Our correspondent The Rebel explains why the election date is a crucial part of the Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s strategy, in which he sees himself in the same light as Churchill.
The Rebel is a leading figure close to senior politicians in London as well as Cardiff Bay, and will always give readers the inside track on what is being discussed in the corridors of power.
The important thing to remember about this election is when it is happening.
BoJo is convinced he can trounce Jezza as is his adviser, staring-eyes Dominic Cummings.
They always wanted an election before Christmas and believe voters will batter the bearded lefty for opposing another break in the Fixed Term Parliament Act (it happened in 2017) which needed a two thirds majority, and there was even talk of the Tories joining with the Lib Dems to pass a law making it necessary to secure only a simple majority in order to break it.
But finally they got what they wanted anyway.
With an election date just before Christmas families will be paying attention to finances, which is why the spending row is so important.
It’s all planned.
Labour’s undertaker shadow chancellor John McDonnell may have described the £1.2 trillion they plan to spend as a “ludicrous piece of fake news” but that’s all grist to the mill for the Tories because it keeps the figure on the front pages.
Sajid Javid the present and probable future Chancellor, said the figures were a “reasonable” assessment of Labour’s commitments to date, and described them as “eye-watering”, but Tory high command know they are a bit dodgy.
There’s double-counting in the ‘dodgy dossier’ and sumations about what Labour would do because their manifesto hadn’t actually been published.
Boris and ole staring-eyes, were further confirmed in their view that the bearded one is almost certainly a defeated man by the announcement from Nigel Farage that his Brexit party will not contest 317 Tory-held seats.
The grinning chump still gave out fighting talk but everyone knew the game was up for his party when he said: “We will concentrate our total effort into all the seats that are held by the Labour party, who have completely broken their manifesto pledge in 2017 to respect the result of the referendum, and we will also take on the rest of the Remainer parties. We will stand up and fight them all”.
The Tories of course want even more and there’s a spat over that.
Conspiracy theories are also playing a part in this election.
The BBC wrongly showed last year’s clip of a rumpled then Foreign Secretary Bojo laying a wreath upside down at the Remembrance day tributes at the Cenotaph.
A former aide to the bearded lefty with a big following on the left tweeted: “Why does this keep happening, I wonder?” This was retweeted by the influential Momentum organisation (which effectively made the bearded lefty do better than expected last time) to its 140,000 followers.
On Tuesday Labour announced a “large scale and sophisticated” cyberattack on its computer systems.
Immediately several Labour figures speculated on the perpetrator.
“My, my” tweeted the Labour candidate Clive Lewis, “dirty tricks have come a long way from tearing down Labour garden boards. Yet another reason the withheld ‘Russian Report’ should be released immediately”.
That report into Russian interference in British politics was compiled by the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee, approved by the intelligence agencies and sent to Downing Street a month ago.
But despite the protestations of the committee chairman, Dominic Grieve, it will not be published until after the election. No one seems to know why but The Sunday Times last weekend carried a story on how the report named nine Russian business figures who donate to the Tory party.
This all added fuel to the conspiracy fire.
In fact the ‘cyberattack’ on Labour turns out not to have been particularly large or sophisticated. And from Vladimir Putin’s point of view it could seem a toss-up as to which of the two main party leaders — the anti-Europe Johnson or the anti-Nato Corbyn — he’d most like to see in power.
But it is the polls that will most please Boris – they put the Tories between 10 and 14 points ahead of Labour.
In the latest one it shows that Brexit is still the achilles heel for Labour, with the Remain vote splitting more equally between Labour and the Lib Dems, whereas the Leave vote overwhelmingly goes to the Tories.
Moreover, voters are still confused about Labour’s position on Brexit, with only a third of those polled agreeing that they have a good understanding of Labour’s Brexit policy.
Conversely, around half of British adults agree they feel they have a good understanding of the Conservatives, Lib Dems or the Brexit Party’s Brexit policy (53 percent, 49 percent and 48 percent respectively).
The most pleasing aspect for Bojo, though, comes with the knowledge that British adults who voted Conservative in 2017 are more likely to say they would prefer a Tory-led Government after next month’s election than those who voted Labour in 2017 would say about a Labour-led Government (80 percent vs. 67 percent respectively).
Meanwhile he has been busy making sure the Tory party is now the party of Leave.
Analysis by The Times of the 51 seats won by the Conservatives at the last election where the sitting MP subsequently quit or defected has found that at least 16 Remainer politicians are to be replaced by Conservatives who backed Leave in the 2016 referendum.
Those being replaced by committed Brexiteers include several of the MPs who had the whip withdrawn for opposing a no-deal Brexit.
But it isn’t good news for the bearded one who has a long history of Euro-scepticism.
The Labour benches are likely to be more intensely pro-Remain after the General Election. So far, 136 of the party’s parliamentary candidates have signed a pledge to campaign for Remain in any second referendum. Among their number are 61 candidates who were not MPs in the last parliament.
Of the 39 new Labour candidates in seats the party won in 2017, only two are known to have voted to leave the EU in 2016.
But that will all be good news for Boris, as he tries to take on the ‘red wall’ of Labour seats in the north of England.
The more that Labour are seen to be a party of Remain the better for him.
This latest ‘new’ policy of offering broadband to everyone could backfire for Jezza too.
The Times are spinning it that billions in public money will have to be spent in ‘nationalising’ BT’s Openreach to offer broadband, and voters may not like that.
The timing is coming good for Boris – it’s all part of the plan.
Our Editor Phil Parry’s memories of an extraordinary life in journalism before he was gripped by the incurable disabling condition Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP), have been released in a major new book ‘A Good Story’. Order the book now. The picture doubles as a cut-and-paste poster!