7 Tory Labour MPs left the party on Monday, forming the Independent Group.
It’s unclear what they’re standing for. They’re obviously against Corbynism, but their own position seems rather nebulous. As this article says: they’re not actually a party yet, they describe their platform with vague principles rather than policy proposals (‘It is time we dumped this country’s old-fashioned politics and created an alternative that does justice to who we are today’), and, as member Angela Smith said, they’re ‘sensible’ and ‘centrist’.
Thank heavens someone’s finally there for the silent majority of Brits, crying out for a less exhilarating version of the Lib Dems.
Corbyn’s economic and foreign policy is too hard-left: despite it generating a surge in membership and the largest increase in vote share since Attlee, people won’t vote for that! The one policy this fresh new group are probably concrete on – a second referendum – is by their own admission mathematically impossible to get through the Commons. But it must be really popular with the public, because the Lib Dems are at double digits in some of the polls.
Chris Leslie said that Labour had been ‘hijacked by the machine politics of the hard left’. When a party swells to half a million members, who hit the streets door-knocking to help earn you a seat, and increase your majority, speaking of that as hijacking is… a bit churlish? Shouldn’t any politician want their party to be popular? For heaven’s sake, be glad about it and work together against the Tories!
But, in good old democracy when convenient style, the Independent Group are happy to keep the seats Labour voters and members put them into. ‘By-elections are not what are needed right now’, Leslie says. Not needed by who? Not the voters who elected him under a Labour ticket, that’s for sure.
They’ve already torpedoed any moral authority they might have had. It takes some really powerful galaxy-brains to leave a party because a small proportion of its half a million members are racist, and within hours of your launch have one of your seven members describing POC as ‘black or a funny tinge.’ The totally not racist party – well, only 14% of them. And however flawed Labour’s procedures might be, at least it has them!
Well, we’ll see how many votes they scrounge up. And from who.