It is true that the Healthcare Bill, unlike the New Deal or Great Society legislation, was passed without a single Republican vote. But that only serves to illustrate how narrow the Republican Party has now become. Whereas the Democratic Party continues to stretch from New Dems, through Blue Dogs, to the Progressive Caucus. Or, if you prefer, from Blue Dogs, through New Dems, to the Progressive Caucus. Or, if you prefer...
Anyway, E Pluribus Unum, indeed, although some policing, akin to border control, might not go amiss: you can define yourself as one of a fiscal conservative as ordinarily defined, a social conservative, and a foreign policy hawk; at a push, you might even be able to be two of them; but if you are all three, then you belong on the other side of aisle.
In the urgently necessary re-emergence of a mass political movement in the United Kingdom, a caucus system might very well prove useful. There could be three, each of with an inoffensive name such as "the Unity Caucus", with party members free to join any one or more by payment of a small additional subscription, with party members free to join none if they preferred, with half the seats at the Party Conference and on the National Executive Committee to be divided equally among them while the other half went to the constituency parties, with the same in the Electoral College to find two Leadership candidates to put out to a binding ballot of the electorate as a whole, with parliamentary candidates to be shortlisted from the lists maintained by them unless from the constituency or one adjacent (and then put out out to a binding ballot of the constituency electorate as a whole), and with each required to part-fund any candidate selected from its list.
One caucus would give a voice to those whose priorities included the Welfare State, workers’ rights, trade unionism, the co-operative movement, consumer protection, strong communities, conservation rather than environmentalism, fair taxation, full employment, public ownership, proper local government, a powerful Parliament, and a base of real property from which every household could resist both over-mighty commercial interests and an over-mighty State, while having a no less absolute commitment to any or all of the monarchy, the organic Constitution, national sovereignty, civil liberties, the Union, the Commonwealth, the countryside, grammar schools, traditional moral and social values, controlled importation and immigration, and a realistic foreign policy.
Another would give a voice to those whose priorities included agriculture, manufacturing, small business, national sovereignty, the Union, economic patriotism, local variation, historical consciousness, traditional moral and social values, the whole Biblical and Classical patrimony of the West, close-knit communities, law and order, civil liberties, academic standards, all forms of art, mass political participation within a constitutional framework (“King and People” against the Whig magnates), conservation rather than environmentalism, sound money, a realistic foreign policy, a strong defence capability used only for the most sparing and strictly defensive purposes, the Commonwealth, the constitutional and other ties among the Realms and Territories having the British monarch as Head of State or other such constitutional links, the status of the English language and the rights of its speakers both throughout the United Kingdom and elsewhere, the rights of British-descended communities throughout the world, the longstanding and significant British ties to the Arab world, support for the Slavs in general and for Russia in particular as the gatekeepers of Biblical-Classical civilisation, a natural affinity with Confucian culture, exactly as much central and local government action as is required by these priorities, a profound suspicion of an American influence and action characteristically defined against them, and an active desire for a different American approach.
And the third would give a voice to those whose priorities included civil liberties, local communitarian populism, the indefatigable pursuit of single issues, the Nonconformist social conscience, the legacy of Keynes and Beveridge, traditional moral and social values, consumer protection, conservation rather than environmentalism, national sovereignty, a realistic foreign policy, the Commonwealth, the peace activism historically exemplified by Sir Herbert Samuel, redress of economic and political grievances in the countryside, and the needs and concerns of areas remote from the centres of power both in the United Kingdom and in each of its constituent parts.
These are the priorities of the moderate, mainstream middle of British public opinion, so that they comprise the true “centre ground”, whereas other views, while not necessarily illegitimate, are nevertheless extreme and eccentric. So membership of all three, for those who so chose, would be perfectly possible. I would be in all three, for a start.