It’s time to scrap the UK’s ailing party political system. So former adviser to Blair, Brown and Cameron, Paul Twivy, tells Gerald Isaaman
14 July, 2017 — By Gerald Isaaman
HELP, help cries Theresa May in a dramatic reversal of Tory policy from the steps of No 10 seeking a pragmatic cross-party consensus – and new ideas – for the hazardous Brexit way ahead. But is it too late to beg and borrow with such a gamble? You can’t make big mistakes in politics and expect to survive, according to Paul Twivy, one-time adviser to prime ministers Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron.
Certainly not when you have continually insulted your adversaries and insisted only you know the way ahead to a future of prosperity after condemning millions to years of unfair austerity in an increasingly dangerous world.
“Theresa May has already called a snap election nobody wanted and then paid £1million plus to the DUP to support her fragile government,” Paul told me. “She did that despite the DUP’s refusal to allow women the human right of abortion and to accept people’s differing sexuality.
“This is coming from a vicar’s daughter who claims she sought power to help those in need. It is clear she puts political expediency and clinging on to power above all other considerations.”
Calling on other parties to help her in seeking the best possible Brexit deal is not the heartfelt appeal which she should have made for an all-party collaboration the day after the election.
“It simply looks like another example of political expediency to stay in power.”
And on top of that there is now to be a crowd-funded legal challenge to the DUP deal because of its impact on the future of the Good Friday agreement.
Now back home in Hampstead from a refreshing holiday on the island of Crete staying with Private Eye editor Ian Hislop and his novelist wife Victoria Hislop, Paul has reviewed the current sad mess the country is in.
He is planning a revamp of his influential paperback Be Your Own Politician: Why It’s Time For A New Kind of Politics, published two years ago, in which he outlined his own solutions to the UK’s problems.
And his number one answer is to scrap our aching political system now that Britain has become such a divided nation and create a new unity party to overcome the gnawing prejudices of the past to face the economic dangers of the Brexit negotiations and bring about some justice and equality.
“More than ever I do think there is a need for a new kind of politics,” said 58-year-old Paul, a passionate supporter of the Labour party. “And personally I do believe we need a new party called Unity, New Democrat or whatever to bring about change.
“The Conservatives are in total trouble with no obvious leaders coming through, nobody who understands the centre ground and how Cameron got us into this diabolical mess. The Lib-Dems have imploded with Vince Cable now saying Brexit might never happen.
“It is UKIP that has landed us in all the troubles now looming and, while nobody is going to threaten Jeremy Corbyn after he carried out such a tremendous task in the general election, my fear is that Labour is going to stay hard left.”
Paul believes there are people within the Tony Blair Foundation willing to provide the financial support to launch a new party, though he accepts that Blair himself is “too toxic” to be involved.
He has even sounded out former Labour foreign secretary David Miliband on his potential return from his international refugee responsibilities in New York and thinks him becoming “Labour’s great white hope” unlikely.
“Any starting point in all this is going to have to be a labour of love,” he insists. “And I would love to be involved in it and have it as the sole purpose in life to making it happen.”
Meanwhile, events such as the Grenfell fire disaster have shown that both local and national government is out of control and there is a need for increased taxation, especially the LibDem suggested one per cent hypothecation tax to fund the NHS, and the introduction of an investment tax on the owners of luxury homes deliberately kept empty as their market value increases.
The setting up too of a People’s Parliament packed with powerful experts from business and industry, public and specialist services with experience of how to solve problems would mitigate the increasing number of professional politicians lacking working knowledge entering the House of Commons.
And having himself worked in the past for the likes of Richard Branson, Michael Grade and Anita Roddick, Paul ponders the weakened role of Theresa May, saying: “I worried about her before she took office as prime minister and those worries have only got deeper. She is obviously capable, very bright, works very hard and does all the things those dedicated to public service do. But her instincts are very parochial, the worst aspects of parochial, the vicar’s daughter mentality.
“She has this love of the kind of Britain she grew up in like grammar schools. Her views are very narrow and she is obsessed with immigration, her instincts are all anti-immigration. She made a grab for the centre ground of British politics and talked about containing business, creating a fairer Britain and all the rest of it.
“She had the opportunity post-election to consider an all-party investigation into how the NHS is funded and, above all, the war situation we are effectively in on terrorism, climate change, on inequality and the appalling possible impact of Brexit. And people may have accepted the idea of coalition then, but not now.”
• Be Your Own Politician. By Paul Twivy, Biteback, £9.99