It's not just that their success might have influenced Labour's position on Brexit. What went wrong with Change UK is symptomatic of everything politicians misunderstand about the publicby Emma Burnell / June 5, 2019 / Leave a comment
Change UK’s all-but-demise is hardly unexpected. It was a poorly conceived and inadequately run outfit from the start. Given that it was apparently planned for months in advance, that it was so shambolic throughout its short life was even more telling of the failures of those who ran it. Yet even though I didn’t expect it to succeed, I never expected it to fail that badly, that quickly.
I was never going to vote Change and I would never have suggested anyone else do so. I want a socialist government and I vote for a socialist party. But I want that socialist government to be internationalist in its outlook, and an essential part of that for me is campaigning to keep us in the EU.
So, while, as a Labour supporter, I couldn’t join in the chorus of laughter and “I told you so.” The truth is that it is in some ways a shame for Labour members who—like me—want to see our party taking a stronger stance in favour of remaining.
I am reminded of the time I had a meeting with a Labour minister while a demo was taking place outside his office. “This noise helps me” he said. “It helps me push the government in the right direction.”
External pressure can be very useful in making what was once unthinkable obvious. As I look at how badly Change UK has done, and how the hopes of Remain voters have been lodged with the previously untouchable Lib Dem’s, I think about that conversation a lot. Change UK demonstrated all the political nous of the Remain campaign of 2016. It was designed to please a few noisy people in SW1 and on Twitter and had exceptionally limited appeal elsewhere. A party seemingly designed in the letters pages of the Financial Times, it spoke to the country in a way that managed to combine a patronising ‘we know best’ attitude with a level of smug condescension that was hard to take from people who were polling so low.
Change UK said they were going to do politics differently, but they didn’t. That was their biggest mistake. They tried to behave as ‘big beasts,’ lacking the infrastructure that reminds most parties…