COMMENT: Could group have a positive effect on local issues?

Few would argue that politics in Britain is in a state of flux; some would even go so far as to say the system is broken beyond repair.

Friday, 13th September 2019, 7:00 am

The whole country is at odds over Brexit and our political class have failed to sort out the mess over the past three years.

Our new prime minister is on the verge of a constitutional crisis over the prorogation of parliament, accusations and counter claims are flying in the courts, and a bewildered public wonders if or when the general election will be announced.

All this could either mean that it is the worst time possible to launch a new political group, or, conversely, the best.

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Enter the fledgling and tongue-twistingly-named Progressive Portsmouth People.

Founded by Charles Dickens councillor Claire Udy and ex-resources cabinet member Jeanette Smith, the group is now a recognised political group on the city council.

Admittedly it will be operating at a local, rather than a national level, but it is a sign of how traditional party lines are melting away, perhaps to be replaced by a newer, free-thinking model.

At a national level the party system has become more fractured as the old traditional parties fail to keep up with the splintering views of their members.

So we have the Brexit party, the ill-fated Change UK, various factions within the Conservatives, and the Momentum group within Labour. Even its party leader and his deputy have failed to agree on Brexit policy.

Although the PPP group is recognised as a party on the council, giving it privileges to briefings and information, it is unclear whether, as more independent councillors join, so might its political ambitions grow, enabling it to chase power at the ballot box.

We may yet discover that chaos in the national political system ends up reaping positive benefits at local level.