Time for a new political party?

This post was written 6 months ago and therefore may not be as accurate as more recent posts.

I have long argued that it is only a matter of time before the Labour Party comes to its senses, ditches Jeremy Corbyn, and more importantly the politics he represents; and puts someone in charge who will re-connect with enough of the electorate to make it look like they at least have a chance of winning a General Election.

However, the bigger the hole Corbyn and his gang dig, the more challenging that task becomes. His most recent balls-up, supporting the government’s triggering of Article 50, has even alienated some of his previously loyal allies.

For many voters now, it must feel like they cannot genuinely support any party with enthusiasm. But it is fair to say that Theresa May and the Tory Party are seen as the best of a bad bunch.

With only seven MPs and a weak leader, the Liberal Democrats are struggling to breakthrough. UKIP grab more headlines than votes, with the leadership of Paul Nutall likely to see the party suffer more week’s like the one they have just endured. And, as discussed, Labour is a busted flush.

So, what is the alternative? I have never been convinced about the argument, sometimes promoted by my good colleague Jim Hancock, that there needs to be a realignment of the left.

Put simply, this would see Labour, the Lib Dems, the Greens and the Nationalists in Scotland and Wales come to an agreement whereby only the strongest challenger to the Tories in each parliamentary constituency stands a candidate. Clearly, this would also inevitably lead to an electoral pact in terms of government arrangements too.

Put aside, for a moment, the deep tribal and emotional attachment that many members in each of these parties hold. Is it really the case that all those disillusioned Labour voters are looking for a movement that is more committed to an environmentally-friendly agenda; or indeed to constitutional reform, which is where the Lib Dems tend to be big?

I doubt it. I think that many people, disillusioned Labour voters and reluctant Tories, are searching for a party that realigns the centre. Right Wing Labourites, and what Mrs Thatcher used to lovingly describe as Tory ‘Wets’.

The last breakaway party to be born out of the Labour Party was the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the early eighties, and this is used as the key warning to those within the ranks of the existing Labour membership who flirt which such a notion today.

However, the SDP set out a strategy of appealing to the centre -left, failing to make a concerted attempt to woo the many anti-Thatcherites within the Conservative ranks at the time.

Would the SDP have disintegrated had David Owen, Roy Jenkins, Shirley Williams, Ken Clarke and Michael Heseltine formed a ‘Gang of Five’ I wonder?

In 2017, a returning David Miliband would, I am sure, not take too much convincing to join the Northern Powerhouse Partnership Think Tank, headed up by George Osborne. And if these two big beasts could work together on such an important strategy as this, then why not other issues too?

Far -fetched? Maybe. But then who would have predicted Brexit and Trump this time last year?

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