Just launched is the UK EU Party which, it says, “A new UK political party with one purpose, one policy: to stop Brexit. Contesting the EU Elections on 23 May as leading #Remain party”.
As if there weren’t enough parties already wanting to have that title…
Now, of course, in a democracy it’s a good thing if people who feel that existing options don’t cover what they want are free to and get up and go to create something new to put to the voters.
And it should be cause for at least some self-reflection for Liberal Democrats if a group of Remainers decide that the Lib Dems is not the route for them. We should always be open to learning from why people don’t choose us rather than just blaming them for not doing so.
Even so, it is notable how the UK EU Party doesn’t seem to have a clear answer, or indeed any answer, to ‘why is a new party required?’ and ‘won’t creating another party split the Remain vote, helping Brexiter MEPs get elected?’.
For all that I disagree with some of the answers Change UK movers and shakers give to that first question they do, to the credit, have some answers (even if the second question trips them up rather).
Having read the UK EU Party’s website, watched videos, looked up their press releases and searched through their social media postings, I’m still really none the wise as to the UK EU Party’s answers. Indeed, it’s notable how things like this explainer video lead right up to the moment when you’d expect an answer to the first question to be the next thing said, but then none is provided.
Likewise what to make of this?
We intend to become the only mainstream political party in the UK to stand for returning the country to the European Union.
Quite a few other parties, not only the Liberal Democrats, would have something to say about that.
The UK EU Party’s rhetoric is good at bashing Labour and the Conservatives, but then leaps to ‘we need a new party’ as if Lib Dems, Greens, nationalists and others all do not exist.
Change UK gets more of a mention, though that’s often in the form of tweets attacking Chuka Umunna’s past voting record. (And surely the fact that Umunna has become a more ardent Remainer now than he was two years ago is something to be welcomed, not attacked, as people moving towards supporting Remain is just what we need?)
All a bit odd.
It all also adds to the risk of helping elect Hard Brexit MEPs given the way the d’Hondt PR system used in the European elections works. The simple version is that this system benefits larger parties, so the more that votes on the Remain cause are split up into smaller groups amongst many parties, the worse the Remain cause will do. The longer version is here.