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First of all there is always the comparison with the SDP. The four big political beasts who formed the Social Democratic Party and brought about 28 Labour MP's and one Conservative MP with them. Going into alliance with the Liberals, spectacular by-election successes and amazing poll results and, well you could not be blamed for being attracted to them, they looked like the friendly neighbours in a country village who were involved with the social events and local businesses. And that was part of their problem! In the midst of political culture wars it is easy to just reach out to your own social demographic and while they tried not to do that, the SDP failed. Thatcherism was also attractive to many in the Home Counties, including those who had struggled in the past and there was the First Past the Post electoral system, and the "Falklands Factor" in the 1983 general election, the SDP emerged with just six seats and ended up being consumed by the Liberals.
So will the same happen with the Independent Group? Well history can repeat itself, but rarely the same way. The early 1980s did not have Brexit, the far left did not manage to get complete control of the Labour Party (though they came close), and there was no social media and no uncertainty as there is now. The fact that the IG looks like it is attracting people from both the main parties and not mainly from the Labour Party, gives it some start and it is hard to make judgements based purely on the first week (It is not even yet a political party), but it looks like a lot of ground is being prepared
It all depends on how Brexit goes and how the two main parties react to events. It is clear that being conciliatory, rather than taking a bulldozing attitude to the Centre ground,is vital. Because for three years Centrists have been feeling homeless, many still do, now they have one emerging.
In late 1980, a no of MP's who were going to defect to the SDP went to Denis Healey for help and advice. Healey had many qualities and being bullish when needed was one of them, however he told them to sit tight and added that they had nowhere to go. Big mistake!
I say this as someone who has no plans to join the IG if it becomes a Party, but who will leave Labour if things do not change for the better very soon. There is fertile ground for the Independent Group surrounded by the scorched earth of Brexit and Anti-Semitism and they will use it. If the two main parties do not get their act together sharpish, and I mean sharpish, they may find that, they cannot ever get a majority in the Commons and they will eventually wither as the Liberal Party withered after World War One. If the IG is totally serious they could not have timed their emergence better