On 18th February, seven Labour MPs stood side by side and collectively announced that they were resigning from the Labour Party and forming The Independent Group’. These seven MP’s were joined a day later by an eighth and were swiftly followed by three Conservative MPs.
This new rupture in the two-party system is the result of a growing sense that politics is broken and no longer represents a significant proportion of the electorate
The Conservative Party - propped up by the DUP - has been hijacked by the right. It remains irrevocably split on Brexit, dogged by cases of Islamophobia and lacking any kind of long-term vision for our country, beyond further cuts and austerity.
Similarly, the Labour Party has been captured by the hard-left. Under Jeremy Corbyn, the party has become institutionally racist, as shown by the Equalities Watchdog’s ongoing investigation into the party’s handling of antisemitism complaints.
Many former and current Labour members - including many MPs - have been subjected to abhorrent abuse and harassment both on social media and in person by those claiming to represent the party and even Jeremy Corbyn himself.
On Brexit, both parties have failed voters, choosing to put tribal party politics ahead of our national interest. The Conservative Party has been dysfunctionally split on the European issue for over a generation - from the Maastricht rebels to today’s ERG - a failure of leadership from successive Tory leaders has left us facing a national crisis.
Labour has chosen to ignore the views of the majority of its voters and members and refused to campaign for a People’s Vote with the party instead positioning itself to help facilitate a hard Tory Brexit. And in doing so, it is betraying millions of young voters who have not yet had a say over this crucial issue
On policy, both the main parties are bereft of any new ideas to take our country forward. Labour’s vision for the county, based on the re-heated politics of the 1980s, would wreck our economy, costing jobs and harming thousands of working people in the process.
After ten years of Conservative rule, our country is tired. Our public services are in dire need of investment, local councils are starved of funding, the NHS is at breaking point and millions of people are struggling to make ends meet due to low pay and economic growth has ground to a halt.
Our politics is well and truly broken and It’s become abundantly clear the country needs an alternative and is crying out for change.
We believe firmly that The Independent Group can be that change.
And although TIG is not yet a full political party, it’s has already had a significant impact on our politics, holding the established parties to account on Brexit.
Tens of thousands of former Labour and Conservative party members, who felt unrepresented by their parties have pledge their support to TIG and nearly twenty per cent of voters have said they’d consider backing a TIG candidate in a general election.
TIG’s spokesperson, Chuka Umunna has discussed the need to reform our electoral system, which is unrepresentative and leads to millions of lost votes. In a recent pamphlet, he set out a range of radical proposals, including ending excessive executive pay, means testing tuition fees, increasing taxes on dividends to fund universal child care and a hypothecated tax to fund our NHS.
Unlike the main parties, that have become inward facing, TIG believes we are at our strongest when we confront challenges together, cutting across traditional party lines and building a consensus for change.
In this spirit and in order to play our part in shaping the political debate in the months to come, we have created ChangePolitics.org.uk.
Change Politics will bring will you the latest views and news on everything TIG as well as a forum for debate and discussion among those within the movement and beyond.
However, we hope this only the start and with your support we want Change Politics to grow into something far bigger.
We are already planning for the future, with a desire to move beyond the online space and link up with many of the grassroots group that are beginning to emerge in support of TIG.
Through the emergence of TIG, we now have a unique opportunity to change our politics and our country.
We hope you can join us in support of TIG and make this change a reality.
The Editorial Team; Dan Heley, Ollie Middleton, Jo Thorne, Joe Russo