Monday, 18 February 2019

SDP MkII

This morning a group of seven members of parliament announced their resignations from the Labour Party. They cited concerns about leaving the European Union, anti-Semitism, Jeremy Corbyn and the failure of the major political parties to listen to the electorate as their reasons. The rationale was that mixture of the truth and dishonesty that so often characterises contemporary political discourse.

The concern about leaving the European Union, for example, is both true (they are all Remainers) and highly misleading, as they all stood on a manifesto in the 2017 general election that promised to respect the 2016 referendum decision to leave the European Union. The expressed concern with anti-Semitism is even less truthful, as they all know that it is a confected issue, which was created after Jeremy Corbyn was elected as leader of the Labour Party as part of an attempt to over turn that decision. Indeed, all seven of these members of parliament have constantly opposed Corbyn and have engaged in the repeated attempts to institute a party coup. But even more disingenuous is the claim to be concerned about the failure of established parties to listen to the electorate. All of these members of parliament have consistently ignored the wishes of the electorate. They have supported wars of aggression and regime change operations. They have sought to deny the result of the referendum. They have consistently supported the neoliberal globalist agenda. And now, having resigned from the Labour Party, they refuse to resign from parliament and stand in by elections, denying the electors the opportunity to either endorse or reject them. On this latter point, it is noteworthy that whilst they all claim there is a demand for a re-run of the referendum, they all claim that the last thing the electors want is another election. The special pleading and motivated reasoning could hardly be more blatant.

This move by these members of parliament is highly reminiscent of the breakaway of the gang of four back in the early 1980s. However, there are significant differences. The gang of four were high ranking members of parliament, with substantial following. They had a great deal of money. They immediately established a new political party, the SPD, and they had a coherent manifesto. This new version has none of these advantages. The only thing it has going for it is the corporate media's anti-Corbyn stance, which will doubtless ensure that the seven can be sure of as much air time and news coverage as they could wish for. This was, of course, something that the SDP also enjoyed. Yet it did them no good at all.

The prospects for this new Independent Group, as the seven are styling themselves, look decidedly bleak. The notion that there is significant support for them inside the Labour Party or the wider electorate is little more than wishful thinking. Whilst there is significant scepticism and even hostility towards the established political parties, these seven are actually the embodiment of the reasons for such hostility. The policy positions they support are precisely the policy positions that the vast majority of the electorate reject. This can be seen clearly, and ironically, in the fact the policies of Jeremy Corbyn, which they are so implacably opposed to, are precisely the policies that approximately seventy percent of the electorate support.

Whilst the future is unknowable, it nevertheless seems highly likely that after a short period of media limelight, the breakaway seven will find the move has effectively ended their political careers, condemning them to irrelevance and impotence.

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