I cannot decide whether the Independent Group are ‘outriders’, as The Guardian referred to them, of a new grouping or are pillion riders of the past. While the Brexiters are accused of harking back to the past days of the Empire, a big part of me wonders whether nostalgia is, indeed, a unifying factor between the leavers and remainers of the current two parties.
Even within the dissent of Brexit the terms ‘remainers’ and ‘leavers’ remain relevant.
The 7 Labour MPs are referred to as ‘Blairites’ and are seen as representing ‘Blairism’ even though the latter has been discredited to a large degree due to the Iraq War. The 3 Tory MPs who joined the group are challenging their party’s move to the right and are more embracing of Cameron’s social and compassionate conservatism which, let’s face it, did not materialise once he gained power.
One struggles to see the ‘new’ in all this. It is completely understandable that politicians would at some stage part company with their parties because politics is a dynamic force in flux. What is rather more of a conundrum is why a ‘third way’ is needed, as Sarah Wollaston puts it, when the Lib Dems exist as a centrist party. There is nothing new about the term ‘third way’ either because Blair used it as an underlying ideology for his brand of politics.
Gina Miller has probably come closest to describing the purpose of the Independent Group. She sees it as an opposition force to Brexit. Framed in this way, it makes it easier to understand the group’s raison d’etre. But of the rest of politics – austerity, taxation, funding etc? Where does the Independent Group stand on these?
I am struggling to see the Independent Group as some lodestar for a much talked about lost political tribe that label themselves as being ‘centrists’. Much more like a guiding light to a signpost marked as ‘been there before’.
The Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, spoke about the need for a different type of globalisation, as a fall out from Brexit. The previous policies of Labour and the Tories have led to the current situation of inequality which has contributed to the Brexit situation.
Dig hard as i do I cannot see what the new Independent Group can offer that is novel and different to address the causes of Brexit.