Pro-EU Change UK is all at sea while Farage’s new Brexit Party flies high in polls
Change UK, the new pro-second-referendum group, has ambitions to be the political party for all ‘remain’ voters in May’s EU Parliament elections, but why are they polling so badly?
The EU remainers’ answer to Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, could not be experiencing more contrasting fortunes. While it’s all smiles for Farage’s slick new anti-EU party as it tops EU election opinion polls in the high 20s, Change UK (the Independent Group), is struggling to cause any political tremors with single-digit figures.
European parliament voting intention:BREX: 27% (+27)LAB: 27% (+2)CON: 16% (-7)LDEM: 8% (+1)UKIP: 7% (-20)CHUK: 4% (+4) GRN: 4% (-4)via @Survation, 17 - 25 AprChgs. w/ 2014— Britain Elects (@britainelects) April 27, 2019
With four weeks to go until Britons head to the voting booths the new group of 11 Labour and Tory MP defectors have a lot of ground to make up, after making a series of fundamental errors.
Lack of a well-known leader
The Brexit Party has Mr Brexit himself, Nigel Farage, spearheading its campaign, while Change UK ostensibly suffer from a lack of name recognition within their ranks, with charismatic personalities in short supply.
The party’s Interim leader, the former Tory MP for South Cambridgeshire, Heidi Allen, is not a household name. She claimed in an interview for ITV in March that she would not make a good prime minister, saying: “I cry all the time, I’m terrible, I’m too emotional by half.” Hardly the response of a confident leader.
Furthermore, the fact that Allen is only a interim chief means that there is a certain lack of direction at the top, with an inability to wield enough power, and set out her clear vision for the party.
If you cannot rely on your established brand name, as Labour and the Conservatives can, then you will inevitably suffer at the polls without a strong leader with a clear vision. At present, Change UK is severely struggling in this area.
The official name ‘Change UK - The Independent Group’ has been ridiculed by many on social media. For one, it’s incredibly long and has also triggered accusations that the group represents the opposite of ‘change,’ due to the makeup of centrist politicians who promote the neoliberal economic status quo.
Have to say I am struggling with the Independent Group’s chosen identity. TIG doesn’t want independence but rather dependence and Change UK is advocating status quo, the literal opposite of change. So ‘Brexit is not Brexit’ and perversely ‘Remain is not Remain’ either!— Oliver Burns - SDP & GTLO (@OliverBurns81) April 25, 2019
Why "Change UK" when that's the opposite of what they stand for? They're so muddled. They won't join with their natural allies, the Lib Dems, either.— Andy Atkins (@AndyLGAtkins) April 24, 2019
Also, how much ‘change’ do they want to create in British politics if they’re not willing to stand in byelections to fight re-election on a different platform to the one they were voted in on in 2017? Allen has also revealed that she would not vote against Theresa May’s Tory government in a no-confidence vote, which appears a strange tactic if you’re running on a ‘change’ platform.
Their ‘barcode’ logo hasn’t exactly gone down a treat either, with one Twitter user cheekily suggesting they chose it because they can be “easily bought.”
New @TheIndGroup is literally a barcode because they're easily bought.Make your donation before they sell-out.Wait, too late. They've been selling out since they entered politics.#ChangeUKpic.twitter.com/E7SmmgJw0g— Alex Smithers (@ElthamAlex) April 23, 2019
Change UK have a cutting edge new logo.It embraces new technology by allowing you to scan it into your barcode scanner app and make anonymous corporate donations from your phone. pic.twitter.com/BycDkskci6— My leftwing eco plot to ruin Easter (@leftist_agenda) April 23, 2019
Who needs policies, we have “shared values”
To date, the group has no official manifesto that outlines their policies. Party spokesperson Chuka Umunna has issued a 50-page pamphlet setting out his own personal ideas, but has admitted the group is yet to agree on a set of policies.
At the launch of the new centrist party in February, Allen struggled to come up with unified policy positions, insisting that the group has come together around a set of “shared values.”
Glad some of our TIGgers could meet with you - shared values are v important https://t.co/phc1aObktD— Heidi Allen MP (@heidiallen75) April 14, 2019
It led to many on Twitter to ask what possibly could these shared values be, seeing as they were formed by lawmakers from both the right and the left of the political spectrum. Some suggested it could be their “shared” fear/dislike of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Listening to Heidi Alan & Lucianna Berger #marr talking about their *shared values* - I'm *open mouthed* at the sheer disingenuity & duplicity of their assertions !The *TIGGERS* are a disparate group - with totally different *world views*What ARE these *shared values* ?— Clare Hepworth OBE (@Hepworthclare) February 24, 2019
The shared value is they all fear aJeremy Corbyn premiership although for very different reasons!— Phillip Neil Irving (@Philirving) February 24, 2019
Poor vetting of candidates
Within 24 hours of parading their candidates for the European Parliament elections on May 23, two were forced to resign after a series of offensive messages surfaced on social media.
Joseph Russo, who was announced as the party’s top candidate for Scotland quit after the discovery of a tweet from 2012, in which he claimed: “Black women scare me. I put this down to be chased through Amsterdam by a crazy black wh***.”Also on rt.com ‘Crazy black wh***’: Second Change UK candidate quits party over offensive social media posts
It can be no surprise that the party has recruited a branding agency, The&Partnership, to “sharpen up” its image. The agency has run advertising campaigns for companies such as Toyota and Lexus.
Too little, too late? Possibly, but the ‘Remain Party’ needs to change course drastically, otherwise they could be headed for oblivion at the upcoming elections which will go some way in gauging the British public’s mood on the Brexit shambles being played out at Westminster.
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