Were this a relationship I wouldn't call it a split. It's more like a pre-emptive leaving by the person about to be dumpedby Joana Ramiro / February 19, 2019 / Leave a comment
A political organisation is not unlike a relationship.
At times everyone gets along and it’s a veritable love-fest. Others, you don’t see eye to eye but you know what you have is good, that no matter how much you and Sadie bicker about which Netflix show to watch, you are meant to cuddle up together on that sofa.
And then there are times when Pat never lends a helping hand with the dishes, or Sam turns every meal into an award-winning drama—and you know they have to go.
So too did the “Labour split” unfold, closing a door on a relationship long dead. That is, the relationship between the Labour Party and seven of its MPs: Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Mike Gapes, Ann Coffey, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith and Gavin Shuker.
You could argue these seven—now to be known as The Independent Group—have long been flirting with others. Angela Smith, the MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge, supports fracking, which Labour Party policy has pledged to ban. Ilford South’s Mike Gapes is fond of free trips to Saudi Arabia, much like the Tory backbencher Boris Johnson. And their de facto leader, Streatham MP Chuka Umunna, was infamously part of a networking website for millionaires where he asked advice on a “trash-free” night out in London.
Unironically, Umunna told the press today that it was time “we dumped this country’s old fashioned politics and created an alternative that does justice to who we are today and gives this country a politics fit for the here and now, the 21st century, not the last one.”
But, while the official policies of The Independent Group (or TIG) are yet to be announced, the ones long-defended by its members are all firmly stuck in the late 1990s.
These are the children of Blairism, a handful of politicians whose politics of the ego could not bear to obey the party whip any longer. It’s a group of Generation X-ers who popped a pill they found in the pocket of a pair of jeans they haven’t worn since 1997. It’s the politics of meritocracy and entrepreneurism blinded to how rigged the system is. Gapes wants back the War on Terror; Leslie wants to let big corporations off the taxation hook…