My thoughts so far:
1. The timing is reasonably good before Brexit negotiations start in earnest. We are likely to lose a few weeks, and Article 50 day would have been a better choice on this count.
2. The PM is going on about the strength of her position, and how important this is in negotiations. There’s a certain amount of bluster here. A successful election reinforces her position in the House of Commons – it does nothing to induce EU governments to give us what we want.
3. The Tories are complaining about opposition existing and opposing. This must mean the SNP and the Lib Dems, because Labour are doing none of it. Perhaps she has been inspired by the abolition of parliamentary democracy in Turkey. She says there is unity in the country in favour of her Brexit agenda (which there clearly isn’t) and therefore there ought to be unity in the House. But the majority she already has in the house of commons gives a PM powers under our constitution beyond what you would expect under any modern constitution with checks and balances. If we take it seriously, this argument should terrify us.
4. May complains about the House of Lords not having a Tory majority. This is a peculiar reason to call an election for the Commons and not for the Lords.
5. Battlebus expenses, anyone? A couple of dozen Tory seats were at risk of legal challenge due to failure to declare battlebus related expenses and that would have wiped out the government majority. This can now be quietly forgotten.
6. The point of the Fixed Term Parliament Act is to take this decision out of the PM’s hands. Labour is entitled, if it wishes, to demand a slower timetable if the PM appears to choose a date for party advantage. However they would be unwise to do so on this occasion because of the Brexit timetable.
7. It is going to be tough for anybody to eat into the Tories’ advantage in the polls. Lib Dems stand a good chance of winning back many seats lost in 2015, and a few not held in 2010, but Labour are likely to lose more. We can send a message against Brexit/Hard Brexit by voting Lib Dem and a strong liberal performance in Tory heartlands may give May pause for thought on hard Brexit even if she wins a larger majority.
8. The SNP fear message that won the critical mass of soft Lib Dem and Labour voters over to the Tories in England in 2015 will be used again, and will still be effective. And there’s a Corbyn fear message too. Lib Dems should move swiftly to rule out supporting any SNP/Corbyn type government while backing co-operation with moderate Tory and Labour remainers where they can be peeled off. It will be hard to say this loudly enough for it to get through but we must try.
9. I didn’t think this would happen. Labour won’t get its act together until they lose at least two General Elections and the Tories had no need to make this happen any sooner. This is likely to be the end of Corbyn, but the Labour Party membership has still been taken over by socialists and a hammering in June is not going to fix that.
* Joe Otten is a councillor in Sheffield and Tuesday editor of Liberal Democrat Voice.