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The need for a political realignment

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:21 pm 
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Like many centre-left symapathisers and voters, I am just as sick of the current state of the Labour party. Jeremy Corbyn is well behind in the polls, and the party is riddled with infighting from top to bottom. However, I feel it is important that we, the people, can change this... maybe not now, but in the future. Right now, there are people who are desperate for a decent and effective oppostion, but it is divided- no, I'm not talking about Labour, but those organisations who are representing the marginalised, the pro-Europeans, refugees, benefit claimants, the working class, small businesses, the non-voters, and so on... those who desperately need help from their potential allies in Parliament. If only the Lib Dems, SNP, Plaid Cymru, Greens, and independents can put their tribal nonsense to one side and try to harness all that energy to fight the Conservative government. This should signal the beginning of a major political realignment that the UK desperately needs. The Conservatives will win this time, but they don't own the future. We also need to be brave in telling the Labour party of Corbyn, McDonell, Abbott and Thornbury to get out of the way- WE NEED TO PUNISH THEM AT THE POLLS, both local and national, and at the same time, we fight for REAL CHANGE for the UK. The current situation is unacceptable.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 9:27 pm 
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Very much agree with you, Mr. Armchair. I was just discussing something along these lines with a friend over a pint earlier this afternoon.

Let's look ahead a little. On 9 June, the scale of the electoral slaughter that will have been administered to the Labour Party will be confirmed. Dependent to some extent on its magnitude, there will be unprecedented and (one hopes) irresistible pressure on Corbyn to resign. It may be that by then, he will be in effect a broken man and will succumb. Tom Watson then becomes interim leader, a post that the party rules apparently provide for him to hold for up to 18 months. But the pivotal point will come at the conference in September. The signs are that The McDonnell Amendment (if it even gets past the NEC ) will fail and no leadership successor from Corbyn's faction will be able to stand for leader. Of course the PLP may by that time be reduced to, say, 150 seats. In which case 15% of the PLP required for supporting nominations drops as low as 26. So in any event, it's in our interests to return as many good Labour MPs as possible.

But all of that notwithstanding, it might well be the case that the remnants of the party are no longer worth the candle, particularly if Corbyn digs in his heels and refuses to go even after the electoral decimation of the party. In which case the time may have come to consider the re-alignment that you refer to. In those circumstances, I don't think that the establishment of a new, progressive centre-left party is out of the question. Party infrastructure and organisation could be sorted out in reasonably short order. There are offers of large-scale startup funding from sources like Branson and so forth, and given the reports of the conditions staff at Labour HQ are having to put up with and the level of demoralisation and dissatisfaction there, the drift across of skilled staffers would speed up, and membership could grow like the influx of Trots has done for Corbyn's Labour. The PLP would in numbers shed the Labour whip in favour of that of the new party. Bye bye Jez, John, Diane, and their motley crew of incompetents, hello future progress.

It could be the future.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 9:43 pm 
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Macron seems to have proved that a new, social liberal party with socialist roots can make a claim.
En Marche! was only formed in April 2016, and in April 2017 it looks like having the presidency.

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To know yet to think that one does not know is best; Not to know yet to think that one knows will lead to difficulty. Lao Tzu



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 10:26 pm 
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Bien sur !

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 10:46 pm 
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I don't see the PLP has anything to lose after the council elections if they are really bad in fielding their own leader and manifesto. Corbyn's not going after the GE and will kill the party anyway. Presently its every man for himself for Labour MPs who are not even fighting Corbyn's campaign. And as for Tim Farron he's bloody awful and not getting any better.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 10:33 am 
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Lovely idea, but it won't happen. Because we have FPTP, it's that much harder for new parties to gain traction. Thus we have endless rebuilds and relaunches of existing parties because their rump tribal vote is at least a building block to start on that would save decades of potentially fruitless work. Which is why when Corbyn stays on it won't be a split but another leadership contest, which he'll win, and then further grumbling because both factions in Labour still want that rump vote. The only way politics will change in for UK-wide elections is to have a party or coalition elected who then change the system (and as the existing system benefits the 2 main parties, that isn't going to happen - once in power they miraculously forget that when out of power a different electoral system would have benefited them immensely) or one of the 2 main parties having such a catastrophic run of form that it drops out to become the 3rd party and a new official opposition has a run at things. This latter option is also hugely unlikely and would probably also need mass defections, though kudos to Corbyn and to a lesser extent May for trying their best to make it happen.

The best bet - and I'm under no illusion that it wasn't a fairly shitty option - we had was the 2011 AV vote, and that was defeated because the Tories got their chums in the media on board and many in Labour also supported it. Meanwhile, all the devolved parliaments and assemblies can easily remove and indeed wipe out incompetent parties that take their vote for granted as they use an additional member system. That means every vote really does count and it's easy for a party's supporters to see the momentum of a successful, popular campaign transfer into more seats and more influence. The UK as a whole? Have a great campaign and you might get a seat or two, even if you won a shit ton of the vote %. Good luck motivating people to vote again next time, because they know full well it'll probably make fuck-all difference. Tactival voting? Sure, but then you have situations like I have where I have to vote Labour to try and get the local Tory chap out. I have to actively reward the utterly shitty performance of Corbyn's opposition in full awareness that as my vote has no context it will be taken as a direct endorsement of the party, and as it's winner takes all I have to make that choice or my vote is all but wasted. And should Labour by some miracle get in, changing FPTP will of course be nowhere on the agenda.

So here we are - a terrible Tory govt who survive because of an absurd electoral system (that as an added bonus actively discourages suggesting any form of progressive electoral pact), an incredibly weak opposition led by an incompetent pensioner, and almost total dominance of the traditional press allowing them to set the narrative almost unchallenged.

It's almost at the point where the best advice for a non-Corbynist Labour or Lib Dem supporter wanting real change is to vote Tory - because until something completely gives out, the system we have will just limp on and on.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 3:39 pm 
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I don't think the outlook is quite that forlorn, Crabcakes. Don't get me wrong, we're going to have to consume an almighty shit sandwich on June 8th, but once the smoke has cleared I can see a way forward beyond then. Sadly, it will probably involve abandoning Labour to Corbyn first.

The 2014 and 2016 referendums were the political equivalents of lobbing a grenade into the room, with the left bearing by far the worst of the damage in the short term. Brexit, if it pans out in the way many of us on here suspect it might, will make them seem like peaceful walks in the park by comparison. One piece of consolation to be drawn from the upcoming general election will be the fact that the Tories will have the letters B-R-E-X-I-T indelibly tattooed onto their foreheads for now and for all eternity - seemingly an advantage in the sulphurous, unforgiving political landscape of 2017. But come 2022, it's easy to see how being so closely associated with Brexit may become political anthrax for the Tories, Ukip and the ruinous Corbyn left.

I do think, however, we will need to accept that any newly-formed political party will almost certainly need to be unapologetically centrist in its approach (perhaps the "radical centre" which Blair talked about so much), in order to go squarely for the Tories' collective jugular across the whole of England.

When that backlash arrives, it will be sudden and massive.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 4:18 pm 
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If it is to have a hope, it needs to balance three things.

1. Be seen as economically competent.
2. Be seen as "a safe pair of hands" with national security.
3. Be seen as being human but not over-generous with welfare.

Economics will be the first, initially tough, nut to crack. Doubly so if the parliamentary party is formed by a load of defecting Labour MPs. The Tories are going to lose their "we're the party for the economy" tag as Brexit rolls on, but that doesn't mean it switches by default. Find someone who talks finance, lives and breathes finance and who can be seen as "good with the figures", and get them in pronto. Whether this is Blanchflower or Cable or anyone. It probably shouldn't be a Labour MP first and foremost. If it's to get off the ground it can't afford to be seen as "New Labour all over again", that brand is (unfortunately) too tainted.

Security will be the next one. As we've seen, this is a big thing for the Tories with Fallon both in 2015 and this time around being one of the first Tories wheeled out to challenge Labour. This is the sort of thing pragmatic centrists ought to be able to get sorted out pretty quickly, even if some of the decisions aren't universally popular, on a practical level. Support the nuclear deterrent (for now), fund the military but also commit to not sending them into every backyard in the world at the whim of us or, more importantly, the Americans. No more Iraqs. No more Afghanistans. Create a mobile, high-tech capability (centred around the new aircraft carriers) and less offensive than defensive. Defensive including Gibraltar and the Falklands.

Finally, welfare. Make a commitment to funding things properly and treating disabled people with the respect they deserve while also making sure you're not seen as funding people "sitting on their arse". The Tories go too far one way, the press deem Labour to be too far the other way, find the middle ground, it can't be that difficult.

One further thing I will mention, be patriotic without being nationalistic. Sing the sodding anthem, support the England football team (or other home nations as appropriate) but don't indulge in the nationalist bollocks of "two world wars and one world cup".

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Things can only get better.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:16 pm 
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Arrowhead wrote:
One piece of consolation to be drawn from the upcoming general election will be the fact that the Tories will have the letters B-R-E-X-I-T indelibly tattooed onto their foreheads for now and for all eternity - seemingly an advantage in the sulphurous, unforgiving political landscape of 2017. But come 2022, it's easy to see how being so closely associated with Brexit may become political anthrax for the Tories, Ukip and the ruinous Corbyn left.

I do think, however, we will need to accept that any newly-formed political party will almost certainly need to be unapologetically centrist in its approach (perhaps the "radical centre" which Blair talked about so much), in order to go squarely for the Tories' collective jugular across the whole of England.

When that backlash arrives, it will be sudden and massive.


Indeed. As a colleague of mine put it today, when those Brexit voters realise that things are actually shitter than ever and all the brown people are still here, there'll be a kick-off.

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PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2017 10:33 am 
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Abernathy wrote:
Arrowhead wrote:
One piece of consolation to be drawn from the upcoming general election will be the fact that the Tories will have the letters B-R-E-X-I-T indelibly tattooed onto their foreheads for now and for all eternity - seemingly an advantage in the sulphurous, unforgiving political landscape of 2017. But come 2022, it's easy to see how being so closely associated with Brexit may become political anthrax for the Tories, Ukip and the ruinous Corbyn left.

I do think, however, we will need to accept that any newly-formed political party will almost certainly need to be unapologetically centrist in its approach (perhaps the "radical centre" which Blair talked about so much), in order to go squarely for the Tories' collective jugular across the whole of England.

When that backlash arrives, it will be sudden and massive.


Indeed. As a colleague of mine put it today, when those Brexit voters realise that things are actually shitter than ever and all the brown people are still here, there'll be a kick-off.


Heavily relies on all bad things being associated with brexit and how the Tories do it. We can already see the seeds being sown for the narrative that the EU is out to make brexit go tits up in the papers with quotes from Juncker about how brexit "cannot" be a success.

Remember brexit cannot fail, it can only be failed.

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PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2017 12:49 pm 
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Welcome back, Winegums.


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