Obviously I believe this story implicitly. After all, it quotes variously “a source”, “one source”, and “sources”. Getting increasingly specific, it “understands” this, and “it appears” that; this is “said to be”, that “is believed”, and there is a great deal of “the Observer understands”.
Yes, it’s the Observer. Of course it is.
And it’s clearly pretty convincing. Which is why in a week which has seen so many major stories from Syria, Salisbury, Washington, London, this detailed revelation is the lead story.
It’s clearly a major priority for editor Paul Webster, Michael Savage, described as Policy Editor, and of course Andrew Rawnsley, the political columnist who told us that Labour “should choose Jeremy Corbyn and field him as its leader at the next election, so that the thesis that Labour loses because it is not left-wing enough is finally tested to the destruction that it so richly deserves”. Finger on the pulse as you would expect.
He tells us what is required: “a potential audience” - tick; “money” - tick; “a policy platform - tick”; a name – he has heard “Mainstream” mooted and notes that it “sounds moderate and inclusive without being as anaemic as ‘Centre party’.”
Obviously, we have to await the verdict of Nick Cohen before we make a firm decision as to whether we embrace membership of the Mainstream Party. Nick was concerned this week with the politics of the forthcoming movie Entebbe and hasn’t had the time to give his well-considered views on a new party. But he will. Not for nothing did the Observer refuse to publish a letter from women in Unite pointing out his misogynist response to the election of Jennie Formby. Don’t worry, Nick will make his views known, but maybe in the Spectator where his politics has a “potential audience”, “money”, “policy platform” etc etc.
I have no idea whether these meetings of “sources” and “figures from across the political spectrum” have taken place. I have no idea whether the new Mainstream Party will make a formal appearance any time soon or, indeed, any time at all.
But I know a flier when I see one.
Unattributed and unattributable quotes. A Nick Clegg interview on Radio 4 this morning, arguing that Labour is fractured and that a break would unleash a new kind of politics, straight out of the SDP songbook. Doubtless, there will be more over the next few days. We’ll hear the phrase “breaking the mould” over and over again.
But the mould is already broken. And so is the “mainstream”.
It's about time that the "mainstream" press and "mainstream" politicians recognised this.
Today from the everysmith vaults: On the anniversary of its release, New Morning. The original acetate together with outtakes. Happy days.