Waffle and no policies. The Independents prove on Marr they’re the David Brent of politics.

Luciana Berger MP and character David Brent played by Ricky Gervais
Joshua Funnell

There isn’t much to laugh about in politics at the moment. But thankfully the new Independent Group of Labour losers and Tory turncoats are providing us with plenty of gags.

What could be funnier than a new group of politicians who want to be taken seriously but have no policies? And this was brutally exposed again on The Andrew Marr Show on 24 February.

What do you actually stand for?

Appearing on Marr, the former Conservative and Labour MPs, Heidi Allen and Luciana Berger, faced a simple question:

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Ok, what does this new group actually stand for?

You can watch their answers in full below:

Their answers gave new meaning to ambiguity and waffle. Marr asked Allen about renationalising the water and the railways, “yes or no?”. She responded:

My gut instinct is no, but like all of these things it needs to be built on evidence. And actually – rather than just choosing ideological solutions, what will work and what can we learn from other countries.

Berger then added:

Before you carry on, I mean I just say that we are 6 days in. And we’ve taken the step to leave our parties. We haven’t even had our inaugural meeting…and actually, but for all of these policy decisions, the idea that you’re asking me through the prism of the ‘old politics’ and what we’re seeking to do is actually do this in a very very different way. We’re not going to… we’re going to listen to the country.

So apparently the old ‘prism’ of politics is bad because it demands small things like actual policies. Talk about setting a low bar.

Berger then added this, as though it clarified matters:

I point people to, I guess what binds us together, which, which, you know, the platform that we’ve come together on at the moment is our values… And we’ve got a website called theindependent.group which people can look at.

It is worth noting that the Labour Party and others also have websites. These websites also have the added benefit of including policies and manifestos.

David Brent joins the independent group

Many observing this performance couldn’t help but notice a resemblance to someone else. Not Martin Luther King, John F Kennedy or Malcolm X, but the character David Brent from The Office.

Ealing Labour for Corbyn on Twitter made this edit illustrating the comparison:

And not wanting to leave him out, they had one for Chuka Umunna too:

The Guardian journalist, Owen Jones, also picked up on the Brentisms:

 Jones also gave short shrift to a fellow journalist sympathetic to the independents:

Waffle and vague language is very much the ‘old politics’

Despite having the benefit of a sympathetic media that seems to share its politics, the Independent Group’s hollowness on policy is being exposed. Having a website and claiming to have ‘values’ is marvellous. But it will give little hope to people around the country without economic power who are currently fighting for survival in an unequal system. And it provides no concrete policy solutions to address climate change, rampant inequality, or any other issue for that matter.

Featured image via YouTube – Liverpool Echo and YouTube – Ricky Gervais

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