Green Party MP Caroline Lucas wrote to ten elected middle-class white women to ask them to form an alderwomen cabinet with her to prevent a cliff-fall no-deal Brexit.
In an announcement of her plan in the Guardian she said
“I believe women have shown they can bring a different perspective to crises, are able to reach out to those they disagree with and cooperate to find solutions.”
Included among the recipients of her letter were former Tory MPs Anna Soubry and Heidi Allen who changed parties without calling by-elections, current Tory MP Justine Greening, former Tory/LibDem coalition minister and current LibDem leader Jo Swinson and former Labour minister Yvette Cooper. What unites the five named is their opposition to socialism. A quick perusal of their voting records in parliament revealed commitment to austerity and opposition to socialist policy. (The other five were Kirsty Blackman, Sylvia Hermon, Liz Saville Roberts, Nicola Sturgeon and Emily Thornberry.)
Lucas claimed the ten MPs “reach out to those with whom they disagree.” That claim was demonstrably false: From the moment she became leader of the Lib Dems Swinson attacked the Labour leadership and sought to undermine Corbyn, Cooper has criticised Corbyn constantly from within Labour and Allen and Soubry’s (former) party Change UK mocked Labour policy and ideology relentlessly. Rather than “reaching out” their shared objective has been to undermine and sideline the leader of the opposition.
Contradicting her claim quoted above Lucas said “political tribalism would likely scupper any moves that are just about putting Jeremy Corbyn in charge. Politicians from some other parties have made clear that they would not serve under his leadership.” It isn’t “tribalism,” it is opposition to socialism. Centrists fear socialism much more than they oppose disastrous no deal Brexit. They want to use a GNU to usurp the role of opposition to the Tories from the real opposition. Lucas’ plan fits that strategy. She chose politicians who sit in a narrow centrist band and who want to wrangle influence and power that their respective electoral supports don’t merit.
Lucas’ plan is intrinsically undemocratic as is any GNU as Lea Ypi explained: “A government of national unity led by backbenchers rather than the current leader of the opposition would not only suspend party democracy in the present, it would destroy confidence in it for the future.”
Lucas said she wanted to mend “our broken democracy.” However, her plan to do that is at odds with democracy.
Postscript: The Colour Bar
It is not clear why Lucas chose to omit BAME women. Racism has benefitted from Brexit; was Lucas’ decision appeasement, a “reaching out” to extreme Brexiteers, or was she just stupid?
Government of National Unity?