Monday 9 April 2018

Dreaming of Macron

In many respects it's surprising there hasn't been more talk of a third party before now.  Given that a big majority of MPs were pro Remain - at least, until they saw which way their constituents voted - one could have imagined a Remainder voting-bloc in Parliament with sufficient cohesion (maybe even whipping) to constitute a single-issue Party of sorts.

But to date we've only seen the faintest shadow of such organisation: too little to count as a real entity, so far as I can judge.  And then, this weekend, the papers seem to have been briefed that a well-funded new party is on the way.  The Observer / Grauniad is, of course, a particular sucker for this stuff: Polly Toynbee even became an SDP candidate all those years ago.   

The sponsors are obviously dreaming of a Macron in British clothing.  (Polly probably dreams of Macron without any clothing - a charismatic frog with a penchant for older women ...)  These 'third party' fads come round from time to time, for sure: but it really isn't the British Way.

Speaking of Macron, myself & Mrs D have just returned from our usual spring break in Paris, where once again we have been incommoded by the French unions en grève.  We did at least avoid being gassed this time; but they are still a bloody nuisance.   Interestingly, as well as being determined to thwart Macron's plans to reform the French economy, the sans-culottes are protesting that the EU is a conspiracy to eliminate French public services (by which they mean, state ownership of public services, a hallowed concept for many over there).

Our French friends tell us Macron in turn is 100% determined to face them down.  Obviously, Sarkozy and Hollande both tried and failed; but he's convinced he's different.  Maybe he is - his mandate is seemingly big enough, and it's his big bid for gloire éternelle - but only time will tell.

Anyhow:  hard to see where the Remainders are going to find a Brit equivalent to lead their third party.   Are any C@W readers limbering up to join such an enterprise?


UPDATE - here's an academic review of the psephological challenges faced by a putative 3rd party in UK politics  [ link now fixed ]


CityUnslicker said...

Amongst all these hand-wringing remainer wishes for a 3rd party, they do forget the present examples.

A) UKIP - they really were a 3rd party up until 2015 election, only the referendum gambit by Cameron shot their fox. Now, they are broken and unlikely to recover at all.

B) Lib Dems - a third party that was recently in government, hordes of local activists, no policies bar hating Brexit so easy to take over. But no dice, total flatlining in the polls and recent elections, at an abysmal level.

Of course, the UK had a Macron type figure in Nigel Farage, but he too has exited the stage. I just don't see where our Marcon would come from, it would have to be Lord Sugar or some kind of business tycoon with appeal - these are very rare and not rated in the UK. Otherwise, where are the candidates and how would they ever take on and beat the party machines of Tories and Labour?

It only worked for Macron because Le Pen had shrunk the centre-right and Hollande discredited the Left.

Only perhaps a failed Brexit will create such similar circumstances in the UK and anyway, Labour would win in the scenario anyway here.

Electro-Kevin said...

There is a third party. The Lib-Dems. They got pulped at the last election and their poster boy was unseated.

Graeme said...

What I find intriguing is that Macron devised Hollande's labour policy which destroyed his presidency. Macron is surely too shrewd just to have another shot at the same set of initiatives so it would be useful if someone could analyse what he is doing differently this time. It looks as if he is running a divide and conquer strategy. Last year he cosied up to the unions and made some minor tweaks. Now he is focusing heavily on SNCF who have some incredible boondoggles going on and who are therefore not viewed too favourably by the mass of the French. Any further insights are welcome

auralay said...

Just a random thoughtj. Has James Dyson ever shown any political leanings?

Anonymous said...

There doesn't seem to be room for a middle-of-the-road party in England when we already have one (led by Theresa May).

UKIP could have been a new right wing, conservative party, but they never had any policies apart from Brexit.

Don Cox

miker22 said...

Yes, they did Don, they just never got reported....

Tony Harrison said...

No-one has mentioned the elctoral system, which militates severely against would-be new entrants to Westminster. In 2015 UKIP got 12.6% of the vote, for a single MP; last year in Germany the AfD got exactly the same 12.6% - and that new Party has 90 or so seats in the Bundestag. Go figure. As one who hasn't voted Tory in 25+ years and has never voted Labour or LibDem, my vote is worthless, and I am in effect disenfranchised. I dare say many others feel the same.

Anonymous said...

Just a random thoughtj. Has James Dyson ever shown any political leanings?

He'd hoover up the votes as he'd been seen as a new broom.

I suppose it would be suck it and see

Anonymous said...

I'm truly impressed that people still go to Paris. Don't you still have to run the gauntlet at Gare du Nord, or have they sorted the hassling 'youths' out?

re UKIP, someone posted a map on twitter showing how the proportion of votes matches the proportion of seats in (physical) Europe. UK is one of the very worst, which is why Blair (with 10.7m votes in 2005) was able to open the borders with 60% of the seats, but UKIP's 3.8m 2015 votes got them 0.2% of the seats.

Nick Drew said...

Graeme - another aspect (as I am told) is that Macron has been told the idea of attracting City firms to migrate to France post Brexit, when t'workers behave the way they do, is a lame joke

on a related note ... anon@5:46 - Paris really has improved. I am told that a few years ago, when France really needed the tourist revenues, some brave Minister went on the tele and said: listen up, fellow frogs - Paris is notorious the world over for rudeness to visitors etc, and It's Got To Stop.

And it has. Now you get people spontaneously offering to help if you look lost in the street! And in the last couple of years they've reduced the aggro at GdN. Even tarted up the Eurostar departure area a bit

You still get sly beggars mooching around, but then you get that here. And it's nothing like as bad as it used to be, still less anything like Italy

What you also get across Paris, though, is a huge armed presence, mostly in the form of nervous-looking patrols of kid soldiers in fours who look about 16 years old - way too small for the gats they are toting, and deeply unimpressive. If someone actually wanted to acquire some hardware ...

Raedwald said...

Andrew Neil digs with a very straight face at Andrew Adonis from time to time that he's the British Macron - I think it stemmed from Adonis claiming to feel a moral imperative to emerge from retirement to save Britain from Brexit.

The biggest joke though is that poor Adonis doesn't get it, and I'm not sure he has any friends close enough to let him in on it.

Now little Andrew clasped firmly to Polly's bosom ... there's a thought with which to conjure ..

Anonymous said...

As far as I am aware Macron and En Marche is the creation/creature of the Banks in particular BNP.
The front men in the Observer article are no doubt just that and who knows who the other backers are or could potentially be. It's a bit Gina Miller-ish.

It would not surprise me though ,if in due course there was a political adjustment here in the UK. The current party system -or perhaps the parties within it - have had their time and led us to an all -round mess.Thing is it will be establishment led. Perhaps a third party,perhaps more likely at least initially a 'Govt of National Unity'subsequent to or during an engineered Brexit mess which it seems is where we are headed.Incorporating of course abolition of 'first past the post' and 'reform' of the electoral system.

andrew said...

There may be a new party.
Ask yourself what that new party is for that the others are silent on or against.
If you can think of enough things it may be a goer.
It won't be brexit related.

Nick Drew said...

Anon @ 7:04

On the genesis of Macron / EM: have a read of this -

Anonymous said...

ND, excellent,fascinating article. Thank You.
If not exactly the creation of BNP etc, reading between the lines it's where his campaign (and ongoing) finances came from. Parallels with Blair.

(O/T-Should we hope for an EU recession very soon?There was naturally some juice put into the system prior to the German elections, but the effect of such injections does wear off. I can't think of many occasions historically when France French success has helped the UK(1914-18 aside and I go with 'The Sleepwalkers'which suggests the Frogs were keenly instrumental in precipitating that particular disaster).

Andrew.Assume we are looking at the next 2-10 years.If the event isn't Brexit related - which will inevitably include Sterling risk,economic downturn,withdrawal of foreign investment ports/airports closed (no holidays!!) etc etc what might it be?

Thud said...

EK gets my vote! run Kev run.

Anonymous said...

" nothing like as bad as it used to be, still less anything like Italy "

Pleased to hear it but I still won't be going, stick to Brittany and Languedoc. As for Italy, once you get south of Rome the vibrancy magically disappears - I think the locals have a way with them and they move North pdq.

Admittedly the locals can be a bit local themselves, you have to keep your wits about you in a way you wouldn't in Turin and always check both your change AND that what you've been sold is what you asked for.

Electro-Kevin said...

Thanks Thud but I'm too busy bodybuilding.

Today I whaled on my pecs and tomorrow I'm going to beast my boondocks.

andrew said...


You never expect the spanish inquisition...

Here's my one
2021, we have our our coastal waters back, the Russian trawlers carry on fishing and basically tell the RN (what there is of it) to travel far (doubly hurtful as they cant).
We suspect some carry ship/ship missiles and light weapons for 'self defense'.
Labour and Con say little and do less for different reasons.
The was the catalyst for the rise of Urbane Winner, leader of the iceni party. She models the party's organisation on a mixture of the ALF, Österreichische Volkspartei and the WI their innovative policy proposals and asymmetric responses to the 'red cod' (who knew sea scouts were really that prepared) crisis led them to a surprise victory in 2022.

Anonymous said...

Be careful what you wish for.Here in New Zealand we have the MMP system where we vote twice. Once for the preferred candidate and again for the preferred party.( In theory you can vote left and right at the same time).
The result is a lot of small parties who have no chance on their own and even the two large ones need a coalition partner.This provokes a lot of horse trading.
We have Constituency MPs and then the numbers are made up with "List" MPs who are on their party list and who are appointed according to the number of party votes
In all, a bit of a dogs dinner and we now have a Labour Govt which received fewer votes than National but was able to take power with two of the small fry.
Having lost the election, several former ministers in the outgoing National Government have resigned their seats and collected their pensions. No need for By elections as the next person on the party list gets the job.

Anonymous said...

Andrew 5.40
Ha Ha
Under a re-cast system and looking (not too far )ahead a little, a breakaway Muslim Labour party is perhaps more likely.In many respects it's already with us.

That there will be an 'event' or a short order series of same controlled by or with the establishment ready to roll in with their solution is I think inevitable.

Anonymous said...

Arrangements that produce several small parties are no good, because these parties end up demanding that their extreme views on their pet issues become part of government policy, as the price for supporting a coalition.

Israel is a good example, where the religious extremist parties have an influence out of proportion to the votes they receive.

First past the post is best.

Don Cox

Nick Drew said...

Anon @ 7:55 - we've discussed this one before; it's why Sadiq Khan is an important player to watch. Radders has some recent notes:

Have just stuck up an update to the post, giving a link to Kellner's analysis of the psephological / technical aspects for 3rd parties:

Anonymous said...

Blogger Thud said...
EK gets my vote! run Kev run.


andrew said...

Not sure Kev would like the messy compromises you make in politics.

However king Kev has a resonance that king Charles vi does not.

Anonymous said...

Regrettably link to Kelner's piece didn't work.
Nevertheless the difficulties of setting up a new third party support my belief that for the elites the way out of(and/or to refresh) the 20th century LIBLABCON is the classic British compromise. A Govt of National Unity comprising the UNIPARTY and careerist elements of same.Followed by a re-jig of the electoral system probably accompanied by the formation of new splinter parties over time.

As for Tower Hamlets and Khan there's no way to stop the Ummah other than force.

Nick Drew said...

Link now fixed, normal service resumed !