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Agreed on all points except I think Change UK will have to cooperate with the Lib Dems in order to have any chance of surviving the brutal FPTP single seat electoral system and, indeed, combine with them to have any chance of replacing the Tories in the Westminster duopoly.

BTW I also agree with you on the futility of trying to make accurate predictions, but sometimes it's fun anyway!

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Apr 8th, 2019 at 03:38:34 PM EST
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I think any cooperation between the LibDems and another party would be less than the sum of its parts. They might have some infrastructure that a new party lacks, but they will bring a lot of baggage.
It sort of reminds me of the German Left party, though on reflection the similarities are fleeting.
They were a fusion between a Social Democratic splinter formation from the West and the successor to the Eastern Socialist party. Though the problem here really wasn't the Iron Curtain and the Stasi (as soon as you want to raise taxes on the wealthy all those things become your fault. Remember that Angela Merkel was already politically active in the GDR, which is no blemish on her character, yet the SPD, the only party that didn't absorb part of the old East German apparatus, is always too close to the Reds). Here the problem was that the Eastern party was a mass party that wasn't particularly willing to run radical policies in states they controlled. And that cost them a lot of momentum.

Shrinking in fusions is also something that has happened to most leftwing parties that tried it in recent years. And why not? If you can't make a plausible claim to power, than you can only be hurt by compromising on positions.
But to get back to the point: A party that runs on remaining in the EU, very popular with young people, but also carries responsibility for tuition fees, as popular as cancer among young people, might very well fail to lift off.

by generic on Tue Apr 9th, 2019 at 09:50:14 AM EST
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I think any cooperation between the LibDems and another party would be less than the sum of its parts. They might have some infrastructure that a new party lacks, but they will bring a lot of baggage.

Good points. The Lib Dems also have form in this regard, with the Liberals merger with the Social Democrats providing a temporary boost followed by long term decline (again).

But the FPTP single seat constituency system really only permits a power duopoly with some regional variants in semi-autonomous polities. Sinn Fein and the DUP have also all but destroyed the SDLP and UUP, and it takes a very severe upheaval to bring either into play again.

My argument in the diary is that Brexit could represent one such upheaval, and that if it does change the constituents of that duopoly, the new duopoly could be just as difficult to overthrow.

Proponents of the system argue it is required to produce stable governments - yea right - and that the continental system of almost inevitable coalitions would never work for the UK.

The downside is that there is almost no history of major parties working together and societal polarisation can reach extreme levels, as in the US and UK right now.

So the bottom line is that neither the Lib Dems nor ChangeUK have much of a future in UK politics unless they can displace either the Tories or Labour in the duopoly and to do that they need a crisis and unity of purpose - however temporary - to give themselves a fighting chance in most English constituencies.

This doesn't have to be a full blown merger or policy alignment on all issues, but could be simply an agreement not to compete against each other in winnable constituencies. Quite who gets to lead in what constituencies could be difficult to agree - particularly before a snap election - but a simple system of improvised primaries where the public are invited to select the joint nominee could add novelty, interest, and public participation and legitimation to the process.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Apr 10th, 2019 at 09:38:46 AM EST
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