In news reported by the Guardian that cracks like the whip against the burgeoning belly of the figurative dead horse, the millionaire founder of LoveFilm is starting a Brand-New-and-Improved-Totally-Original-and-Super-Innovative-Centrist-Party.
The proposed new Centrist Party, as yet unnamed, seeks to break the “Westminster mould“… by fielding candidates in the 2022 General Election so that they get elected and take their place in Parliament and participate in politics in the usual order of things. Damn, moderate radicalism has one hell of a punch!
A new « political party » with £50m in the kitty, no members, no rule book, no ideology. Perhaps with support from sections of the British Establishment.
A plaything for the rich?
Let’s focus on the task in hand: building a social movement which will change our country for good pic.twitter.com/Ft5Gx6ZPxp
— Jon Trickett MP (@jon_trickett) April 7, 2018
The party will be composed of pro-neoliberal “left-wingers” who find their teeth chattering at Corbyn’s revival of Labour’s socialist roots, and right-wingers who are perhaps considered ‘good Conservatives’, but find themselves increasingly wary of Brexit. It will seek to draw on ideas from both the left and the right, because compromise is everything, ideology doesn’t matter and originality is overrated.
Ah the comedy roadshow that is centrism. The only part of the political spectrum still completely oblivious to the anti establishment sentiment sweeping across the world. What other explanation for briefing £50m of corporate cash is behind their new party https://t.co/zR2i21gtuA
— Matt Zarb-Cousin (@mattzarb) April 7, 2018
What the Guardian generously describes as a ‘movement’ was started by a former Labour benefactor, and other participants include super-rich big hitters in business and charity, and a whole bunch of Tory donors. It is, quite simply, a project borne of, and exclusively in the interests of, the gilded, super-rich liberal elite.
It’s as if the Iraq War didn’t happen. It’s as if the lightning glare of the recession didn’t expose the inequities, the vulnerabilities and vainglorious indulgences, the fragility, frailty and lop-sidedness of the financial system. It’s as if nigh a decade of scorched earth policies on public finances and assistance for the poor – carried out for 6 years with a Centrist in power – didn’t happen. It’s as if the internet hasn’t allowed us to find out in lightning speed what Centrists really are; how pathetic and insufficient they are: mere echoes of the neoliberal consensus with a smiley face. It’s as if the wealthiest 1% aren’t on track to own two-thirds of the wealth by 2030; as if decades of corporate globalisation spearheaded by proud Centrists hasn’t wrought destructive inequality upon the world’s citizens. It’s as if the youth in this country aren’t aware, as if Grenfell didn’t burn, as if Carillion didn’t collapse, as if things are nice, and lovely, and it’s 2006. Well, it’s not. It’s 2018, Corbyn is leader of the Labour party and the people are ready to upend compromise, overturn the lie of Liberalism, the lie of Centrism. The flash-in-a-gold-plated-pan of Centrist party-upstarts is dead now.
The proposed new party has such novel policy ideas such as – and this isn’t a joke – “ASKING the rich to pay a fairer share of tax” (my emphasis) and “better funding for the NHS”. We are nothing if not eternally grateful.
While the party hopes to draw the ‘Radical Centrists’ and the ‘Centrist Dadmocrats’ away from Labour, the party membership may secretly hope they’re successful. The party’s purpose is perhaps best summarised by Another Angry Voice’s concise analysis.
The indignant Centrist supporters, who stand vehemently by their beige flag, might be tempted on reading this and seeing the Twittersphere’s reaction to their new upstart, to remember a Ghandi quote:
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
This is not that. No one’s ignoring you, but everyone’s laughing. It would do well to remember a certain purple party that promised to break the “Westminster mould”, and to take a look at where they are now.
This proposed new party is yet another sign from the wealthy and the powerful that they are failing to listen, failing to learn, failing to observe the sea change – not only in British politics, but in the politics of the planet. It’ll be fun to watch, certainly, but it is frustrating that a £50m-backed Centrist party is the solution that some people thought the country was waiting for.