Splitters or those taking a principled stand

Confirmation has come through this morning that 7 Labour MPs are to leave the party in order to establish an Independent Group. It seems to me that, faced with a choice between sticking to principles or sticking to the party, they have chosen to stick their principles; principles that the party has abandoned.

This is symptomatic of the (re)new(ed) divisions in British politics. But what hope might the 7 have of bringing any others along (from the moderate/centrist parts of the other parties) or of winning any future elections in their constituencies?

We live a political age of chaos and disruption. Is this where the future leadership of the country is, or is this to be a short-lived movement, ready to fall down the chasm between the more extreme/hard sides of the political divide?

«13

Comments

  • Can anyone explain just what dissatisfaction with Labour's Brexit policy this might involve? (I get the anti-Semitism aspect, but the BBC's coverage of the former just leaves me confused. Perhaps this is because Labour's Brexit policy is itself confused).
  • Eutychus wrote: »
    Can anyone explain just what dissatisfaction with Labour's Brexit policy this might involve? (I get the anti-Semitism aspect, but the BBC's coverage of the former just leaves me confused. Perhaps this is because Labour's Brexit policy is itself confused).

    I think it is about a second referendum.
  • Sipech wrote: »
    Confirmation has come through this morning that 7 Labour MPs are to leave the party in order to establish an Independent Group. It seems to me that, faced with a choice between sticking to principles or sticking to the party, they have chosen to stick their principles; principles that the party has abandoned.

    This is symptomatic of the (re)new(ed) divisions in British politics. But what hope might the 7 have of bringing any others along (from the moderate/centrist parts of the other parties) or of winning any future elections in their constituencies?

    We live a political age of chaos and disruption. Is this where the future leadership of the country is, or is this to be a short-lived movement, ready to fall down the chasm between the more extreme/hard sides of the political divide?

    I think it is basically an admission that we are heading for a cliff with Brexit and the opposition (official and unofficial) is hamstrung by party loyalties in actually doing anything substantive to stop it.

    I wouldn't be surprised to see this group grow, but I think they are most likely going to be crushed at the next election, so they are basically ending their own political careers by doing this.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Eutychus wrote: »
    Can anyone explain just what dissatisfaction with Labour's Brexit policy this might involve? (I get the anti-Semitism aspect, but the BBC's coverage of the former just leaves me confused. Perhaps this is because Labour's Brexit policy is itself confused).
    @Eutychus the BBC's coverage leaves you confused because Labour policy is itself confused, and inconsistent with itself.

    As a summary for someone who is abroad, Corbyn is personally a committed Brexitist but unwilling to admit it publicly. However, quite a lot of the key players in his party think Brexit is a lunatic disaster. They also think that it's possible that public opinion may have swung sufficiently that if there were another referendum it might go the other way, which would get the country out of a ghastly hole of its own making.

    The only bit of Labour Party policy that is clear is that they have laid down 6 tests that any Brexit must meet for them to support it. Neither No Deal nor Mrs May's deal meet those tests. Indeed, the only thing that's actually capable of doing so in the real world is staying in the EU.

    However, Corbyn also wants a General Election which he wants to win because he wants the power to impose his rather dreary Walter Ulbricht vision of society on the rest of us. He doesn't want a fresh referendum because that still leaves him leader of the opposition, a job he's done so feebly that despite the mess the government is making, he might not even win a general election. He knows that to do that, he needs the votes of a lot of traditional Labour voters - voters, not party members - who he thinks are bone-headed Leavers who will vote for someone else if his party comes down as either unequivocally Remain or in favour of a second referendum.

    He also probably wants the election to be after the UK has left the EU so that he can blame the Conservatives for the political and economic mayhem that has caused, but be safely in a situation where it is too late for him to be expected to do anything about it.

    So like Mrs May, he is kicking the can down the road, but for different reasons and based on different calculations.

    Is that any clearer? No, I thought not.
  • I don't really get what the magnificent 7 will do now. I suppose they can vote against Labour amendments, or for Tory measures. Probably, the end of their careers.
  • They could join the Green Party......

    I'll get me coat.
  • Perhaps more seriously, they could join the LibDems. Talk of a new "Centre Party" seems to me to be a bonkers idea. And splitting Labour, or allowing it to move further Left, effectively give the Tories an unassailable advantage in the next election.
  • Vince Cable left the Labour Party to the SDP, it didn't end his career. So, career ending isn't a foregone conclusion.
  • I suppose they could support austerity measures by govt. How will their constituents feel?
  • I suppose they could support austerity measures by govt. How will their constituents feel?
    I strongly doubt they would support any of the inhumane austerity measures implemented by the Conservatives. There are already calls for them to stand in a by-election - mostly being made by those who want to purify the Labour party, making it as narrow a church as possible.

  • They could join the Green Party......

    I'll get me coat.

    Bad form to quote oneself, I think, but I wasn't being entirely frivolous. ISTM that the policies of the Green Party are quite sane, and forward-looking, so a boost to such qualities would not go amiss.

    Except that it would, in the insane politics of this rapidly darkening and sinking island...


  • Enoch wrote: »
    Is that any clearer? No, I thought not.
    Not sure, but I like your post and I'm pretty sure I agree with what you say!
  • Nothing is clear in this Murky Miasmic Mess, but yes, I think Enoch may be right.
  • Not correct about 6 tests in Labour Brexit policy, is he? The letter to May listed 5, and I think the one dropped was about living standards.
  • No it wasn't. It was about delivering the "exact same benefits" as the EU. Quite unrealistic, so presumably dropped to indicate serious offer to negotiate.
  • I'm feeling a bit on the lazy side tonight. Could someone with an interest in the topic provide me with the strongest piece of evidence demonstrating anti-semitism in the Labour Party under Corbyn?

    And, yes, I know there is already a thread on that somewhere, so I promise not to hijack this one with debate on the issue.
  • There is "talk" of pro-Remain Tory MPs joing the Independent Group. To be honest, I doubt that this will actually happen. Tories have always been notorious for staying "loyal".

    At the moment, May will be rubbing her hands with glee. If Labour now descends into division and argument, she will think that all she needs to do is continue to play for time and at the last minute even the wavering Remainers (who won't jump ship after all) will buckle to avoid No Deal.

    This split actually decreases the chance of a second referendum - which is one of the Independent Group's main aims.
  • Yes, I keep seeing that argument on the interwobble. I think Peston is talking it up. It's difficult to predict, but Firefly's argument looks reasonable to me.
  • Rufus T FireflyRufus T Firefly Shipmate
    edited February 2019
    On further thought, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see May try to dissolve Parliament and go for a snap general election. She would be confident of getting an increased majority to push through her deal. The EU would probably allow an extension to A50 to allow a GE if it offered a reasonable chance of breaking the present logjamb in the UK parliament.

    Tories of all hues have always understood the principle of "if your opponent is down, kick them hard in the goolies".
  • On further thought, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see May try to dissolve Parliament and go for a snap general election. She would be confident of getting an increased majority to push through her deal. The EU would probably allow an extension to A50 to allow a GE if it offered a reasonable chance of breaking the present logjamb in the UK parliament.

    She tried that once before - it landed her in this mess.

  • On further thought, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see May try to dissolve Parliament and go for a snap general election. She would be confident of getting an increased majority to push through her deal. The EU would probably allow an extension to A50 to allow a GE if it offered a reasonable chance of breaking the present logjamb in the UK parliament.

    Tories of all hues have always understood the principle of "if your opponent is down, kick them hard in the goolies".

    At a guess, she's going to call a GE after Brexit day. If she gets her deal passed, she'll try to sell it to the people as how she as PM has been able to be resolute and avoid a crisis.

    If she doesn't, no doubt she'll be blaming Labour.

    But whatever happens, it is hard to see her government surviving - as I'd expect MPs from whichever end of her party which 'lost' to leave in a huff.

    Which is terrible, really. To go off the Brexit cliff and then to have the uncertainty of a GE would be utterly chaotic :grimace:
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    edited February 2019

    Tories of all hues have always understood the principle of "if your opponent is down, kick them hard in the goolies".

    In fariness to Tories, that's pretty much a basic rule of politics. Not too many politicans are going to say "Well, I could use this approach and really damage my opponents, but they're in such pitiful shape right now, it just wouldn't be the sporting thing to do."

    And of course the Westminster System, in giving the government the exclusive authority over when to call an election, is pretty much just an open-invitation to that. Though you do have to worry about the VOTERS getting ticked off if they think the election was called for dubious reasons.

  • She'll resign in the summer and call a general election. The line will be that it was her job to deliver Brexit and that now the job is done, it's time for post Brexit Britain to be shaped anew. This will be when Boris Johnson decides that the ball has come out the back of the scrum.

    Those who have left will face a battle to keep their seats. I fear they may go the way of Mark Reckless who, in a stunning move of nominative determinism, quit the Conservatives for UKIP and then promptly lost his seat, never to be heard of in politics again. Meanwhile, Labour will fail to win a majority but hail the election a great success anyway and further vilify anyone who points out any flaws in their Great Leader.
  • Sipech wrote: »

    Those who have left will face a battle to keep their seats. I fear they may go the way of Mark Reckless who, in a stunning move of nominative determinism, quit the Conservatives for UKIP and then promptly lost his seat, never to be heard of in politics again.

    Ahem. He's a Member of the Welsh Assembly - so not quite disappeared.
  • I was in a meeting last week with someone who does a lot for the BBC. He said the current scuttle but there is (or was, as it seems to change a fair bit) election May 2nd. You heard it here first...
  • stetson wrote: »
    Not too many politicans are going to say "Well, I could use this approach and really damage my opponents, but they're in such pitiful shape right now, it just wouldn't be the sporting thing to do."
    Though, that does seem to be the approach of Jeremy Corbyn. The Tories in total disarray, and he's refused to put the boot in.

  • Splitters. Principled splitters I'm sure. Blairites.
  • stetson wrote: »
    Not too many politicans are going to say "Well, I could use this approach and really damage my opponents, but they're in such pitiful shape right now, it just wouldn't be the sporting thing to do."
    Though, that does seem to be the approach of Jeremy Corbyn. The Tories in total disarray, and he's refused to put the boot in.

    JC's strategy seems to have been to force a GE for the last few months - and he apparently sees this as more important than a coherent brexit strategy.

    But then maybe it is a double bluff, and he wants to allow the Tories enough rope to really stuff things up so that next time there is a Labour landslide.

    If that's what he is thinking then it really isn't working - despite the utter callousness and chaos of this Tory administration, the polls either predict another hung parliament or a small Tory majority.

    Which is mind-blowing - how bad do they have to be to lose?
  • mr cheesymr cheesy Shipmate
    edited February 2019
    Actually, as I was writing that, I had a thought about the timing of this split.

    At present, the Tory government is being led by the nose by 10 DUP MPs and maybe 20 or 30 hardcore Brexiteers.

    If it was possible to create a group of a similar number of progressives who are not beholden to the Labour Brexit strategy.. then maybe/possibly they could talk to the Tory government with a view to cancelling it out.

    If they can quickly come up with a sensible idea and have the numbers, maybe they could persuade a new PM to ignore Boris and chums - and form a new minority government with support from ex-Labour plus others.

    Maybe if their vision of Brexit looked significantly different to the May plan, the EU would be prepared to start again from a different position with extensions to A50. Possibly with a guaranteed referendum on the terms of a new deal.

    I mean - this really would be a big-time betrayal of Labour and JC, but if the Tory jackasses were cut off at the knees and a new administration was formed of centrist politicians maybe we could get out of this situation with our coats.

    Edit: of course this might well be curtains for the careers of anyone involved. But maybe some are past the point of that being a major consideration.
  • Splitters!
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    edited February 2019
    It is being widely reported that:
    • their HQ is over a Wetherspoons pub called The Unicorn,
    • the Independent Group has been registered as a private company and therefore doesn’t have to comply with party political rules or declare their financial backers
    • one of their mps has already got into a race row by referring to “people with a funny tinge” on live tv
    • they are currently debating whether to let into their group-not-a-party an mp under investigation for sexual misconduct

    I would venture to suggest this is not going as smoothly as it might have.
  • She didn't actually say tinge. But she was certainly travelling down a rather daft road and couldn't swallow the words before sounding completely stupid.
  • My apologies “a funny tin-inarticulate”
  • My apologies “a funny tin-inarticulate”

    Well she was actually making a point about casual racism - and how one doesn't actually have to be part of a specific group to experience it, just someone who looks a bit different.

    But if course it's all got caught up in the phrase she used. Or nearly used. Or something.
  • It got caught up in a phrase most people would recognise as indicative of casual racism.
  • It got caught up in a phrase most people would recognise as indicative of casual racism.

    It was an attempt at satire of a casually racist position.

    Ye gods.
  • I’ve watched the video and I’d disagree with that interpretation.
  • I’ve watched the video and I’d disagree with that interpretation.

    Ok, then the alternative is believing that she thinks POC have an abnormal skin hue - in which case she's an ingrained racist and you should presumably be glad she is out of your party.
  • Sipech wrote: »
    Confirmation has come through this morning that 7 Labour MPs are to leave the party in order to establish an Independent Group. It seems to me that, faced with a choice between sticking to principles or sticking to the party, they have chosen to stick their principles; principles that the party has abandoned.

    One wonders which principles you think someone like Umunna is standing by.
  • mr cheesy wrote: »
    I’ve watched the video and I’d disagree with that interpretation.

    Ok, then the alternative is believing that she thinks POC have an abnormal skin hue - in which case she's an ingrained racist and you should presumably be glad she is out of your party.

    I’d rather she educated herself and shifted her assumptions around race. (It’s the racial equivalent of the heteronormative assumption, believing white is normal every thing else is measured against.)

    I think the split in the middle of the current political maelstrom is self-indulgent. If this was to be functional it needed to happen a good while ago, and I fail to see why they’d not go to the Lib Dem’s with what they currently appear to be prioritising.
  • Labor MP's in Australia could not do this and survive an election unless they were a substantial public figure in their own right and/or had the support of at least one union. I always thought that our Labor movement was significantly modelled on the labor movement in the UK in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The Party is the political arm of the labor movement. Where does the labor movement stand on this split? Have the splitters been condemned? Does the industrial part of the labor movement have a position on brexit?

    Someone commented upthread that Corbyn is reluctant to oppose Brexit not only because he thinks the EU is a vehicle for the propigation of bourgoise liberalism (my extrapolation) but because many labor voters are in favor of Brexit. Is that last point true? Corbyn doesn't seem like the sort of bloke who would be influenced by polling, but I do wonder whether recent poliing has been done on the issue. Do the working people of Britain still want Brexit?
  • stetson wrote: »
    Not too many politicans are going to say "Well, I could use this approach and really damage my opponents, but they're in such pitiful shape right now, it just wouldn't be the sporting thing to do."
    Though, that does seem to be the approach of Jeremy Corbyn. The Tories in total disarray, and he's refused to put the boot in.

    But I suspect that's because of strategic considerations(possibly misguided), rather than out of any pity for the Tories.

    I don't follow this too closely, but my guess would be that Corbyn's being out-of-whack with much of his party on the issue currently dominating UK politics might limit his ability to act effectively.

  • Sipech wrote: »
    Confirmation has come through this morning that 7 Labour MPs are to leave the party in order to establish an Independent Group. It seems to me that, faced with a choice between sticking to principles or sticking to the party, they have chosen to stick their principles; principles that the party has abandoned.

    Horseshit. Principled would have been resigning and contesting a by-election.

    And what principles are these? If you're talking about anti-Semitism, I will leave others better informed to comment. If it is about a second referendum - where is the evidence that Labour rank and file want that?
  • Martin54 wrote: »
    Splitters. Principled splitters I'm sure. Blairites.

    Only if "principled splitters" and "neoliberal ideologues" are synonyms.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Hard for Corbyn to discipline anyone expressing dissent.
  • Sipech wrote: »
    Confirmation has come through this morning that 7 Labour MPs are to leave the party in order to establish an Independent Group. It seems to me that, faced with a choice between sticking to principles or sticking to the party, they have chosen to stick their principles; principles that the party has abandoned.

    Horseshit. Principled would have been resigning and contesting a by-election.

    And what principles are these? If you're talking about anti-Semitism, I will leave others better informed to comment. If it is about a second referendum - where is the evidence that Labour rank and file want that?

    If by 'rank and file' you mean members, then this survey suggests 72% of them want a second referendum.

    That said - as odious as I find Len McCluskey, I do think he has a point that it's hypocritical on the one hand to back a second referendum on the grounds that something has changed, but not to back a second chance for their constituents to vote even though something definitely has changed.
  • Ricardus wrote: »
    Sipech wrote: »
    Confirmation has come through this morning that 7 Labour MPs are to leave the party in order to establish an Independent Group. It seems to me that, faced with a choice between sticking to principles or sticking to the party, they have chosen to stick their principles; principles that the party has abandoned.

    Horseshit. Principled would have been resigning and contesting a by-election.

    And what principles are these? If you're talking about anti-Semitism, I will leave others better informed to comment. If it is about a second referendum - where is the evidence that Labour rank and file want that?

    If by 'rank and file' you mean members, then this survey suggests 72% of them want a second referendum.

    That said - as odious as I find Len McCluskey, I do think he has a point that it's hypocritical on the one hand to back a second referendum on the grounds that something has changed, but not to back a second chance for their constituents to vote even though something definitely has changed.

    Of course one could turn it around; there is something deeply hypocritical about the Labour frontbench (a) calling for by-elections for these MPs but saying nothing about others like Frank Field who previously quit the whip and (b) claiming that electors should be given a new poll when things change but are resisting a second referendum.

    Also McCluskey can shut it with his bluster. We all remember when he threatened to leave the Labour party and start his own party.
  • Ricardus wrote: »
    Sipech wrote: »
    Confirmation has come through this morning that 7 Labour MPs are to leave the party in order to establish an Independent Group. It seems to me that, faced with a choice between sticking to principles or sticking to the party, they have chosen to stick their principles; principles that the party has abandoned.

    Horseshit. Principled would have been resigning and contesting a by-election.

    And what principles are these? If you're talking about anti-Semitism, I will leave others better informed to comment. If it is about a second referendum - where is the evidence that Labour rank and file want that?

    If by 'rank and file' you mean members, then this survey suggests 72% of them want a second referendum.

    That said - as odious as I find Len McCluskey, I do think he has a point that it's hypocritical on the one hand to back a second referendum on the grounds that something has changed, but not to back a second chance for their constituents to vote even though something definitely has changed.

    What about Labor voters. The membership is usually a shift or two away from the people who vote for the Party. In my opinion its them and the Labor movement that is the constituency that the Party needs to be focussed on.
  • Simon Toad wrote: »
    Ricardus wrote: »
    Sipech wrote: »
    Confirmation has come through this morning that 7 Labour MPs are to leave the party in order to establish an Independent Group. It seems to me that, faced with a choice between sticking to principles or sticking to the party, they have chosen to stick their principles; principles that the party has abandoned.

    Horseshit. Principled would have been resigning and contesting a by-election.

    And what principles are these? If you're talking about anti-Semitism, I will leave others better informed to comment. If it is about a second referendum - where is the evidence that Labour rank and file want that?

    If by 'rank and file' you mean members, then this survey suggests 72% of them want a second referendum.

    That said - as odious as I find Len McCluskey, I do think he has a point that it's hypocritical on the one hand to back a second referendum on the grounds that something has changed, but not to back a second chance for their constituents to vote even though something definitely has changed.

    What about Labor voters. The membership is usually a shift or two away from the people who vote for the Party. In my opinion its them and the Labor movement that is the constituency that the Party needs to be focussed on.

    I don't think there is any clarity. Some constituencies that are strongly Labour are said to be still strongly Leave.

    But I don't think anyone knows the overall opinion of labour voters in the country - including all constituencies where they win or not.

    I think the best guesses suggest it is still completely split.
  • Like the rest of the place I suppose. There hasn't been polling on it? That's the first thing I'd do as a pollie.
Sign In or Register to comment.