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Tuesday 23 April 2019


As it looks increasingly likely that Theresa May’s propensity to kick the can as far down the road as possible will continue for the immediate future, this means the UK will have to take part in this year’s elections to the European Parliament. So the parties have begun to make their pitches to the electorate, and among their number is Change UK, or as it would like to be known, Change UK - The Independent Group.
The new [redacted] logo

Which makes it the CUKTIG or even CHUKTIG Party, hardly a snappy title. The logo is even worse, with Ian Dunt taking one look and concluding “That logo is legitimately fucking bonkers. It reads like nonsense. It looks like a printer error”. But what about the policy offer it will put before the British people? Well, that’s not so brilliant, either.
According to the BBC report on their launch, “Interim leader Heidi Allen told the event in Bristol: ‘These elections are a chance to send the clearest possible message - we demand a People's Vote and the right to campaign to remain in the European Union. We are not afraid to say it as clearly as that … This is no rebel alliance. This is the home of the Remain alliance.’” No, it is A home of Remain support, not THE home.

Because, as the Beeb also points out, “BBC political correspondent Nick Eardley says Change UK want to be the number one choice for those unhappy with Brexit … But he said it would not be easy because plenty of other more established parties - namely the Lib Dems, the Greens, the SNP and Plaid Cymru - will be making a similar pitch”. Also, Labour has a second referendum and a route to Remain in its approach.
Even taking the most sympathetic view of their pitch, CUKTIG is not offering anything that existing parties are already offering. Worse, when it comes to offering themselves up to their respective electorates, they aren’t pro-change at all. They fail the change litmus test. As Tim Shipman of the Murdoch Sunday Times has confirmed, “Heidi Allen makes clear that Change UK won’t vote against May in a confidence motion. Anyone would think the TIGers believe they would lose their seats. Still, a glimmer of good news for the PM”.
Nor will any of them resign in order to force a by-election, and stand as a TIGger, a CHUKTIG, or whatever their preferred acronym might be. Small wonder that Ash Sarkar has concluded “We’re the new upstart innovators, Change UK! Standing for a new kind of politics, a different way of doing thi-“ … “Like a new government?” … “lol fuck no.” To which Kerry-Anne Mendoza added “Should have called themselves Status Quo”.
It’s becoming more and more obvious that Change UK is a name rather like the Taxpayers’ Alliance (not an alliance of taxpayers), the Global Warming Policy Foundation (not about global warming policy), or the Renewable Energy Foundation (not about renewable energy). Or perhaps it’s like Big Brother Watch, which is only about some big brothers who may be watching - there might be some change, but just how much they won’t say.
I'll name that tune in one

It was said of the early-80s SDP that it was mostly a media creation, even though it had several political heavyweights behind it. Change UK has no political heavyweights behind it, and is as close to 100% a media creation as makes no difference.

The only change it will accomplish is being wiped out at the ballot box. End of story.
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Mark said...

I cringed so much I feared my spine would snap when Heidi Allen did the rebel alliance>remain alliance line today. Clearly written by some spotty twenty year old Westminster dogsbody, drunk off the fumes of third hand power all around him and hoping to one day be Malcolm Tucker.

CMG said...

Is the logo a 'fill in the blanks' competition? I'll go for: You Won't Change UK By Voting For The Vacuous And Opaquely Funded Independent #FBPE Echo Chamber Group.

organic cheeseboard said...

As others have noted on Twitter, you'd have thought that if they wanted to be seen as the 'Remain Alliance' they should have something about Remaining in their 'shared values' webpage. But, um, no:


I think they staked quite a lot on there NOT being Euro elections this year - if there hadn't been, they would have had time to develop their 'brand', to road-test ideas and messages, and to gain more MPs as members. But because they genuinely are only united in one thing - hating Labour - everything has been a total mess. They should have sat these euro elections out. Instead, Chuka is using the hashtag #peoplesvoteparty and they're managing to alienate all their previous allies, and have surely killed the PV movement. Maybe the message might sink in across the board - that these people are working only in their own self-interest.

The problem for them as Stephen Bush noted today is that they've been used to two things - sympathetic press coverage with no difficult questions, in their previous incarnations as 'rebels within their parties'; and other people doing the organisational legwork. So they can take a decent group photo and can choose a suitable restaurant to visit as a group *of MPs*, but when it comes to vetting candidates (outsourced, with hilarious results), coming up with actual policies (the only thing they seem to agree on is renationalising the railways is bad?), or even working as a team to settle on a name (nope, they have about 4), or dealing with even vaguely difficult questions - nope. What we get instead is Soubry getting the party name wrong on launch day, four different names at the next launch, their MPs still obviously deferring to Chuka as leader even though it's meant to be Allen (who turns out to be a lot less appealing when the frontperson than when a backbencher), etc.

I dread to think how it will go when Allen is actually pushed on whether she's still the Thatcherite she sold herself as in interviews (she's bad enough when lying about her previous support for brexit), when Gapes is asked why he supports privatisation of the NHS (their 'shared values' are v clear on this - "the collective provision of public services and the NHS can be delivered through government action [...] placing individuals at the heart of decision-making"), etc. It won't take long now the fawning has stopped.

What I cannot understand is why anyone would look at them and think they're worth signing up with vs the Lib Dems. Whatever you think of the LDs, they offer a more radical policy outline than CUKTIG with genuine member involvement and an actual brand, however tarnished.

It'll be interesting to see how the many pundits, mostly at the times, respond to their ideal party having been launched and seeming such an abject mess.