Mrs May’s decision to call a snap general election is not very welcome, and I had thought she would think it too risky, but it makes sense — obviously because of Jeremy Corbyn and, a bit less obviously, because of public attitudes to her. She has brilliantly convinced people that she is a straightforward, unpolitical person who doesn’t descend to political games. This is untrue. She is, however, a person without childish vanity, celebrity hunger or media obsession. She benefits from a big cultural change, which descends from Mrs Thatcher, via all sorts of others — Angela Merkel, Ruth Davidson, Nicola Sturgeon. Women are now seen as stronger, more real and less silly than men. This is an old folk wisdom, but it only recently became the orthodoxy in politics. It is hard to beat.
I suppose opposition parties feel they must say that Mrs May is trying to get a majority for ‘hard’ Brexit. The opposite is the truth, however. One of the problems she has with her existing small majority is that it gives leverage to out-and-out Brexiteers (or, as some prefer to call them, the head-bangers). If she gets the large majority which she seeks and which the polls imply, she will feel free to ditch the full English Brexit if need be. Those who want a clear Brexit will have to make sure it is stated in the manifesto. Otherwise victory will permit Mrs May to choose whichever Continental option she prefers.
This is an extract from Charles Moore’s column, which appears in this week’s Spectator