Much has been written about the idea of an alliance of progressives between parties; Greens, Lib Dems and the sane anti Brexit wing of Labour, but few have dared suggest a better route would be the unification into a new party.
The rise of FBPE creates two obvious candidates to start this ball rolling and give Labour MPs something to join (and maybe even Ken Clarke and his fellow. Mutineers). All would have much to gain from a marriage instead of an affair.
For a moment, humour this article with the suspension of disbelief in two areas. Firstly you’ll need to pack up any tribal loyalty; for hardcore Labour, for Lib Demmers, for Greens, for Tories. I’m about to propose something will be an anathema for any but the most open minded.
Secondly, you’ll need to accept that you can’t fit a recyclable, biodegradable cigarette paper made of hemp between the LD and Green manifestos beyond some stand out things like 4 day weeks and, oh, HEMP legalisation. (There is that little Trident problem but I’m hoping the hemp will help).
If you’ve got this far then, your tribal loyalties are banished for a few minutes and you’re ready to believe in two parties so similar as to be trivially easy to combine.
So why then the crazy idea of an FBPE party. Let’s turn to wise old footballers, disenfranchised by the politics of today, for inspiration.
While Gary Lineker isn’t the first to talk about being politically homeless, his increasing frustration with the lack of options in British Politics is noteworthy not because he’s a former sportsman, but because he doesn’t think to mention the two places he could find a home – the Lib Dems or the Greens.
He also doesn’t think of Labour, not just because of its play all sides, no clear plan Brexit game, but most likely also because of its rapid run to deeply tried and failed class war of the left.
In this he’s not unusual. 25% of Labour’s vote in the last election came from FBPE supporting Lib dems, Greens and Tories holding their noses and voting Labour because it was better than a crazy Tory Hard Brexit. We thank them for weakening our Primeminister’s hand.
In these rather obvious omissions, Lineker is not alone.
You have to ask, at a time that pretty much half of the country is shouting, “who the bloody hell represents me”, why are none of the existing options top of mind?
It’s not as if Gary and his sixteen million friends have only one option, they’re actually spoiled for choice with two. Yet for the increasing number of globally and environmentally conscious British people disenfranchised by a rabid left LAB and mindlessly destructive CON, neither option is credible.
Your injection of humour for this article is probably beginning to fade by now, especially if you think this is Corbyn treachery, so top it up with a bit of humility about the LD and Green failure to capitalise on this moment and read on, because I now need you to take a bigger leap.
Both Lib Dems and the Greens are not credible mostly because of themselves. It’s not the biased FPTP system, the lack of PR, the evil establishment, the voters who stick to their guns or any of the myriad of other excuses landed in giving responsibility for the failure to someone else. The failure starts and ends with the parties themselves.
OK deep breath, I know this is painful, but it’s like a session at the gym, it’ll be good in the long run.
The Lib Dems had a good run for a while but lost the plot with the coalition and particularly the unrecoverable tuition fees disaster. In fact, Vince Cable, whose age is the least of his problems as a potential leader, has become so tongue-tied about tuition fees he no longer remembers whether he’s arguing for or against them.
The Greens, on the other hand, represent the embodiment of the single greatest mission of our age and possibly any age, at a time when environmentalism is an obvious concern to anyone in authority, (with the exception of questionably intelligent US Presidents). Yet in 27 years the Greens have managed to summon up a single seat in a town which, let’s face it, is as close to a British version of San Francisco, as you can find. Brighton isn’t so much a case study, as an impossible to replicate set of political circumstances.
Folks, it’s not really a crowning achievement on either side.
Which brings us back to Mr Lineker, which if you follow him on Twitter you will realise is the highest profile, wisest thinking, FBPE politician we have today. What would it take to create a party he could support? A new movement in British Politics, our Republique en Marche, a credible alternative to the old orders. Progress?
There’s much to gain for everyone. FBPE Labour supporters, lib dems, greens, even Conservatives who remember when they were a party of business.
The LDs get to dump the tatters of their current brand, association with noxious coalitions and get reborn into a cause they’ve always championed anyway. Much much more importantly, they can forever move on from the eternal vacillation between right and left that makes them always seem to be so wishy-washy to the masses. They can own a defendable EEE position that stands alone – whatever is best for the Environment, the Economy and Europe.
The Greens get what they hate most about the Lib Dems – a wise, canny and incredibly persistent campaigning machine, well funded and staffed by experienced local teams, nationwide. Much much more importantly, they move from huggable pressure group to serious force for good in British politics, demonstrating to everyone why we need pan-national bodies like the EU because climate change isn’t addressed by inward looking protectionist Governments of right or left.
And the remnants of Labour get to move forwards into a Progressive future, really solving the economic problems of poverty instead of back into the destructive class war that created so much mess last time it was tried (see USSR).
Who could lead this new FBPE party? There are any number of candidates in Labour, one in Green and one famously swindled while on Maternity Leave in the Lib Dems. They just have to have the courage to come together across party lines. There are even a few Mutineers in the Tories that could join the fray.
And when they do, they’ll find they already have an inbuilt fan base #FBPE