Anna Soubry gives new meaning to the word ‘gibberish’ in a farcical BBC interview

Anna Soubry and the Independent Group logo
John Shafthauer

In a farcical interview, Anna Soubry admitted that The Independent Group (TIG) still hasn’t had conversations about policy. As politics is about implementing policies, this seems like a startling oversight. Soubry seems confident that the breakaway MPs’ “shared values” will mean everything comes together, though.

Gibberish

On BBC Newsnight, Host Kirsty Wark put it to Soubry that TIG would accept MPs who differed on policy. Soubry argued:

Sorry, we don’t have any policy; we’re not a political party.

Wark argued that TIG would “eventually have to stand for something” – that it couldn’t just be a party of “shared values”. Soubry shot back:

No, no, no, no. All these things, I have no doubt will happen, and come about. That is not – if I may say – you’re still stuck in the old way of doing things. This is something new and different.”

Despite arguing that TIG is something “new and different”, it’s difficult to prove this, as it hasn’t worked out what’s new or different about it. Not having any policies is certainly unique, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. As for being “stuck in the old way of doing things”, her avoidance of policy discussion sounds a lot like New Labour, the coalition government, the Cameron government, the May government, etc.

Tribalism

Soubry continued:

The thing that unites us is not just the values and the principles, but the fact that we are not tribal.

That’s all well and good, but “values and principles” aren’t going to save people from austerity. This is especially true of TIG values, as Soubry has praised austerity since joining the group. As these MPs have “shared values”, can we assume her TIG colleagues also approve of austerity?

Wark pointed out “we need to know what you’re for, not what you’re against”. Soubry said, “but you do know what we’re for” – referring to the ‘values’ of the group. Worryingly, Soubry went on to say this:

We believe in sound economic policies, and a sound economy – that can fund first-class public services… We’re tolerant.

Most people would say they believe in sound economic policies and tolerance. Politicians are supposed to deliver on these things, though, which means actually explaining how they’ll do that.

Come together

Wark followed up by asking if TIG wanted high or low taxation, to which Soubry admitted:

we’ve not even had these conversations yet.

Wark questioned what would happen if, when these conversations eventually happened, TIG members disagreed. Soubry argued:

You cannot speculate like that.

It’s certainly the case that TIG can’t speculate like that, because they don’t seem to discuss things. Soubry continued:

We just know between us as a group that we have these common values and these common principles and they guide us in our political life, and we’ve recognised them in each other, and they’ve brought us together.

So, that’s reassuring. Or it is to anyone who likes really vague statements, anyway.

Power

Potentially, TIG will pull some ideas together before the general election it’s trying to avoid:

It would be wise for the group to do so, because if not, it’s going to be asking people with real problems to vote for wishful thinking.

Featured image via Twitter

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  • Show Comments
    1. So now we all know with absolut certainty that “New Labour” members had & have the same principles & values as the Tories, well I’ll go to the foot of my sock. So what we have here is a political party, thats not a party, with no policies, cause they don’t matter, & who believe in stuff, they’re just not sure which stuff yet. And the only debate they seem to have sparked is, what’s the point.

    2. If it’s all so irrelevant why are you getting so excitable and angry about the IG? Given the chaos and carnage the Tories have led us to a handful of Labour seats will be neither here nor there as Corbyn takes the nation with him into no.10.
      Blair left government 12 years ago. And why are you all still banging on about Blairites?
      Is nobody alllowed to have a different view of left wing politics to the Momentum creed? Or are we all Churchillites??

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