English centrists are perhaps getting closer to taking the plunge and setting up a new Centrist Party, inspired by Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche.
Such a party would unite the Lib Dems, the Blairite half of Labour and a few moderate Tories. It’s an idea that I suggested myself 18 months ago. I also pointed out, however, that there’s no need for a new party outwith England, so working with the SNP instead of competing with them would be essential:
[The new party] can then become England’s natural progressive party, and hopefully it could adopt a constructive attitude towards the SNP and perhaps even start supporting the right to self-determination for all the nations of the UK.
Saturday’s Twitterstorm caused by the People’s Vote campaign telling a Scottish audience that “we love the EU because we love the UK” has made me worried, though. Any grouping of the Lib Dems, Blairite Labour and a few Tories in Scotland is going to look a lot like a Better Together reunion, and Scottish members from these parties will do their best to convince the new Centrist Party that it’ll be a great success in Scotland and that they definitely should stand in Scotland. Who knows, they might even call it the Better Together Party (as I suggested nearly four years ago).
That would be a real shame, because it means this new Centrist Unionist party and the SNP will be locked into an eternal fight, instead of supporting each other. If they decided to stand only in England, the new party could work together with the SNP and Plaid Cymru at Westminster, which would make it much easier for them to form a government.
If they’re going to be anything like the People’s Vote crowd, they’ll be completely tone-deaf with regard to Scotland’s special circumstances, so I don’t think they’ll be very successful at all.
I really hope the Centrist mob in England realise that their chances of forming a new government soon will be much better if they team up with the SNP instead of fighting them.