There’s something a bit stinky about Renew, ‘the UK’s most credible new political party’ according to press release that heralded the party’s launch earlier this week.
It’s not surprising that another new party has emerged. In the febrile atmosphere of Brexit, now is a healthy time for new parties – 50-odd were created last year and more than 20 have emerged this year before we’ve even left February.
What is odd that anybody cares.
Beyond a press conference, a functional website and a vague centrist ethos, it’s unclear what Renew has that many of the other small outfits don’t. From the outside, it is bizarre that a party led by an accountant, a start-up consultant, a comms advisor and a fintech executive with limited experience in politics has gained any traction.
From its website the party has 19 declared candidates. According to the Core interview with principal James Clarke, it is crowdfunded, and has a few larger donors. Given that it is deliberately drawing candidates who have never been in politics before – much as French president Emmanuel Macron did before he was elected – it presumably has few local roots in any of the constituencies it will fight for.
Equally, many of the arguments are remoaner boilerplate. None of the spokespeople can countenance that the EU is an unloved institution in Britain, with all attributing the leave vote to inequality, or anger at the financial crash, or anything but the idea that the British do not want to be governed from Brussels. Nor do they have a convincing argument for why the referendum should be ignored.
What gives? The only reason I can think of is that they have connections in the media that allowed them to wrangle some early coverage. And while it’s possible it could take off, there’s no reason to think it will.