What is the Progressive Alliance?

Neal Lawson

Thursday, 02 November 2017

So there we were, some months ago, busy thinking about the progressive alliance and worrying that three years wouldn’t be enough to build it, when Theresa May called an election she said she wouldn’t call – and suddenly it was all hands to the pump to help stop a Tory landslide. Which – amazingly  – we helped to do!

Screenshot_2017-11-01_17.42.20.pngBy calling for and facilitating electoral Progressive Alliances, Compass helped get scores of good MPs elected. It could have been much better if all progressive parties had worked together. Next time they must. But not just to beat the Tories – but to build a very different kind of society: a Good Society.

For us, the Progressive Alliance was never just a quick electoral fix. Instead, it was always about deep alliances of ideas, parties, groups and people to really transform our society.

So now we start to lay the deep foundations of alliance-based politics that can deal with the big problems we face and the big solutions we need.

Sue Goss’ short, clear and readable paper explains what we mean by the Progressive Alliance. You can read it here.

Please share your thoughts below.

Topics discussed:

Good Society

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  1. Posted by Richard Fletcher

    I’m dismayed the Progressive Alliance has taken a neutral position on BREXIT, the defining issue of the age. BREXIT should be opposed by every pore of the Progressive Alliance, not sitting on the fence, aiding and abetting the Tory Ultras

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  2. Posted by Gerard Stewart

    Sustainable development i.e. protecting and enhancing the environment on which we depend for food, materials, clean air ….. must be at the core of any progressive alliance agenda.

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  3. Posted by John Littler

    After decades of predominant Tory governments ending with the clapped out and UKIP clothes wearing version we have now, other centre and left parties need to work together to get them out and get a sensible position on accommodating Europe properly.
    There is some reluctance for Corbyn and many Labour people to countenance a progressive alliance, but they are quite willing to put a rainbow of parties together to govern after an election, so given that, why not fully admit that and properly work together before an election and ensure the Tories are out, then put in PR voting and end these endless Tory governments based on a minority of votes.

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  4. Posted by Simon Cross

    I think it is time you stopped with this blatant attempt to get true activists and Green Party supporters to switch to the Labour Party. I neither like nor trust Corbyn and I feel that, after the Green Party threw away half it’s support and the potential funding that 1.2 million votes brings to support an alliance which Corbyn and Momentum have no interest in ever supporting I am now further from Labour than I will ever be. I find it dificult to believe that the Green Party has been so naive as to allow such a blatant Labour organ as Compass to cause this kind of destruction after the progress made under the leadership of Natalie Bennett. Labour is a dinosaur and certainly not progressive and I have serious issues with it’s councils up and down the country from the PFI tree vandalism contract in Sheffield right through to the HDV in Harringey and only today heard that Islington Council have attempted to sideline Green Councillor Caroline Russell from most decision making. After the sheer lack of any meaningful support in the parliamentary debate on Monday I can assure you I will remain Green and do everything I can to ensure we do not fall for this three card trick again. Corbyn totally misses the point when he routinely and publicly states ‘I wil not work with other parties, I am in this for a Labour victory and nothing else’ that had he not been so arrogant and had we already got PR he would be PM now. I think you would be better advised assisting the fractured Labour Party dividing into smaller and coherent groups and then possibly looking to supporting broader coalitions of the left. While the cult of Corbyn and undue Momentum influence within Labour prevail I think you can forget anything progressive from a party which, along with the Tories is about as regressive as possible in it’s desire to cling on for dear life to FPTP.

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  5. Posted by Peter Robertson

    Impressed by Sue’s clear and concise paper although still not sure what the Alliance might do should the Tories ever be defeated. A good starting point for change in politics might be to get away from the obsession that it is only London that matters so disappointed the first gathering is in London

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  6. Posted by Martimus

    On the 5th May 2011 the British people voted overwhelmingly to reject an AV agenda, had this be voted for this would have been a first step towards the proportional representative system you advocate. The first past the post system is far from perfect, no system is perfect, but it is the system the British people favour to produce, in the main, decisive governments that can act, whether this is right or wrong this is the decision. Strong market capitalism has been shown to create the wealth to support progressive public services and this is the moral purpose of any government, however it is the role of government to consider the checks and balances to restrain and contain rampant capitalism. Wealth in itself cannot be viewed as obscene as the inference that no good comes from inviduals holding wealth cannot be presumed. I think the progressive alliance needs to work within the current political arena to acheive its ends rather than being either a talking shop or a protest group. Lets move away from generalisms and look at a specific topic or issue and then bear down on progressive change on that issue this to me is the way forward

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  7. Posted by John Barrowdale

    It is a good report and if we can not get true proportional representation then this is the next best thing. However getting die hard Labour MPs and their leaders on board will be difficult. They seem to rather have a Tory government winning the election because of their stupid policy to defend every seat even though they don’t have a cat in hells chance of winning them, where maybe a Liberal/SNP candidate could with a Labour vote behind them. One day they may wake up to the fact this is the only way to rid ourselves of rich Tory Bastards ruling us. Good luck with your efforts.

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  8. Posted by Adrian Heafford

    I like the idea of a group that is not supporting entrenched interests, whether they be those that make money at the expense of others in society or the environment, or those on the left that leverage union power at the expense of, say commuters (and I do support a guard) or other ordinary people. A sustainable planet is important to me but some in the green movements dismiss useful technologies like carbon capture because they feel it will legitimise fossil fuel use when the point is to reduce emissions (from cement and chemical plants as well as power stations) not reduce energy use which can make our lives better if generated from the right mix of energy sources (which will evolve over time). In general I wish for a more unselfish society – in fact a more Christian society (and I recognise the short comings of some organised religion). Brexit is a disaster, as is nationalism in its many forms. Devolution of power – yes, but collaboration and compromise too please.

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  9. Posted by John de Carteret

    Sue Goss’s paper is a clear call for us to communicate and act in tolerant,inclusive,collaborative and creative ways if we want to help create a society with those characteristics. One of the major difficulties in doing this is that we make different, unacknowledged basic assumptions about the kind of Economies which are necessary. I believe that Kate Raworth’s recent book called ‘Doughnut Economics’-Seven ways to think like a 21st Century Economist’, gives a valuable framework of values and principles and visual metaphors,
    which can assist us in this urgent and challenging but exciting task of working together to create an economy and society which can fulfill everyone’s basic needs whilst bringing us back inside ‘planetary boundaries’.

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  10. Posted by Chris Millman

    Really enjoyed Sue Goss’ paper. Although I share the frustration of many Green Party activists at the short-sightedness of other parties in failing to reciprocate the sacrifices we made in 2017, I remain supportive of the Compass agenda. Just don’t expect something for nothing.

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  11. Posted by A

    I think this is a useful paper. I’d like to see more discussion of the role of information in forming and facilitating the progressive alliance. For example, I’d like to see progressive political parties commit to:
    – being transparent and honest about their electoral strategy, so that voters know if their constituency is a key priority for that party or if their assessment is that another progressive candidate is better placed to win. We know that parties invest more or less money in different seats, based on these types of judgements, but they don’t share that information (or their reasoning) with the public.
    – giving full, detailed and honest responses to other parties’ manifestos, so that voters can see where there is potential for policy agreement across parties.

    It seems to me that, in electoral terms, the progressive alliance is a spectrum of possible types of engagement across and between parties. What happened in June 2017 was a progressive alliance of (tactical) voters, rather than a formal alliance of parties. A progressive alliance based on provision of information would mean that the parties could meet the voters half way, by giving them a firmer basis for their choice at the ballot box.

    Reply