Plenty of media talk about the possibly setting up of a new centrist political party. With Labour hurtling towards the hard left and the Tories bended at the knee to the resurgent hard right, what of those of us who aren’t hard left and hard right? Set up a new party, some are saying. Sorry, though, comrades. If it’s a centrist only party, then count me out.
I don’t know what a centrist party will be like. It will be for and against everything. For private health and for the NHS. For private schools and for state education. For fairness and equality and against it. By its very nature, it can’t be a particularly reforming party. Lots of people, for all kinds of reasons, are part of the centre ground. It’s complicated.
I’m not trying to suggest we are all left or we are all right. Huge swathes of the country, defined as the centre ground, can swing elections. I am not of the centre. I would describe myself as mainstream Labour, as much a social democrat as a socialist; someone who believes in a genuine meritocracy, a properly funded NHS, dignity in old age, genuine opportunity for all. That lot makes me indisputably left of centre. I don’t want everything nationalised except the railways and, in due course, the utilities and I quite like a fairly regulated competitive free market, at home and abroad. So, a rootless new party offering something for everyone won’t work with me.
Having said all that, the Labour Party of Jeremy Corbyn, Seumas Milne, John McDonnell, Derek Hatton, Len McCluskey, Chris Williamson, Diane Abbott, Owen Jones and Mark Serwotka simply cannot be my Labour Party. My version of Labour was represented by Clement Attlee, Harold Wilson, Aneurin Bevan, Neil Kinnock, Gordon Brown and, above the lot, Tony Blair. The Labour Party has deserted me, not the other way around.
The Liberal Democrats are toast and have been since they took jobs in David Cameron’s hardline, austerity heavy Tory government of 2010, condemning the very poorest people to the scrapheap. They haven’t said sorry, they probably never will. In any event, they were all things to all men and women. They were the sort left alternative to Labour in the south and the sort right alternative to the Tories in the north. No more. They are nowhere thanks to Nick Clegg and his friends, most of whom were given knighthoods by Cameron in part payment for propping him up. So, what’s left?
The answer is nothing is left for me. Corbyn offers the same reheated Bennite garbage from the 1980; he has never had an original idea in his life. He has spent a lifetime avoiding power and responsibility, whilst at the same time cosying up to tyrants and terrorists. Under his pathetic leadership, Labour now finds itself deep in the sewer of anti-Semitism. I lent Corbyn’s Labour my vote in 2017. Never again. The Lib Dems are a busted flush, I despise the Tories and will until my dying day. There is nowhere to go and a new centrist party will not replace the Labour I once held so dear, the party that was set up for working people and is now in the hands of hardline extremists.
Politics in the UK is in a very dark place. It’s only going to get darker.