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Monday 18 February 2019

The Independent Group - On The Way Out

And so it at long last came to pass: seven formerly Labour MPs walked out of the party to enjoy a brief moment in the limelight before strolling off into well-remunerated obscurity as venerated columnists and talking heads, having damaged the Labour Party, just as the larger part of our free and fearless press would have wished.
The seven who have walked away from the democratic left-wing party they all joined when it was, er, a democratic left-wing party, are Luciana Berger, Ann Coffey, Mike Gapes, Chris Leslie, Gavin Shuker, Angela Smith and Chuka Umunna. All will now sit as a group of allegedly independent MPs. None will fight a by-election. And that’s not good enough.

All were elected as Labour MPs. Had they not stood for that party, been supported by all the unpaid volunteers, and backed by senior party figures, none would have achieved that same level of success. And, whisper it quietly, none of them would survive another electoral contest, by-election or General Election, standing as independents.

As befits an organisation which thus far has served merely for the lucky seven to stand up one at a time and denounce the party that supported them, as if they were reprising Nikita Khrushchev attacking Stalin, the Independent Group’s website has already crashed. But we do know something about their values, or, it seems, the lack of them.

Our primary duty as Members of Parliament is to put the best interests of our constituents and our country first”. But no by-elections. Do go on. “Our free media, the rule of law, and our open, tolerant and respectful democratic society should be cherished and renewed”. Could someone give me some indication of what that actually means, apart from nothing?

And then comes a real pearler: “We believe that our Parliamentary democracy in which our elected representatives deliberate, decide and provide leadership, held accountable by their whole electorate is the best system of representing the views of the British people”. Apart from this being meaningless drivel - no-one in Parliament doesn’t think that - once again, if accountability is the word, then why no by-elections?
Moreover, where are the Tories, and representatives of other parties, throwing their lot in with the seven? No Anna Soubry, no Sarah Wollaston, no Heidi Allen. No Lib Dems. Only the cat-calling against Jeremy Corbyn and his colleagues from has-beens like Jamie Reed, and no doubt those high profile supporters.

On top of that is the sure and certain knowledge that sooner or later, those who are backing the Independent Group will be identified and their motivations examined. In 1981, the SDP had its own backers. The new breakaway group will need its own. Also, the SDP had some serious big hitters from Labour - Roy Jenkins had been Chancellor of the Exchequer and Home Secretary. David Owen had been Foreign Secretary.

Looking at the lucky seven of the Independent Group, there are none of those big names. Nor are there any who, like Owen and Jenkins, might hold their seats at a General Election. No, there is only obscurity to come. The right-wing press will love and sustain them. Question Time will doubtless honour them. And that will be all.

All of that for one brief heroic moment and a few supportive headlines. Sad, really.
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Mark said...

There's only one great loss to the Labour party today and that's the death of Paul Flynn. These lot will not be missed.

Ted Bangor said...

“Our free media, the rule of law, and our open, tolerant and respectful democratic society should be cherished and renewed”.

Interesting the order they put those in.

Starting with the media.... really... that's the first thing you think of that's great about the UK?

Anonymous said...

I'm overjoyed. Good riddance to their right wing poison. Plainly, they have no interest in a genuine "broad church". They are a dishonourable gang of spivs and tenth raters who won't be missed.

But...Oo look who's missing!...Bomber Benn and the twisted hate-filled face of Mann...Any bets they and a few others are hanging back for "a second wave" calculated to come in at another more opportunist moment?

There's a difference this time, though. There is the previous experience of the unlamented SDP spivs and their ultimate disintegration. No amount of far right media (that is, all of it) propaganda can expunge that or, for instance, Clegg's betrayal of the young.

You can expect intensified right wing propaganda. I especially recommend watching "liberal" C4 "News" tonight just to see if retiring clown Jon Snow puts his clown shoe/boot in too. That could turn out to be the most ludicrously funny part of the day.

If you think this right wing move is of evil intent......Wait, you ain't seen nothin' yet. A general election this year would see it reach hysterical proprtions. Not that it's not nearly there anyway.

So, farewell then "independent group". Just fuck off into quisling oblivion. It's all you deserve.

Paul Byrne said...

As a party member, I don't pay my subscriptions to support mendacious fraudsters. The party should, therefore, take legal action to recover to recover the costs of their election expenses.
It's a clear cut case as I see it. If I or any other member of the public gained employment by fraudulent misrepresentation it might well be considered a criminal offense.
If the election was some time ago they might have a little excuse. As it is they were clearly elected on account of our manifesto,, not some revisionist version. I, therefore, think it is incumbent on the General Secretary to start the litigation process without further delay.

rob said...

I suspect the Broad Church as was won't be looking for the return of the Progical Son(s)?

Young Labour
‏Verified account @YoungLabourUK
4h4 hours ago

Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer, we’ll keep the red flag flying here.

Anonymous said...


Watch who employs them in the future.

Follow the money.

Ceiliog said...

Today around Parliament (A Sop (sic) Opera).
Smith chuka coffey. Leslie shuker berger. Mike gapes.
Critics verdict: wtf.

Mark said...

Berger says I'm leaving behind a culture of bigotry. Really? With Gavin 'I'll resign over gay marriage' Shuker?

Mark said...

Or Angela 'It's not just about being black or a funny tinge' Smith. Sweet Jesus. Not even a day old and they're already balls deep into a race row! How long before John 'Sex Pest' Woodcock slinks over?

Anonymous said...

Horse faced Smith also referred to people with "a funny tin(t or tinge)".

She apologised afterwards but it was too late. Her racism was immediately apparent.

Will she now split from the splitters and join "Tommy Robinson independents"?

"Funny" doesn't begin to describe this gang of narcissistic fruitcakes. I hope the door bangs their arses on the way out to take instructions from the Murdoch and Hall-Hall creeps.

A Kelly said...

Gavin Shuker has been treated like absolute dirt by his local party in the last few months. On our local news tonight, everyone shown being interviewed in Luton Town Centre were behind him and not the local Labour party. Even though they know he is an excellent constituent MP, it was on the cards he would be deselected for next election. And if he decides to stand as an independent candidate at the next election, Labour could be in for a nasty surprise if they decide to parachute in someone for this "safe seat".

Labour, Tories, all the same. Constituents? Who are they?

Anonymous said...

@Ann, Shuker deserves to be treated like dirt for being such a blatant homophobe

Anonymous said...

Labour won't be "parachuting" anyone in for any of these seats.

Since the quislings have left there will be a vacant Labour nomination as prospective MP. It's up to the Constituency Labour Party members who they adopt.

All of them have a similar voting record:
- Voted FOR war in Iraq
- Voted AGAINST an investigation into above war
- Voted FOR Airstrikes
- Voted FOR HS2
- Voted FOR Tuition Fees
- Voted AGAINST transparent Parliament
- Voted FOR Mass Surveillance

Those people are a disgrace to British politics and they would see their arse at elections. That's if they had the guts to stand as "independents", and, if elected, to last longer than the laughing stock SDP - who helped pave the way for tory neofascism and large scale destruction of British society before joining the "Liberals". With that historical knowledge anyone who voted for them would be voting for seppuku.

RodJ said...

The Labour Party ceased to be of any use whatsoever years ago. This is just the last twitching of the corpse.

A Kelly said...


Berger was parachuted into Wavertree when there was absolutely no need to bring in non local contenders. Chris Leslie was also from out of his constituency area.

Anonymous said...

The "death of the Labour Party" has been greatly exaggerated.

On the other hand, red tories and other fellow travellers......

Anonymous said...

Ann Kelly 08:57.

Berger and Leslie didn't replace MPs who left to form their own opposing "group". That doesn't make their subsequent behaviour acceptable - far from it, good riddance to both - but it does make the circumstances completely different.

This time those Labour CLPs have no MP to represent them despite the constituency voting Labour.

Do keep up.

A Kelly said...

Watch this space.

Anonymous said...

Ann Kelly 15:54.

This Wikipedia "space"? -

"Berger's selection as prospective parliamentary candidate in early 2010 was controversial within the Liverpool Wavertree party. During the selection process, Berger lived for a month at the home of Jane Kennedy, then the sitting Labour MP, whose partner was Labour official Peter Dowling, who ran the selection process. The completed ballot papers were returned to Kennedy's home address.[27] Kennedy said that she and Dowling had acted properly. In the run up to the 2010 election, the Labour leadership was accused of "parachuting" Berger in as a candidate."

Or the "space" occupied by New Labour Brown and Harman, leaders at the time Berger was "parachuted" in?

Or the "space" occupied by the notorious homophobe Shuker?

rob said...

Apparently Jezza had the answer back in 2010!

"Jeremy Corbyn
‏Verified account @jeremycorbyn
Replying to @Fleeper

@Fleeper our electoral system u vote 4 ur MP rather than a party/leader & I hope that on that basis u can cast ur vote feelin comfortable
9:08 AM - 7 Apr 2010"

It's funny how power change minds somewhat?

Anonymous said...

rob 13:34.

Sounds remarkably like the hooray henriettas who just joined the red tories.

Thanks for giving us a heads-up on forthcoming far right tactics. Every little helps😋