Having campaigned in the dullest prose, it may not be a surprise to find Theresa May proceeding to govern without any obvious hint of wit. Brexit means Brexit really does mean that May plans to wrestle some sort of ‘sensible’ Brexit into existence.

For her, this is likely to be a terrible mistake. Brexit never did mean Brexit: the vote reflected myriad concerns which bore but superficial connection to the European Union.

There has so far been no hint of an emerging upside, capable of persuading Remainers. No positive case can be stated in prose, facts or figures. To make Brexit ‘real’ is simply to make the UK poorer economically and diplomatically.

For Leavers, Brexit’s allure lurks in the poetic. It is an expression of faith in our faded national narrative. It suggests a desire that Britain reassert itself. Bold action would be called for to sate that hunger.

And so when a ‘sensible’ Brexit is proposed, Brexiters jeer. Any actual Brexit deal is bound to be taken as a betrayal and the more cynical Brexit leaders have been planning for that from the start. A dream cannot be distilled into negotiated terms.

Since the Brexiters will fight tirelessly to kill any deal, it follows that supporters of the ‘Brexit dream’ are any, but one, actual Brexits’ deadliest enemies.

And you do not have to be too devious to suggest that it may be best, better even than a People’s Vote, for Brexiters to be the ones to murder Brexit.

This prize is now tantalisingly close. The question is what, if anything, needs to be done to nudge the Brexiters forward.

The answer would, unnervingly, appear to be nothing at all. 

Brexit then becomes a game of chicken: can a ‘no deal’ be allowed to take place? Brexiters appear increasingly attracted to it. They have moved from suggesting that it was necessary to leave the possibility on the table as part of our negotiating strategy, to positively craving it. For them, it is the only Brexit bold enough.

If Leavers can be convinced that a ‘no deal’ Brexit is inconceivable, Brexit dies. But any campaign along those lines will be slated as Project Fear 2. 

If Leavers can’t be convinced, our politicians have a choice either to prevent it anyway and face the full force of a “Betrayal” movement, or to let it happen so that all can see with their own eyes why a comprehensive deal (membership or something like it) is necessary.

Either way, Brexit’s days are numbered.

Another minister has resigned and more will probably follow, so where do we go from here?

The Tories too weak to govern (let alone negotiate), and Labour so diminished they thought 262 seats a victory. These parties on their own simply cannot provide the UK with an effective government.

It seems to us there are three genuine divisions in this House of Commons. Brexiters vs the rest; Socialists vs the rest; and Separatists vs the rest. These three movements thrive on division. They repeatedly state that their opponents are all the same: red Tories; Remoaners; the Westminster parties.

And yet where would each of them be without their supposed enemies?

Brexiters without the rest of the Tory Party are impotent. Oh, we don’t say that Brexit could just be ditched. The referendum result must be observed, but that can sensibly be done by negotiating a Soft Brexit and offering a second referendum on the result. Leave softly or stay cautiously. That is the real choice the vast majority of the British population thought they were making during the referendum. It is only by their hijacking of the Tory Party (or rather the Tory Party’s failed hijack of Brexit) that the possibility of a Hard Brexit ever arose.

Socialists without the Labour Party are equally powerless. Their current leadership position merely reflects an ill-considered quirk of Labour Party rules. Without control of the Labour Party they would have no chance of influencing policy at all. And even with it, they only managed 262 seats.

The Nationalists haven’t hijacked a party, they’ve hijacked a country. A country which has made it clear it does not want to leave the UK. It is only the fact that Unionists are divided between Labour and Tory that lets the Nationalists in.

Whatever use the old political parties once had, whatever use they still might have, it cannot be avoided that they are each currently giving a platform to one of their mutual enemies.

The answer is for the old party system to be (temporarily) put to one side. Until the Brexit crisis has been dealt with, we need a government of national unity. Brexiters, Socialists and Nationalists can support it, or try to form an Opposition among themselves.

A government of national unity is anyway the only sensible response to the Brexit vote. Whatever the final Brexit arrangement, we will need it to represent a consensus. There is no advantage to our relationship with the EU being fought over every 5 years. We need, if not to get back to normality, then to create a new normality. We cannot afford a Tory Brexit, followed by a Labour Brexit, followed by renewed EU membership, followed by another Brexit. The issue must be settled convincingly.

The question for MPs today is clear. Are you ready to put the national interest above the old tribal divisions? If you care about the United Kingdom you must stop playing at politics, and boldly seize the initiative by coming together. You need to settle on a Prime Minister who can command support across the Commons. Is that really so hard? Your real enemies say you are all the same, but only to keep you divided, only to make you support positions you know to be wrong. They know that if you joined together, they’d be pushed back to the margins where they belong.

If MPs can’t agree on one of their own to lead them, they should look to the Lords. In a national crisis the people will accept a Prime Minister who sits above day-to-day politics. In some ways that might even be better, as it would make it clear that this government will be a short-term measure, not designed to stand for future election. We won’t presume to suggest names or what party (if any) the Prime Minister should come from. It seems to us there are plenty of credible candidates.

This will happen because it makes real what the people have already voted for. Five year Parliaments plus the maths of this Commons make it inevitable.

The question for us is how bad does the crisis have to get before our MPs rescue the country?



I must have missed the stories about 16 year olds throwing themselves under horses at the Derby and chaining themselves to railings, because apparently the Labour Party have decided to extend the franchise to 16 year olds.

Obviously, not all 16 year olds would actually get a chance to vote in a general election, but every 5 years some lucky year 11s would win the franchise lottery.

In return, politicians (including fringe politicians) would have to be allowed into schools because until the end of the school year in which they are 16, pupils are obliged to attend school. Given the current scandals, that in itself should be enough to kill this thoroughly bad idea. But it gets much worse. Schools themselves would be politicised (please vote for x as we’ll get more facilities). Pressure would be placed on 16 year olds by their parents, their teachers, their local politicians and each other. 16 year olds would be every politician’s dream: a captive audience.

The Labour Party may see this as a free boost for them, a clever piece of gerrymandering. But if my childhood memories aren’t totally distorted I would expect UKIP-style politics to fare very well in the playground. This will inevitably lead to an increase in racial and class-based bullying.

Our feeling is that this is a cynical attempt to exploit rather than empower. We feel it would be better to help 16 year olds get on with each other, not to invite them to dwell on their differences.

The 18 limit is the age of majority and widely accepted. If Labour opens it up to 16 years olds, what is to stop a future right-wing government pushing it down to 14 or 15 when their polls show that group are more conservative?

A convention has arisen for constitutional changes to be put to a referendum. A move this controversial must be put to the people. If the Labour Party want to show they are serious about this, they should commit to a referendum on this issue in their next manifesto.

Well we did say we didn’t believe in ghosts! Of course, we acknowledge that the Experiment was a punt. Why should MPs trust some random website which offers to put their anonymous views out? How desperate would they have to be to do that? Clearly, very desperate indeed.

But if Labour or the Conservatives really were full of wannabe Centrists who despised the direction their parties had taken, they would be desperate. They should be desperate.

There has always been some confusion about whether red and blue ‘Centrists’ are Centrist by inclination or by calculation. It can be very hard to tell, but it now seems to us that there is currently no chance of a realignment of politics back to the Centre emerging from the Commons.

So where does that leave us? A new party? A list? A movement? Waiting for events? We’ll look at each of these further over the coming weeks, but we are left with no doubt that the old Centre is quite dead.

On 21st October I sent an email to all 650 MPs inviting anonymous contributions with a deadline of yesterday.

As I explained in the email, the point of this experiment was to test whether there really were desperate Centrists who wanted to get a message out, but just couldn’t for party or personal reasons. We kept knowledge of this website private so that only MPs were aware of it. We opened the comments section, provided an anonymous voicemail hotline and invited emails from anonymous email accounts.

The only response we received was from Paul Flynn MP telling us that he had always felt free to say what he thought. Good for him! He didn’t play along, but it’s always good to know your email’s been received.

We will leave the comments section below open to see whether any, more timid, voices are prepared to come out of hiding and we’ll publish our conclusions tomorrow.

It would be fitting for the ghosts of the Centre to make contact on Halloween. That said, we at deadcentre.com don’t believe in ghosts.

We live in a world of broken stories. Brexit, Islamic fundamentalism, Trump, the EU itself, all of these can be better understood by focussing on the relevant stories and the contradictions between them. See the link to our new ‘Stories’ page by the ‘Shark’.

What do you see? A compass, a black hole, a shark, dobby the house elf? Our logo is a Rorschach test. No answer is wrong.

Perhaps less immediately obvious, is that the ‘shark’ is also a precise map of UK politics. Can you work it out?

Thank you for your responses to my email of 21 October.

It has been pointed out that a similar effect (for shorter responses) could be put into effect by allowing anonymous comments on this website. This will only work before the website opens (later in the year), but we will give this a go whilst knowledge of the existence of the site remains restricted. 30 October remains the deadline.

On 24 June 2016, the Centre fell.

No accident, after many years shunted unloved between two warring step-families, it leapt off Westminster Bridge and its body washed out to sea. Both clans appear relieved not to have the burdensome task of burying the body in unhallowed ground.

Friends of the Centre, whilst numerous, appear not to have been friends of each other, and no memorial service has yet been held. Wild reports are made, by various untrusted persons, of visitations from a restless spectre which commands respect be shown.

These superstitions must be exposed to the cold light of cruel reason. Tales of shades and unquiet souls will not find purchase in the minds of voters.

See it clear, and say it loud. The Centre is dead.