On April 18, British prime minister Theresa May walked out onto the steps of 10 Downing Street and surprised the country by announcing a snap general election, to take place in a matter of weeks.
Just two years after the last election and less than a year after the EU referendum, British voters are to head to the polls once more. This after May had repeatedly insisted that she would not call a vote before the planned date of 2020.
So why the change of heart? Many point to her party’s huge lead in the polls and say it’s political opportunism. The prime minister insists that an election is in the national interest, to give the successful party a firm mandate as it goes into crucial Brexit negotiations.
Either way, the unsuspecting electorate has just a few short weeks to get to grips with the decision ahead of them – and many of us are already feeling the strain.
Even while most people are still digesting the news that we’re having an election at all, the politicians are already out knocking on doors. Leaflets are flying off the printers, candidates being selected in a hurry and manifestos cobbled together in the wee small hours. You might say it’s a bit of a rush job.
That’s why here at The Conversation we have decided to put together a weekly podcast to bring you expert analysis of all the important goings on.
Each week, two academic experts will join me, Laura Hood, politics editor at The Conversation UK, to discuss the key election issues. We’ll of course be talking about Brexit, but we also want to get to grips with the kinds of issues you’d normally expect to hear about in an election, like the state of the economy and what each party has to say about immigration, the NHS and schools. We’ll keep you updated on who’s ahead in the polls. And we’ll also cut through the spin of what’s dominating the headlines.
If you’re feeling election fatigue already, don’t worry, we’re here to bring you the information you really need ahead of June 8. So tune in every Thursday to Election Weekly for everything you need to know about the general election 2017.
Music in Election Weekly is Chasin’ It, by Jason Shaw. A big thank you to City University London’s Department of Journalism for letting us use their studios.