The etiquette of a general election requires opposition parties to welcome it.
It’s supposed to bring to a head years of public animosity with the governing party, allowing the opposition to channel the hopes and desire for change of frustrated voters.
Fat chance of any of that happening on June 8th.
Theresa May’s snap general election is a chance to grind Labour’s face into the dirt.
This is a bid for naked political advantage. Party before country.
Alas, it was made inevitable from the moment Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour party.
Labour’s lurch to the barren shores of the hard left made this election an irresistible prospect.
Sure, Theresa May has a point about wanting a strengthened mandate from the voters for the tough Brexit negotiations to come, but it’s a fig-leaf. A secondary excuse.
Despite the public front that it welcomes the election, Labour is reeling. There is no prospect of anything other than a drubbing.
And everyone knows it.
Indeed, insult will be added to injury midway through this campaign when we’ll see the twentieth anniversary of Labour’s 1997 landslide on May 1st 1997. Back then, Labour won a parliamentary majority of 179.
Now, it will now be lucky if it can now hold that number of seats.
Plenty perfectly decent Labour MPs are about to pay the price for Jeremy Corbyn’s personal unpopularity and eager embrace of the desiccated corpse of hard left gesture politics.
Although the party has claimed to be on election footing for a while – and with the influx of new members is financially well placed to fight a campaign – Labour candidates are marching headlong into the Valley of Death.
Even Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, recently conceded it will take two years for the party to rebuild in the polls from two years of infighting.
Labour now has less than two months.
There is only one thing the party can realistically hope for; that its core vote is stronger than Westminster chatterers assume.
And the only glimmer of hope is that Labour’s existential psychodrama is now brought to a head.
Instead of waiting until 2020, Labour has the chance to rebuild earlier than predicted. Cold comfort.
Other than that, this is Labour’s darkest hour.