The Boaty McBoatface Party

20th March 2016


“The British public are trying (and succeeding) to have a £200 million boat named Boaty McBoatface.” (A viral tweet)


This is not a party-political blog – there is good and bad, and liberal and illiberal, in all main UK parties.

But domestic politics, especially in Westminster, seem to be in a state of chaos.  The Conservative Government, in the days after Duncan Smith resigned, is imploding; Labour provides no effective Opposition; and the post-Coalition Liberal Democrats are a discredited irrelevance.

Shambles everywhere.

One may well sneer at American Trumpery – but we can’t be that far off having a similar ‘anti-politics’ mood here.

It would then just take a charismatic genius to start a populist, say, Boaty McBoatface Party and our political class would be buggered.

The usual barriers to populist extremism in UK politics – the parliamentary system and first-past-the-post voting – are not absolute protections.  It is not inevitable that populists will somehow always be kept away from power.

Ultimately, democratic politics is about legitimacy – particular politicians exercise power when it is legitimate for them do so, and those politicians in turn obtain (and lose) power within a wider system which has its own legitimacy.

But legitimacy – like any other form of belief – can disappear when minds change.

Unless the main parties get their respective acts together, then there is no inherent reason they will be the parties which the greater number of voters will vote for.


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7 thoughts on “The Boaty McBoatface Party”

  1. A large part of the UK’s problem is our stupid FPTP system. It leads to unpredictable results which permit parties with little popular support to get elected (and then to introduce policies which are far more extreme than they would have dared tell the public about in their manifesto).

  2. It doesn’t help that everything Labour does is either spun or ignored by the media. You might think differently if they hadn’t become so corrupted. Hanging out with that Nick Cohen can’t have helped either.

  3. ‘Labour provides no effective opposition…’

    But on the contrary, for the first time in many years, Labour has leapt to the defence of disabled people, promising to rescind the cruel PIP cut. Owen Smith was on TV this morning doing so, despite biased and aggressive questioning from Andrew Neil.

    Neither Brown nor Miliband gave such opposition.

  4. When it comes down to it, the idea that we can elect the “right” person or the “right” party to lead the country is ridiculous. Every time we have an election, we get the unknown appointed by the unknowing.

    The power of democracy lies in the fact we are able to sack incumbents.

    > It would then just take a charismatic genius to start a populist, say, Boaty McBoatface Party and our political class would be buggered.

    But what would its policies be? It can’t be any further left of Labour. UKIP occupy the right. If it were a serious centre ground party what would actually distinguish it from a Con/Lib coalition?

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