Thursday, 6 October 2016

What now for Tory and Labour moderates?

It's happened.  The principle policies announced at the Tory conference were right wing, despite the rhetoric from Theresa May about "working class people". Brexit and various anti-foreigner initiatives added to grammar schools. The party's right-wing MPs were euphoric.  The Troies have rebranded as UKIP.  Even representatives of UKIP are saying so!

But where does thst leave the moderate centre-right MPs and members?  Often called 'Cameroons', the FT reported today that they have "gone to ground".

Much like the moderate centre-left MPs and members of the Labour party.  Outcasts.

It has to be remembered that both parties are in fact coalitions.  The Tories between right and moderate centre-right.  Labour between left and moderate centre-left.  In the last few general elections, it has been the party best dominated by these moderates that have won - Labour led by Tony Blair and Tories led by David Cameron.

There's a good reason for this. British voters regard themselves as principally centrist, plus slightly more centre right than centre left. The current more extreme positions of the Tories and Labour have little natural popular support.  General elections are won by appealing to the centre:
Representative picture, based on ComRes data late 2014

Back in July, Andrea Leadsom was still in contention for the Tory leadership.  News broke in the Observer that should the two parties polarise, then senior MPs were thinking of forming a new centrist party.  That polarisation has happened, under Corbyn in Labour, and under May rather than Leadsom in the Tories:

It is now time for this idea to be put into action.  Like this:

The last time there was a major spin-out of moderate MPs was the formation of the Social Democratic Party (SDP). It wasn't long before the SDP almost disappeared, and to survive had to merge with the Liberals to form the Liberal Democrats. There were two key factors:
  • The SDP did not appeal much to the centre-right
  • The SDP was not large enough to take on the two main parties . The LibDems still struggle.
A new centrist party formed by the combination of centre-right and centre-left would be different:
  • It would appeal to both centre-right and centre-left voters, especially swing voters
  • It could be far larger than the SDP.  Large enough to take on what remains of the Labour and Tory parties
Forming a new party won't be easy. It needs money, bravery and a strong leader.  Fortunately there are strong leadership candidates from the moderate wings of both parties who could take on the challenge.

It take weeks to register a new party. The Just Political Party has already been registered with centrist objectives and initial constitution. It has been branded "Great Aspirations. Great Britian" to appeal to the aspirations of voters across the country.

The JustPP also backs Remain for UK's membership of the EU, given that Brexit looked and still looks as it will severely damage the UK economy.  Something we cannot afford and Leave voters wouldn't expect.  The Chancellor himself said over the weekend that "the British people did not vote on June 23rd to become poorer, or less secure."

The JustPP can therefore be used by MPs as the political force in Westminster to stop Brexit before the Article 50 button is pressed, if the picture continues to look that it will make us poorer..  It just needs the will to make the new party a success.

Further details of the Just Political Party here. 

Who's up for the new party?

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