There has been some criticism of Change UK (CUK), formerly The Independent Group, assuming the name “Change UK.”
The criticism from commentators on the group suggests that CUK is more concerned with enforcing the neoliberal status quo than actually making an effective change to political discourse within the country.
We believe this is unfair.
So let’s take a look at the top five policies of The CUK Party that are actual change and not something that has been lifted from Labour policy, the Liberal Democrats or existing Tory manta.
1: Bring Back National Service
Perhaps believing that the UK part of their new name will allow them to convince the few UKIP supporters who are actually displeased with the ascension of Tommy Robinson to join them, The CUK Party launched right into the… erm, right, by declaring support for a form of national service.
“Say the words “national service” and most groan as images of endless sitcoms spring to mind… But as progressives we should be prepared to get beyond visions of the past and create a version of national service that succeeds for today’s world in achieving the one thing that those who actually undertook it are pretty much agreed on: that it brought together people from an array of different backgrounds and different parts of the country in a way like no other. This is not a call for compulsory military service… Instead this is a call to look seriously at developing a programme of national service that will have the effect of bolstering social cohesion for generations to come”Chuka Umunna
Taking us right back to 1957, national service hasn’t even been on the Conservative agenda since who knows when.
However, if our list was one of the entirely original policies, this policy wouldn’t make it, being one of the key policies of neoliberal extraordinaire Emmanuel Macron in France.
“All French 16-year-olds will wear a uniform and salute the flag under a national service scheme that will start trials in June, the government said yesterday. Three thousand girls and boys from 13 regions will take part in the first test of Universal National Service, a much softer version of the compulsory military service that President Macron promised in his 2017 election campaign.”The Times
Emmanuel Macron’s policies have led to 20 successive weeks of rioting in France
2: Changing The Voting System to Help CUK
In his now infamously self-serving march manifesto, Chuka Umunna describes the first-past-the-post system as “undemocratic” and as something that is depriving voters of “choice and impact,” advocating for the additional member system.
However, in 2011 the Electoral Reform Society stated that Scotland’s additional member system used to elect the devolved parliament in Edinburgh was “biased against small parties and in favour of the SNP and Labour.” Perhaps CUK feel that Labour’s shift to the left since then would change matters.
However, the additional member system almost always gives a hung parliament and would certainly doom the UK to a coalition government in perpetuity. Yet, again, without policies to set it on the left or right, CUK would be free to assume “kingmaker” status in any future governments, whether they be Tory or Labour-led.
3: Jeremy Corbyn as Leader of the Labour Party
To be fair, this is also probably Conservative party policy, but we’re starting to struggle.
That the likes of Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Mike Gapes and Joan Ryan were amongst the biggest critics of Jeremy Corbyn is a matter of public record.
As the winds of change sweep across the west, with anti-neoliberal riots in France in their 20th week, the far-right on the march and socialism once again beginning to be reinvigorated by record numbers of Labour members, socialist governments in Spain and Greece and perhaps a new dawn for socialist policies in the United States, you’d think that any politicial with an ounce of political savvy would dropping centerism like it was hot. But not CUK.
Beholden to the fallen messiah Tony Blair, CUK and their allies still in the Labour Party tried every possible tactic to undermine Corbyn and the will of the Labour Party members. Finally, faced with the realisation that they could no longer defy this will and unwilling to face the new political reality in 2019, they took their ball and went home.
We all knew a child like CUK at school didn’t we? the kind of child who always had to be in charge of the games. Who always had to assume the leadership role.
“I’m in charge of the toys and if you don’t like it we’re not playing”
Change UK are that child.
4: OK, Struggling
Now we begin to struggle as many policies are merely expediently lifted from others, such as their policy on Brexit, or so vague as to not be open to comment.
“We must resolve to properly fund the NHS and social care”Chuka Umunna
Cool, how? There is the vague talk of a tax, but little more. There are the usual right-wing dog whistles for an “honest debate about immigration,” the old hard-right mantra of suggesting that “they” are stopping us talking about immigration, all said as if we haven’t been talking about immigration for decades. There’s the old victim-blaming need to “integrate newcomers” and the need for and an “innovative” policy of an elected House of Lords. Hardly anything new or worthy of the name “Change UK”.
Perhaps then, for our fourth entry on the list we may suggest their name being something they might want to change.
Quite how nobody noticed the obvious fact their abbreviated name is far too near “cuck” for comfort is unknown. Perhaps it’s that Westminster bubble we hear about.
Can you imagine David Dimbleby telling us that “cuck hold Streatham” on election night?
“Hello Mike Gapes, do you hope that cuck hold your seat?”
Hasn’t British politics been made a mockery of enough?
Campaign group Change.org meanwhile were seeking legal advice over the move, seeking to challenge the attempt to register the name with the electoral commision.
Something suggests that they didn’t think about this for too long. How terribly unsurprising.
5: Really Struggling Now
We thought that perhaps CUK would have something to say on foreign policy or national security, but it seems they follow the realist line of thought that has dominated for some decades, stating that they are pro-NATO, “patriotic” and that the nation should so “whatever it takes” to protect national security.
Wonderful change and not the same policies of the past 40 years at all. Completely diffectent in fact.
There is no number five on the list. In fact, there is nothing else at all from CUK that either isn’t existing policy from another party or a hark back to the days of Tony Blair. There is no originality, no independent and free political thinking, no innovation and no vision.
While they seem to believe in their own minds that they are the fresh voiced party of reason, in clinging to an ideology that is dying across Europe and the West, CUK are arguably the most out of touch entity in parliament.