoting London referendum after London referendum.
Had Theresa May not called a snap election, she might have left the SNP in a powerful position, with Scotland leaving the UK (post-Brexit) and the SNP inviting both Northern Ireland and Wales to leave the UK with Scotland.
Such are the matters that keep Prime Ministers awake at night.
Trading a majority, for a Kingdom that remains United
It appears that Theresa May knew what she was doing all along — she chanced losing a majority in the House of Commons for a chance to stick it to the SNP.
Yes, it cost her. But because of the 2017 election results the SNP is now a weaker force, with much less momentum than it had pre-election. Momentum that could have been used in the immediate post-Brexit timeframe to break up the United Kingdom.
Such is the nature of strategy; In order to safeguard the ‘United’ part of the name ‘United Kingdom’ Theresa May used her tactical assets to accomplish those goals.
And that’s the difference between strategists and tacticians. Master strategists like Winston Churchill won WWII, but were forced to expend many of their tactical assets to do so.
(Read about the Battle of Britain to fully understand how this played out in WWII. Many times it may have looked like Britain was losing the war, or at least taking a severe beating, when in fact Winston was setting the Nazis up for later defeat. And he did it in broad daylight, right under everyone’s noses, including his own staff)
Is Theresa May that good? In broad daylight, quite under everyone’s noses, did May just save us from a SNP-led break up of the United Kingdom in the post-Brexit period?
Let the facts speak for themselves
Prime Minister Theresa May spent some of her chips in order to take down the SNP — the same SNP that represented the number one threat to the UK remaining united in a post-Brexit Europe.
Now that the SNP has lost a significant number of seats to Labour and Conservatives alike, the SNP is no longer the threat to UK continuity, harmony, and stability it once was.
In baseball parlance, this is known as a ‘force play‘ when the base runner is in a position to score a point and is forced by the playmaker to run towards home plate knowing full well they’ll be ‘tagged out’ in the process.
If that’s what Theresa May is up to, she’s playing the game of politics at a level far above the understanding of her critics, and it also means she’s a true British patriot, a citizen par excellence, of a permanently United Kingdom.
Having weakened the greatest potential threat to UK unity in decades, the noble Theresa May can now proceed with a safe Brexit — a Brexit where the United Kingdom doesn’t risk losing Scotland, or Northern Ireland, or Wales, in the process.
Well done, Theresa! Right… under… their… noses!
In a surprise statement from Number 10 Downing Street, UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced her courageous decision to go to the polls on June 8, 2017 which will ensure stability as Brexit negotiations begin.
“I have just chaired a meeting of the Cabinet, where we agreed that the Government should call a general election, to be held on June 8.
I want to explain the reasons for that decision, what will happen next and the choice facing the British people when you come to vote in this election.
Last summer, after the country voted to leave the European Union, Britain needed certainty, stability and strong leadership, and since I became Prime Minister the Government has delivered precisely that.
Despite predictions of immediate financial and economic danger, since the referendum we have seen consumer confidence remain high, record numbers of jobs, and economic growth that has exceeded all expectations.
We have also delivered on the mandate that we were handed by the referendum result.
Britain is leaving the European Union and there can be no turning back. And as we look to the future, the Government has the right plan for negotiating our new relationship with Europe. We want a deep and special partnership between a strong and successful European Union and a United Kingdom that is free to chart its own way in the world.
That means we will regain control of our own money, our own laws and our own borders and we will be free to strike trade deals with old friends and new partners all around the world.
This is the right approach, and it is in the national interest. But the other political parties oppose it. At this moment of enormous national significance there should be unity here in Westminster, but instead there is division. The country is coming together, but Westminster is not.
In recent weeks Labour has threatened to vote against the deal we reach with the European Union.
The Liberal Democrats have said they want to grind the business of government to a standsill.
The Scottish National Party say they will vote against the legislation that formally repeals Britain’s membership of the European Union.
And unelected members of the House of Lords have vowed to fight us every step of the way.
Our opponents believe that because the Government’s majority is so small, our resolve will weaken and that they can force us to change course. They are wrong.
They underestimate our determination to get the job done and I am not prepared to let them endanger the security of millions of working people across the country.” — Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Theresa May (April 18, 2017)