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Do centrists know how to count?

Political realignment sounds tempting but the arithmetic doesn’t stack up

By Peter Kellner  

Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA Archive/PA Images

If late-night chatter in the bars of SW1 about realignment could be converted into votes, centrist politicians would be well on their way to governing Britain. Labour defections? A new party? Vince Cable’s plans for a less tribal politics, with his successor possibly drawn from outside parliament? All are possible; but can any of them break through at Westminster?

Here is the good news for centrists. The democratic world has humbled big incumbent parties in recent years in ways that seldom happened in the half…

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