DEMAND AN END TO POVERTY THIS GENERAL ELECTION
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Opinion

There's so many questions needing answers this general election it's hard to zone in on just one

At Big Issue, we’re ready to speak for those who have their voice quietened or feel left behind. It will be an election of change. And we will work to make it positive

Rishi Sunak calling a July 4 general election on May 22

Image: James Veysey/Shutterstock

It was like transfer deadline day.

Everywhere, on Wednesday, there was fevered speculation about whether or not a general election would be called. And when I say EVERYWHERE, I mean on some Twitter accounts that then copied other Twitter accounts. But it gave political and lobby correspondents a chance to talk like they had the inside line. Except it frequently came off more like a bloke sending a message to Sky Sports that his cousin, who works baggage handling at Manchester Airport, had just seen Mbappe buy the Daily Mirror as he waited for a taxi, so he was DEFINITELY signing for City. Transmuted to Westminster, it meant a reporter saying, I had been due to meet a senior minister for a coffee and HE HAS JUST CANCELLED!

The speculation played out this time. The PM decided not to wait on multiple Rwandan flights or further drops in inflation or changes to NHS waiting lists or a hope that there would be an English buoyancy and good feeling if the English national team did well in the Euros (clearly little faith in Southgate). Instead cashed his chips and decided to let us all decide. Maybe he’d a fortnight in Florida in August booked and didn’t want to miss it.

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Calling it for early July, just after Scottish schools break and many parents are trying to save some money on a holiday for which they’ve been waiting all year, before chiselling prices hit in, doesn’t exactly show a great deal of respect for the Scottish electorate. Or indeed any great concern for their votes.

The announcement came on the same day the government launched a new website with guidance on how to prepare for an emergency “such as flooding, fires and power cuts”. They advise, just for the home (there is other gear needed to keep in the boot of your car): getting a battery or wind-up torch; a portable power bank; battery or wind-up radio; a first aid kit (including tweezers); hand sanitiser or wet wipes; bottled water (up to 10 litres per day); non-perishable food (including a tin opener and something for pets); baby supplies. The general election campaign is going to be a gas!

More telling, the announcement allowed the press to move focus from shamed former post office boss Paula Vennells as she was quizzed at the post office inquiry. All those years the sub-postmasters waited to have her exposed to the public glare to see if she’d take finally responsibility for so much that was ruined, and off she pops, quietly, thanks to a prime minister who gave up. Perhaps the buck passing that has marked the statements of post office senior management during their appearances will be called out in the inquiry findings. At some point somebody will be held accountable.

That may not be a campaign topic. There are so many questions that need answered that it will be hard to zone in on just one. So much for the Renters Reform Bill!

At Big Issue, we’re ready to speak for those who have their voice quietened or feel left behind. It will be a general election of change. And we will work to make it positive.

Paul McNamee is editor of the Big IssueRead more of his columns here. Follow him on Twitter.

A version of this article is taken from The Big Issue magazine, which exists to give homeless, long-term unemployed and marginalised people the opportunity to earn an income. To support our work buy a copy!

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