So this is what the New Politics looks like. The Independent Group of Labour quitters have already become mired in a ‘funny tinge’ racism row; their website (according to Skwawkbox) has been set up using a business in tax haven Panama, and their website declares the backing of a company ‘Gemini A Ltd’ which was only incorporated on the 16th January this year, of which there is only one director, namely Gavin Shuker MP, one of these self-declared New Politicians. Presumably Gemini A Ltd will become a conduit of funds, but we won’t know until next year when its first accounts become due. There was no definition of the New Politics at the press launch of the seven deadly sins yesterday, so what may we speculate could they look like?
I suppose their main contention will be that they stand above party and in the national interest – they will be crossing their fingers (if not the floor) that they will be joined by some renegade Tories. This would give them a claim to ‘consensus.’ Unfortunately, because they have called themselves ‘independent’ they have logically ruled out the possibility of themselves becoming a party. How could they be independent and above party politics if they form their own party? The only way they could survive as a cohesive group if they weren’t structured in the form of a party would be if they all had identical views on everything – or allowed themselves what one might call an open marriage, where anything goes. The latter formulation would be unable to function in any kind of leadership role, and to govern a country of 66 million people does in my mind require leadership.
Perhaps the New Politics could manage with continual consultative mechanisms. This lot do after all insist on having a second Brexit referendum. But where would that lead? There may be some methods of consultation which are useful, e.g. Gordon Brown and others have spoken of Citizen Assemblies, but there was no mention of anything like that in yesterday’s launch of the ‘New Politics.’
It is curious that these seven have turned their back on what has become Europe’s largest political party, and one which had the biggest swing in a general election since the 1940s. I was going to quote here something they said in their online statement about respecting democracy (but not why they won’t be submitting themselves to by-elections) but unfortunately their website has crashed. That’s maybe a relief – they may have second thoughts about using the internet as a democracy tool.
There is something revolting about MPs who revolt against their party and then proclaim they are the harbingers of a ‘new politics.’ Most of this lot already had or faced no-confidence motions in their constituencies. They are very definitely representatives of an old politics.