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A new left party in the UK? January 10, 2022

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Okay, not evident how serious this following is…

But the idea itself? Doesn’t the track record of splits from the BLP, whether left or rightwards (and tellingly so much of the direction of travel in recent times has been to the latter) suggest that they don’t really prosper. At a push one could argue, that in representational terms, the SDP lashing up with the Liberals was the most robust manifestation of same – whatever one’s views on the politics of the Liberal Democrats. But others? The risible Change UK? The frankly terrifying New Party in the 1930s? The Socialist Party of England and Wales is in a different category, but striking that it has no elected representatives at all.

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1. Mat - January 10, 2022

I don’t believe Corbyn has any intention of launching a new party and if he does it won’t achieve very much for the reasons you say. He could in my view win as an independent against an insipid Starmerite in his constituency if he chose to run, given his personal popularity, but there is no space for another electoral party of the left in the UK under fptp.

He’s more likely (and more sensible I would guess) to try and build his Peace Project into a mass movement that can at least keep some of those he activated in meaningful politics, although I worry that the name means it will maybe focused on traditional lefty foreign affairs issues rather than bread and butter domestic politics.

Then again it would be just like him to mess it all up and launch some badly organised party project that collapses in infighting within a few years – depending on who he listens to.

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2. benmadigan - January 10, 2022

The short-lived Left Unity Party,supported by Ken Loach, was founded in 2013 as an alternative to the BLP.

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Paul Culloty - January 10, 2022

Not to mention Scargill’s Socialist Labour, the Respect Party, and Galloway’s current Lexit vehicle (Workers Party) in England. Even UKIP on the right needed almost 20 years to pose an existential threat to the Tories, so leftists may be best off building the Greens into a long-term option on Labour’s flank.

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EWI - January 10, 2022

so leftists may be best off building the Greens into a long-term option on Labour’s flank.

I’m not sure how much utility that has. The Greens on this island happily purged their leftwing members and went in to support a rightwing govt.

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3. sonofstan - January 10, 2022

Obv. FPTP is a huge obstacle, but might a lesson from the last few years here be that new parties can emerge and have influence, albeit extra -parliamentary? Thinking of the UKIP/ Brexit party, but why not on the left? The Greens are already a factor in local government elections so it’s not beyond the bounds that a left party that didn’t look old, boring and white couldn’t at least run interference and maybe more.

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EWI - January 10, 2022

If the UKIP could force the Tories to the right, a leftist party (especially with the unions backing it) could surely either force the BLP to the left or else replace it entirely.

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Wes Ferry - January 11, 2022

A leftist party (especially with the unions backing it) could surely either orce the BLP to the left or else replace it entirely.”

Wishful thinking, IMHO.

As said elsewhere here on the evidence of other failed initiatives, it would take ages to establish a party beyond Islington that could challenge Starmer’s BLP, even if Corbyn was interested. And why would he? George Galloway (leaving aside his peculiar politics) has shown how a huge personality finds it difficult to compete in elections where the ‘star turn’ themselves aren’t standing.

In the meantime, Starmer would be delighted to see left-wing activists, CLP officers, councillors or even MPs leave his BLP without having to find a reason to kick them out.

Corbyn to stand as an Independent MP in Islington instead for more impact and fewer headaches?

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EWI - January 11, 2022

Wishful thinking, IMHO.

As said elsewhere here on the evidence of other failed initiatives, it would take ages to establish a party beyond Islington that could challenge Starmer’s BLP, even if Corbyn was interested.

I don’t know if it would. People just assume that thing will always remain as they were, but even big parties can die, with weak leadership and a turn in circumstances. Labour eclipsed the once-mighty Liberal party in the aftermath of WWI, and Sinn Féin’s moment came to kill off an ILP which had been sick for years but still handily defeated turncoat MPs (to SF) in the mid-1900s. I do think we’re in another such period of volatile politics, everywhere.

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EWI - January 11, 2022

*that things will always

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EWI - January 11, 2022

*UIL, not ILP, though they’re a good modern-day example too

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4. WorldbyStorm - January 10, 2022

I guess that might be a path SoS, just going the influence route. But do they limit themselves to locals or go head to head with the BLP? It’s a difficult one and I guess it needs something to gain traction. Brexit was the gift that has kept on giving for the right, at least to this point. What is analogous? There must be something.

The LUP, Ben, that’s true.

Mat, that’s pretty much my view. Can’t think Corbyn would do it and what would it gain him?

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sonofstan - January 10, 2022

I don’t have much to go on, but I have a sense that the UK – really the English – two and bit party system maybe about to shatter. It looks rigid, but consider the churn over the past decade: highly likely there are people who have voted for 3 different parties in successive elections.
The Tory vote is a shifting blob that moves over the country like a weather system, picking up votes in the north even as it loses them in the south and the Labour bank of urban graduates and ethnic minorites could crumble. Generation left are loyal to few key issues, not to the Labour party. Remember when Scotland was solidly Labour? We do, but there are people hitting 30 who don’t.
Thing is, of course, absent PR, when the cracks appear, it could go any number of ways.

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Mat - January 10, 2022

I do think that groups like the Northern Independence Party and the Breakthrough Party as much as they’re Twitter phenomena to a large extent (and NIP already a busted flush?) do show there is an appetite for something new among younger left leaning voters in England that maybe mirrors the recent growth in support for Scottish independence – and which is definitely very distant from the old far left. Historically the only way to breakthrough the UK party system has been to focus on a nation or region and build there even the Liberals and Libdems have done that to some extent, building in clusters. Which is why the NIP was an interesting idea. Not sure how an England wide left party could use that to grow (which isn’t to say they can’t just that I can’t see it).

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WorldbyStorm - January 10, 2022

Yeah, it’d be very tricky (and is this England we’re talking about or England and Wales?). A pity re the NIP.

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Mat - January 10, 2022

Wales feels very different as Labour there seem to have stuck to their centre left guns through thick and thin and Plaid also seem to offer plenty of space to their own left wing… Which does bring up another thing about England, the absence of a real or imagined centre left English civic nationalism, something which the likes of John Cruddas have been talking about for years.

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Michael Carley - January 10, 2022

Wales is politically very different: a moderately social-democratic Labour party working with Plaid Cymru in a country where the Tories are largely irrelevant. Why start a new party there?

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5. sonofstan - January 10, 2022

“the absence of a real or imagined centre left English civic nationalism”

This probably isn’t quite what you mean, but all the metro-mayors in the north are Labour, and, following Burnham, are busy building their powerbase via bringing transport back under public control and so on.

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WorldbyStorm - January 11, 2022

That’s an interesting fact. It’s true though what Mat says, a centre left English civic nationalism would be a very interesting force indeed.

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sonofstan - January 11, 2022

“all the metro-mayors”

Except Teeside, which has elected a Tory 😦
But then Harold Macmillan was the MP for Stockton, so there’s history.

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Mat - January 11, 2022

Yeah sorry I mean civic nationalism like SNP and Plaid Cymru.

I agree that the kind of municipal socialism that underpins some of Andy Burnham’s and Steve Rotherhams ideas, and that practised in Preston do show a possible way forward. As maybe did Lisa Nandy (whatever her other faults) during the last Labour leadership campaign with her town / red wall focused platform.

And then you have people like Alex Niven saying that actually the left needs the idea of England to die off before it can have a successful resurgence in that area, which is also interesting and well argued in his book I have forgotten the name of.

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sonofstan - January 11, 2022

New Model Island?

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Mat - January 11, 2022

That’s the one

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6. Wes Ferry - January 11, 2022

The Green Party (England & Wales) is hardly left-wing, is it?

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Klassenkampf Treehugger - January 11, 2022

I don’t know how left it is at the local party level. I know people on the left of Labour who have given up on the former and joined it.

I wouldn’t discount the possibility that the membership is considerably more sceptical about / oppositional to capitalism than the Green parties in say, RoI or Germany, which have indeed amputated what remained their left wings.

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Paul Wilson - January 11, 2022

Wes Ferry I was in the UK LP until about 15 years ago, though I never harboured any illusions about it. The Greens in my part of London were well to the left of the LP. I keep in touch with what is going on in my old area of Lambeth and guess what, The local greens are leading the local campaigns against selling off council estates to developers and decanting the residents and only rehousing a smaller proportion A policy carried out by a Labour Council.

Whether this policy applies to the Green Party nationally in the UK I don’t know.

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Fergal - January 18, 2022

I was thinking of the Greens here while eating me porridge this morning…
They’ve been in government twice now and how is public transport doing?!!
Has it improved?!!

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sonofstan - January 18, 2022

“The Green Party (England & Wales) is hardly left-wing, is it?”

Still hard to imagine language like this from the Irish franchise:

Your three Green Parliamentarians.
@natalieben
and I have spent the evening fighting the #PolicingBill while our MP
@CarolineLucas
has been fighting the #ElectionsBill. We try to reduce the Govt’s attempts to demonise sections of society, protesters, immigrants, and the poor.

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WorldbyStorm - January 18, 2022

Impressive.

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banjoagbeanjoe - January 18, 2022
roddy - January 18, 2022

I remember Ken delivering a knockout blow to Dick Spring on live TV with a devastating one liner “You’re in government with an ex fascist party”! A punch drunk Spring whimpered “it’s decades since the Blueshirts”!

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7. Klassenkampf Treehugger - January 11, 2022

Any new electoral party in the dUK must be prepared to first change the electoral system. My guess is the best bet would be the Greens with a pact to form a change the system and then call new elections.

But it’s decades since I lived there, so what do I know.

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sonofstan - January 18, 2022

Get it all the time from lefties here: ‘we have to stay in the Labour party because FPTP’ if you say ‘well fight to change the electoral system then’ they look sad. Meanwhile the right managed to take Britain out of the EU, starting from nowhere.

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8. sonofstan - January 20, 2022

Slightly relevant:

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