‘The Independent Group looked at, discussed, analysed, wrote about, designed, built and assembled a galaxy of highly significant work exploring contemporary culture “as found”.
Two of the most illuminating things about the establishment of the Independent Group in the House of Commons are firstly watching and listening to political hacks trying to get their heads around this group: What does it mean? Is it a political party? What are the policies on the regulation of baked beans? (I doubt there have been many questions about baked bean policy but it is as valid a question as the those voiced by our political hack pack). Secondly, the Independent Group website, hosted by Middlesex University, must have had a spike in visitors the likes of which the IT department will never have experienced outside clearance.
Do what to make of the Independent Group? It really is far far too early and it is clear that none of the current members really know what it means either other than it means they are no longer members of their former respective political parties. Is it a harbinger for future change? I hope it is but it could all disappear very quickly if the current government collapses and a General Election is called. If this were the case then I suspect the most likely MP to be returned is Heidi Allen as her South Cambridgeshire constituencies local council has been taken over by the Lib Dems. This would suggest that loyalty to the Conservative Party post Brexit in South Cambridgeshire is isn’t great as this was one of the strongest remain areas of the country and BlueKip Conservative Party is going to struggle there.
Brexit oh Brexit that destroyer of political careers and possibly quite a few outside of the political world. Next week we have more Westminster manoeuvring around the so call Cooper Boles amendment. How will the Independent Group vote on this? The one thing that seems to unite them all is the need for a second referendum to try and halt Brexit and so will they vote tactically to try and advance this cause? Again, nobody knows including the Independent Group MPs. But before you go away thinking that this all Westminster Bubble nonsense just think of about this idea:
Suppose the result of whatever happens next week disappoints those MPs in all parties, and the government, who want to stop at least a no deal Brexit. If this happens then we might start to see mass resignations by MPs who then go to join the Independent Group. What on earth would happen then? I suspect what really matters is how many MPs there are but if it causes the current government to collapse then what? The last thing the Independent Group wants is to face the electorate at the moment because they have no policies nor even have any party structure. (If they are a party.) So because of this do the Independent Group vote to prop up the current government in some way – I can’t see that happening. Now here is the intriguing thought. What if there is enough MPs to try and form a government with only one policy – a second referendum followed by a General Election – could that work? I doubt so but these are very strange times and you would be a fool to rule anything out however unlikely. (Too many questions in one paragraph I know but we really are in totally uncharted waters – looks like too many metaphors as well.)
I have long thought that the current political structure is untenable in our modern age. Both the main parties were forged in their current structure in the early 20th century and now don’t really fit into the modern way of life. This was perhaps best illustrated in a scene in the recent Brexit movie when the board of the Vote Leave campaign were discussing about how the vote was to be won. There was a clear misunderstanding between Bernard Jenkins and Dominic Cummings about how elections are won: The former was talking about knocking on doors, rallies etc – which requires a political organisation whilst the later didn’t care anything about that but rather relied on the Internet to do the hard lifting. Whether this scene actually happened isn’t really the point but rather it demonstrates the difference between a 20th century political party and a 21st century movement a la Momentum. One is solid and decaying the other is other massive, fleeting and will quickly disintegrate as the next great political flavour takes over. However, it is probably far to say that the people who support such mass movements are far more liberal in their views than many of the political parties.
So good luck to the Independent Group. I hope you do manage to smash the current sclerotic political structures. I hope out of the destruction a new form of political landscape appears that allows avowed left wing and right parties argue their points. I hope that other political parties arise that fill the void in the middle and that finally we get away from the elected dictatorship of the 20th century to a more complicated and less clear cut moving maelstrom of the 21st century that better reflects the country as a whole. If that happens then perhaps David Cameron’s legacy won’t be so shit after all.
Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps.