Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Who Remembers the Northern Independence Party (NIP, the ‘Whippets’)?

with 6 comments

Northern Independence party: Ex-Labour MP to stand in by-election |  Politics | News | Express.co.uk

Whippets Make Come-Back in the Guardian.

Yesterday the Guardian published this letter form a Thelma Walker.

A Labour spokesperson, responding to questions about the proposed purge of Labour left groups, is quoted as saying: “Labour is a broad, welcoming and democratic party and we are committed to ensuring it stays that way.” I have left the Labour party after 40 years, as it had ceased to be broad, welcoming or democratic. Under the current leadership, Labour has lost its soul and its core purpose of opposing the Tories and achieving social, economic and climate justice. For those on the left, now feeling alienated by Keir Starmer’s regime, the wider socialist movement is organising and we welcome you.

Labour currently works, as Tom Nairn described in his work The Break-Up of Britain, for a “two-party equilibrium”. Those of us on the left are upsetting that equilibrium in offering another choice, liberation from Westminster control and true democratic socialism.
Thelma Walker
Labour MP for Colne Valley, 2017-2019

The letter did not refer to Walker standing against Labour this year in May in Hartlepool, with the backing of the Northern Independence Party. She lost her deposit in the by-election 250 Votes (0,8%)

She has the cheek to tweet this (I am blocked from following her but I don’t think she realises there are ways around this):

The whippets are still around, trying to divide the working class and progressives.

When the Whippets (many thought their symbol looked more like a weasel) began there were pages of articles about their ground-breaking importance, from the New Statesman, to more overtly ‘alt news’ sites like Skwawkbox, the Canary and Novara Media. There was even an oleaginous interview in the anti-Labour Morning Star.

The Northern Independence Party: ‘standing up for socialism’?

Niall Christie speaks to THELMA WALKER, the former Labour MP hoping to pip her former party to Westminster as the Hartlepool candidate for the NIP.

I know there are accusations of us splitting the vote and enabling the Tories. That is nonsense. We are the only fully democratic, socialist, left party standing and you have to look at the national polls.

By far the strangest reaction to the Whippets comes in a recent New Left Review.

The leading intellectuals of NLR felt fit to published a lengthy article which begins

”In November 2020, Britain’s company register welcomed a curious newcomer onto its rolls: the Northern Independence Party. With the slogan of ‘A free Northumbria and fairer North for all’, the private company was to run for elections in 2024. Like the Brexit Party, or for that matter the Scottish Nationalists, the outfit’s ambitions were openly plebiscitary—a referendum on Northern secession, completing a miniature of Britain’s European uncoupling. The nip is demanding that the uk Parliament hold a referendum on an Independent Northern England, with a ‘yes’ vote leading to ‘the establishment of a sovereign Northern Republic.’ The petition ended with a quote from a Guardian article by Tom Hazeldine: ‘It is a mistake to present the North–South divide as a challenge for a well-intentioned government to overcome, rather than a geographical reflection of how Britain is run, and for whom.

The nip is no British unicum. One of the most striking by-products of the age of globalization has been a remarkable rise in regionalist sentiment; conflicts between Catalans, Basques and Spaniards, Northerners and mezzogiornisti, Flemings and Walloons all puncture the post-national age. Political economy remains a major driver. As Wolfgang Streeck noted in 2017, a ‘new nation-state nationalism in Europe shares with regional separatism its opposition to market-opening political centralization: the one fights to prevent, the other to undo it. Amid these cases, Britain has undulated with a centre–periphery dynamic unlike any other. The United Kingdom is the most regionally unequal country in the European Union, with a political system more reminiscent of Jacobin centralism than its French neighbour. 



How anybody took a small protest party so seriously can be easily explained: if you look for something to attack Labour post-Corbyn you will find it very easily, from the professionals of the Morning Star to the dilettanti politicians of New Left Review and the ‘alt-News’ sites of amateur journalists like Skwawkbox, you will find anything you latch onto.

Written by Andrew Coates

July 25, 2021 at 3:39 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

6 Responses

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  1. Despite their play on ‘localism’ they haven’t stood any candidates recently in local by elections, and from what I can see, their ‘endorsed’ candidates in 2021’s contests did abysmally. Their two backed candidates (running under ‘independent’ labels) in Sefton MBC got just 34 votes in Litherland, and a 100 votes in the Derby Ward. A candidate in Salford MBC’s Pendelton ward got 70. And er, that’s about it for the new force sweeping the North……………

    David Walsh

    July 25, 2021 at 8:18 pm

  2. After collecting £20,000 for their much heralded “legal support fund” to sue always curiously unnamed individuals now all trace of it disappears on their social media (no more pinned tweets etc.).
    In the past so many alt right and red-brown aligned individuals and groups make a big hoo-ha of suing individuals (usually for libel), crowdfund money on that basis and then the lawsuits never materialize.
    Not saying this has happened here but I wouldn’t be surprised.
    Something doesn’t smell right about the NIP.


    July 25, 2021 at 8:24 pm

    • And on that, George G’s bragging and braggadocio about demanding an electoral court challenge to the Batley and Spen result seems to have gone very quiet. Anyone heard owt ?

      David Walsh

      July 25, 2021 at 9:15 pm

  3. Always suspected this is a grifting/vanity project for certain individuals.
    Notice how they couldn’t get registered as a Political Party but were very quick and diligent in setting up Legal Support Funds and getting a merchandising operation off the ground?
    Sadly the anti Labour alt Left media fully supported enabled them.


    July 25, 2021 at 8:36 pm

  4. Basically whatever base they had was around a very small protest group, obviously like many many local council breakaways from all sides of the spectrum

    There’s been many I could cite, and I bet anybody with serious local government experience could mention more. Here we have had people standing as ‘Independent Labour ‘ over a local dispute over the (former) Ipswich ‘ airport’ (a small airfield for enthusiasts).

    Their vote shows that.

    Hell knows, apart from the ill-will against Labour, why anybody on the left took them seriously.

    Andrew Coates

    July 25, 2021 at 8:49 pm

  5. These idiots are dancing on the grave of the Labour Party.

    Jeff Smith

    July 25, 2021 at 11:57 pm

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