The Urgent Need for a Progressive Alliance

Caroline Lucas

Monday, 04 July 2016

Green MP Caroline Lucas writes for The Guardian on the need for progressive bridge-building in  Brexit Britain. 

“Is there any waking up from this nightmare, a glimmer of light,” asks Polly Toynbee, at the end of her searing examination of the pent-up “seething anti-Westminster wrath” which found its expression last week, and which helps to explain the victory of the leave campaign (Dismal, lifeless, spineless – Corbyn let us down again, 25 June)

If there is to be any hope for progressive politics, the answer has to be yes – and the solution lies in Toynbee’s own analysis. As she acknowledges, our electoral system is responsible for the fact that the concerns of vast numbers of people routinely go unheard, while parties fight for the swing voters of the centre ground. That’s precisely why we urgently need to build a progressive alliance for electoral reform.

Having lost control in Scotland, and with constituency boundary changes on the way, it must be increasingly clear to Labour that they cannot win an outright majority at the next election, no matter who their leader is. Instead of indulging in months of introspection and infighting, this is their opportunity to recognise that a more plural politics is in both their electoral and political interests. And with the growing likelihood of an early general election, the importance of progressive parties working together to prevent the formation of a Tory-Ukip-DUP government that would seek to enact an ultra-right Brexit scenario is ever more pressing.

It’s no surprise that leave’s message to “take back control” stuck. Many people do indeed feel powerless. Ensuring that everyone’s voice is heard in our political system is the first step towards healing the deep divisions that this referendum has revealed. I call on other progressive parties to join us in fighting to achieve that.

Caroline Lucas MP
Green, Brighton Pavilion

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  1. Posted by Stephen Maturin

    This is a sensible and long overdue discussion – but the problem is not just Labour’s.

    In fhe SW the main oppsition to the Tories is from the LDs, but at the last election their support was weakened by Green and Labour campaigning, letting in Tories to a number of constituencies.

    So – will the alliance partners leaders instruct their local groups not to field candidates where this will simply split Tory opposition?

    A coordinated and mature alliance of progressive parties, rallying behind the strongest candidate from LD, Labour, Green (etc) parties could bring about the new government we urgently need. Task #1 then being to reform the electoral system.

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  2. Posted by Andrew (Andy) Crow

    This makes a lot of sense. With PR we may not have had Brexit and if we did we would be better placed to deal with the challenges it presents. I approve of the Scottish system which allows a vote for local representation and a second (party list vote) to reinforce or balance the first.
    FPTP can only work effectively in a two party system. (Assuming that democratic representation is the aim ! Imagine a three-way boxing match)

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  3. Posted by Paul L.

    Has there been any work on creating some sort of unifying imagery to show support for a progressive alliance? If the message is going to get out it will need to be instantly recognizable. Perhaps the red, green and yellow Jack from the cover of ‘The Alternative’ would be a good starting point?

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