Aisha Iqbal: The snap election is not about what Mrs May can do for the country, but what the country can do for Mrs May

The snap general election will take place on June 8
The snap general election will take place on June 8
Have your say

For the third year in a row, the country is being asked to spend its summer listening to endless debates and pollsters’ predictions, before we go to the ballot boxes en masse on June 8.

As soon as the snap General Election was announced, one thing immediately jumped into this political reporter’s mind - cancel the holiday!

It's Me That You Need: Elton John is playing Leeds's arena on June 8, meaning the General Election count has to be moved elsewhere

It's Me That You Need: Elton John is playing Leeds's arena on June 8, meaning the General Election count has to be moved elsewhere

As Leeds doesn’t have local elections this year, Mrs May’s decision has certainly ensured I’ll be having a busier ‘silly season’ than I was expecting.

I’d already started planning which corner of Leeds Arena I’ll be inhabiting for election night when Leeds council’s chief executive Tom Riordan - the city’s electoral returning officer - dropped another bombshell.

For the first time in three years, the count will not be at the first direct arena!

It turns out a certain Mr Elton John has already booked out the illustrious venue that night for a concert.

The election count will instead be split between the Town Hall and the Civic Hall.

Oh the irony! A bunch of drama queens pushed out of their preferred new election night stomping ground by the ultimate pop diva who practically invented the former term!

It got me thinking about the other similarities between pop stars and politicians.

Both live and die by public popularity and perception, their success often dependent as much on the zeitgeist as on pure talent.

Both have a love-hate relationship with the media - an uneasy but codependent existence.

Both often possess fragile egos and can make or break their careers in a single, misjudged or well-timed move.

There is a particularly unkind cliché , of course, of politicians being failed actors and celebrities.

In this age of post-celebrity, the lines have become increasingly blurred anyway.

If former Morley MP Ed Balls, it occurred to me, were to attempt a comeback in June, would his (some would say) star-making turn on Strictly Come Dancing help him waltz back into political life?

As our sitting MPs and a host of challengers get ready for the coming seven-week flurry of activity, I will be observing the battleground with interest.

But I do wish I could say I am looking forward to June 8 with the same excitement and trepidation that preceded the 2015 general election and last year’s referendum vote.

Both were significant and seminal moments which helped redefine and shift the country’s political landscape, probably for decades to come.

But what will this snap election - supported by all but 13 of the country’s sitting MPs - achieve apart from giving Theresa May the personal mandate she so desperately craves?

It smacks of something disingenuous, more a ‘what my country can do for me’ move than ‘what I can do for my country’.

The Tories appear, on the surface , unstoppable. So why this relentless pursuit of The May Supremacy as one media wag dubbed it?

For months we have been told that post EU referendum, the job ahead of us is a difficult one.

So, I’d actually quite like my elected representatives and yours to spend every minute and hour concentrating their efforts on steering us through this Brexit journey.

But instead, they will spend the next seven weeks bickering and sniping at each other.

At the end, we - the people - will be expected to just deal with whatever upheaval follows.

Elections are not there to be called for political whim and ego.

They are expensive, disruptive processes which, inevitably, stop our elected representatives getting on with the main job of Government.

Is it just me starting to feel like we, the electorate, are being taken for granted? As if last year wasn’t traumatic enough.

If Mrs May’s true intent is to unite the country and steady the ship, she has a funny way of showing it.

Regardless, I will - of course - be watching the next few weeks’ proceedings with interest and will be closely following the campaign trail in Leeds and Yorkshire.

We can all expect a whole flurry of visits to our region from key players across the parties in the run-up to the big day. The North-South divide always gets a little smaller when there is an election looming.

And I’ll be flitting between the Town Hall and Civic Hall on June 8 for the Leeds election count, while Elton John plays to an altogether different crowd over at the arena.

The question , of course, is who’ll feel the love on election night and still be standing on June 9 - and who’ll see the sun go down on their parliamentary career?

Let the battle begin.

Joseph Bravo pictured at his home at Roxholme Grove, Leeds..17th April 2018 ..Picture by Simon Hulme

Windrush child and Leeds resident denied a passport is ‘heartbroken’ after missing daughter’s wedding in Australia