Voices: The Top 10 journeys across the political spectrum

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Oliver Cromwell makes the list  (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Oliver Cromwell makes the list (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

I started compiling this one at about the time that Themistocles U-turned on anti-Persianism, but thanks to Ewan Gibbs, who nominated no 8, it has now come to fruition.

1. Themistocles. Athenian politician who made his reputation by leading the opposition to the Persians. He persuaded Athens to build a great fleet which destroyed the Persian navy at Salamis. Later, accused of treachery, he defected to Persia and served as one of its governors. Nominated by Julian Davies.

2. Pompey the Great. Joined the first Roman triumvirate in opposition to the optimates faction in the Senate, before becoming its champion in the civil war against Caesar. Thanks to Stewart Slater.

3. Oliver Cromwell. From an advocate of a republican commonwealth to a divinely anointed hereditary monarch in all but name in the space of a few short years. Nominated by Tim Carrington.

4. Joe Chamberlain. Started as a radical Liberal proposing borderline socialist welfare policies, split and left the party over home rule for Ireland, went into coalition with the Conservatives, then split them over tariffs to save the empire. Thanks to James Dinsdale.

5. Benito Mussolini. Started out as a socialist before inventing fascism based on his wartime experiences, eventually jailing and killing leftists. From Tom Doran.

6. Oswald Mosley. Conservative to Labour to New Party, renamed British Union of Fascists in 1932. Nominated by Adam Behr.

7. Ronald Reagan. Started off as a New-Dealer who voted for FDR as president four times, before becoming a Republican in 1962. Thanks to Simon Cook.

8. Tony Benn. Techno nuclear enthusiast minister to anti-nuclear leftier-than-thou siege economist. Nominated by Ewan Gibbs.

9. Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh. First a Tory. Then Labour. Then nationalist (SNP MP 2015-17). Then alt-nat with Alex Salmond’s Alba Party. Lib Dems should be worried as it’s their turn next, said Frogmarch.

10. Claire Fox. From the Revolutionary Communist Party to a Brexit Party MEP and now a Conservative-nominated member of the House of Lords. Thanks to jpmg36.

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No room then for Denis Pritt, Conservative who joined the Liberals in 1914 and Labour in 1918; expelled as a Labour MP for defending the Soviet invasion of Finland in 1940 (Paul T Horgan); Jim Sillars, from “hammer of the Nats” to denouncing Scottish voters for insufficient separatist zeal as “90-minute patriots” (Ewan Gibbs); or for John Bercow, from the anti-immigration Monday Club across the Conservative Party to his current Labour home (John Moorcraft).

Phil Riley asked if he could nominate an entire party, “because the SDP today doesn’t look much like the Roy Jenkins original version”.

Next week: Questions To Which The Answer Is Yes (QTWTAIY), such as “Is the sequence of earthquakes in southern California, with aftershocks removed, Poissonian?” Seismology paper in 1974 whose abstract begins: “Yes.”

Coming soon: Hinge moments in history decided by narrow margins; narrower than Ed versus David Miliband (1.4 per cent).

Your suggestions please, and ideas for future Top 10s, to me on Twitter, or by email to top10@independent.co.uk

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