The Conversation: Tom Quinn: Independent Group: the tactical choices ahead if it wants to become a parliamentary force

I agree with Mr Quinn’s analysis of the Independent Group, their “likely endpoint is another merger” with the other centrists party, the Liberal Democrats. In the same way as the SDP ended up merging with the Liberal Party in the 1980’s, it’s the logical outcome of a binary political system. I voted to remain, and Chuka Umunna is my MP, so theoretically I should vote for his pro European platform, and return him to Parliament at the next election. I’m not sure I will. For me the only way forward is the solution offered by the Labour Party. We leave the European Union but maintain a strong trading partnership, that includes free movement, and regulation parity. Labour and Corbyn have been criticised for their stand, accused of propping up right-wing Tories. I don’t think that’s what is happening. I think Corby is using our exit of the European Union as a way to further the manifesto promises of the last election. I still think leaving the European Union is an act of social and economic madness; we’re playing Russian roulette with five rounds in the six shot cylinder. The chances of us emerging alive on the other side are slim. But I am equally unhappy with the neoliberalism of European Union. Two things come to mind when I think neoliberalism. The first is Thatcherism. A system of “dog in a manger” economics, obsessed with the vagaries of the market and privatisation; a property owning democracy that either revels in Boomtown, or sleeps rough when the economy hits the skids. The second thing that comes to mind is something said by Ken Loach. The European Union is a club for bosses. It may offer workers rights, minimum safety standards for consumer goods, free movement of goods, services, and of course workers. But all of those benefits are designed as much to mollify it’s citizens, as they are to enrich the wealth of the bosses. Given a choice between a revolver with five rounds in the chamber, and cheaper food, I’m going to choose cheaper food. But if our food is going to be more expensive, perhaps that can be offset by cheaper utility bills and cheaper transportation when those industries are nationalised under a Labour government. Just a thought.