With people in Greater Manchester still trying to get their heads around the unwanted and uncalled for election for a Greater Manchester Mayor on May 4th, today Theresa May called a General Election on June 8th, which still has to be ratified by Parliament but looks set to go ahead.
The General Election is a complete U-turn by the Tories, after stating that there wouldn't be an election until 2020, and University of Salford 'politics and business experts' have been giving their reactions...
Dr Ben Williams, a tutor in Politics and Political Theory, argues that Prime Minister Theresa May and the Tories, with opinion polls hinting at a 21-point lead over Labour, "ultimately appear to be acting in a ruthless and opportunistic manner...
"They may never have better circumstances in which to secure a firm grip on power, and at the same time cause the Labour Party significant and long-term damage when it appears to be at its weakest and most divided point under a struggling leader" he adds "On this basis, this decision could be seen as one driven by selfish party interests rather than national ones."
Professor Karl Dayson, Director of Politics and Contemporary History at Salford Uni, insists that "May will be seeking to replicate Tony Blair's achievement of 1997 with over 400 seats and a majority of 178. This seems entirely possible given current polling".
Dayson adds that the Labour Party "has no clear message on the key issue of the day – Brexit – and has a leader unable to communicate and connect with the public...They are reliant on their core voters' cultural and economic commitment to Labour. This will save them from being wiped out, but not from getting fewer than 200 seats.
"General Election campaigns rarely change the underlying fundamentals, so I would expect a Conservative majority in excess of 150 seats and Labour reduced to less than 200 MPs" he adds "Only the Lib Dem vote could upset the apple cart and that depends on the election turning into a re-run of the referendum. The clarity of their position means they are well positioned to benefit from any 'Remain' voter backlash.
"A sense of fatigue among the public could intensify, and having been through the Scottish independent vote in 2014, the General Election in 2015, EU referendum in 2016 and now another general election in 2017" he decides "I suspect this will suppress turnout possibly below the 59.4 per cent of 2001."
Meanwhile, Dr Gordon Fletcher, Business and Retail expert at the Uni, is staying pretty much on the fence... "May's gamble is a straightforward one" he says "If the Conservatives win with an increased majority the ability to pursue their own agenda around Brexit, the NHS and even tougher economic policies is cleared.
"If the tactic does not succeed the election will almost certainly produce a complex coalition that will create new uncertainties for business, the process of Brexit and at least four years of ever more complex foreign relations with the US" he adds.
Dr Muhammad Amjad, expert in International Strategy at the Uni, argues that the snap General Election "opens up the black box, whether Brexit will actually happen and whether the public sentiment is still in favour of a hard Brexit.
"In the longer term context, it is a correct decision so that the Government ticks all the boxes of public confidence and Parliamentary strength to enable strong, and singular minded Brexit that is also implementable across all aspects of trade, immigration, and cross border relationships" he adds "A right decision, albeit a little late!"
Are these 'politics and business experts' correct? One thing that the Salford Star will predict is that the Labour Party will definitely retain all three of its MPs in Salford. But that doesn't really matter in the scheme of things – all General Elections come down to the few dozen swing seats in middle England.
Meanwhile the Greater Manchester Mayor election struggles on...