If only politics wasn't like this. That, instead, it was a nice debate among nice people who only mean nice things. Is there a saviour among us who could transcend chronic division, cast aside the muck of ages and guide us along the golden path to full liberalism? Readers desperately casting around need not worry any more. There is a man, and what's more, he has a plan. I give you Jolyon Maugham, Queen's Chambers and Graun/Twitter celeb, and the Westminster-trembling news that he's (sort of) launching a political party. Yes, if liberal ex-ministers with loads of insider experience and a big media profile can get through to the final round of the French presidential elections, so an occasional guest on the Daily Politics sofa can shake up politics. And like Macron and sundry others, Jolyon's even given his party its own stupid name: 'Spring'.
Jolyon originally intended to stand in Theresa May's Maidenhead constituency but, after telling us he has "some great friends in the music and creative industries. Serious people ...", he reluctantly decided that Spring will not get its outing at the general election. Come now Jolyon, to announce a new party and then declaring an intention not to stand, what have you to lose apart from your deposit? If it had stood, it would have been a corker alright. Honest. Theresa May, politics as a whole would not know what to make of it. His shtick? According to the strategy document, Spring's debut campaign was about throwing a party. This would be
a joyous, optimistic thing. Not political.Not talking about politics then, during an election. Great start.
He goes onto say his party's, um, party would be about
celebrating unity. 28 days long, each day ‘hosted’ (food, drink costume) by one of the member states. We have bands, and comedians, and writers, and thinkers, and artists, and designers.Foreign stereotype cosplay is perhaps best left for UKIP socials.
And to deliver focus, and urgency, and to frame the contrast with the nation at large, and to make the party a national event, we stand a candidate (Jo Maugham QC) in Maidenhead against Theresa May.Are you going on the doorstep with your berets and bicycles?
On the feasibility of toppling Theresa May, Jolyon knew he was against a sheer face with jellied eels for grips. But he has positivity on his side, a can do mentality!
There are local pro-Remain groups. The seat has great symbolic value. And – most importantly – if we can inspire people with our celebration they will come again. They will come early, tomorrow. And knock on residents’ doors, and smile, and talkI can imagine what most residents will say back when you let on you're part of the 28 day freak show parading through town.
The celebration will lay the foundations for a new political party. The strength of those foundations are our metric of success. We will collect members. We will build a brand. And we will raise funding. Spring. A new start. A brighter future.Inspiring. Sign me the fuck up.
Spring is a party of the radical centre. Solutions for the world today and tomorrow. Not yesterday.New Labour sloganeering to stir the soul.
After saying they're honest, fair, and progressive, he subjects the mainstream parties to withering critique.
Like Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty, Labour’s left and moderates are bent on one another’s destruction.Hark at that on trend telly reference!
No one knows what the Lib Dems are for – other than the Lib Dems.Nope. Everyone now knows Tim Farron very definitely, definitely loves gay people. But not in a gay way.
And we vote for the Tories reluctantly, lacking an alternative.Do you now, Jo? Such declarations make your progressive creds look ropey ...
Then he moves to wrap up the strategy document.
Step One: Jolyon announces to The Maidenhead Advertiser that he’s standing. It filters out to the National Press. The website goes up, with a short biog, a teaser, a ‘register’ button and a ‘donate’ button.All of which would have got Spring off to a flying start.
Step Two: We announce the festival and some acts.
Step Three: We begin to release policies.
There is a lot to do. But. If you build it, they will come.Field of Dreams. Generations of political people who've read all the notorious tracts from The Prince to What is to be Done? have been doing it wrong.
Yes, there are a layer of people who'd love to see the EU referendum result reversed. And if it wasn't for the utterly foolish and downright dangerous precedent ignoring a clear majority result would be for a democracy, it might be a good idea. The problem is for these folks, remainiacs if you will, the European Union is more than a trading bloc with an opaque bureaucracy. It's their Soviet Union, their City on the Hill, their Jerusalem. In their minds, the EU condenses Enlightenment values and liberal internationalism. It's an achievement standing above the nationalisms and tribalisms of old, that proves we can all get along on the basis of common humanity. And they have the nerve to look down their noses at Leave voters and call them deluded. It's stop-the-world-we-want-to-get-off, liberal-stylee.
Jolyon might think he's putting down a flag and showing leadership, but the laughable awfulness of his foray into party politics shows he's rudderless and without ideas. The remainiac milieu not drawn into the LibDems haven't a clue what to do next, and from that flows confusionism and naivete. At least those taken in by the yellow party, albeit under a false prospectus because they think the referendum result should be honoured too, have a focus. They're getting stuck into politics and helping shape the post-Brexit landscape. What is Jolyon and his oh-so modest "party" doing, apart from parading his naivete?