The Independent 'Party'

Once again, Brexit unleashes turmoil in Parliament. Three Conservatives have resigned the party whip in order to become independent, unhappy with the Prime Minister’s handling of Brexit. Looking at who they are, the government is better off without them. Though elected on the Conservative manifesto of 2017 to implement the referendum result, all three are desperate to stop it, pretending that a second referendum is giving the people the final say. This, while simultaneously refusing to call by-elections in their own constituencies, not wanting their own electorate to have a say. Two have been speaking out against the government, including its treatment of benefit claimants, even though their voting records show that they supported the government reform of welfare since 2010. Anna Soubry, who increasingly resembles Margaret Thatcher’s Spitting Image puppet, has regularly spoken out in favour of austerity.

Eight Labour members defected from Jeremy Corbyn’s party, again citing the leader’s complicity in allowing Brexit, as well as his failure to tackle the anti-Semitism scandal. They, of course, are implacably opposed to austerity and restrained government spending. How they’ll manage to get on with their ex-Conservative partners will remain to be seen.

But who is the real loser from these defections? Not Labour, whose hard-left rejoices at the purifying of its parliamentary party. Nor the Conservatives, who found Soubry a particularly grating irritant. No, it’s the Lib Dems. Since 2016, they have been attempting to present themselves as the centrist, pro-European party. It never even occurred to the defectors to sit under Vince Cable’s benign leadership; furthermore, they’ve managed to push the Lib Dems into fifth place in terms of MPs.

We British used to congratulate ourselves on the smooth functioning of our democracy. How we pitied those from other nations whose governments fell to tyranny while our ancient Parliament stood aloof. The last few years have demonstrated the weakness of our system and the petty dishonesty of many politicians.


Image by DANIEL DIAZ from Pixabay