A Progressive Alliance: How Can It Work?

16 September 2016

By Dan Hill and Dean Marriner | Andover, UK


Politics has considerably changed since the days when Labour or Conservative could win on a 96% vote share. Unfortunately, our electoral system hasn't kept up.


A voting system that returns a majority government on  24% of the vote is archaic  and not set to last. One party can not expect to rule for much longer.


The UK is governed by the Conservatives because of one reason, and one reason only. There is at least one other party that thinks they can win an overall majority using a First Past The Post (FPTP) voting system. This system, based around two dominant parties, simply doesn’t deliver results that serve the UK in the twenty-first century.


Once these parties confront the reality that this is not going to happen, a brighter future beckons. Right now, it's impossible to see how the Tories will lose their grip when media attention is focused on Her Majesty's Opposition and how divided it is. How can they take control single handedly if they can’t control themselves?


A Progressive Alliance is born when the true opposition to the Conservatives, (the 76%)  agree to work together and fight for the seats necessary to win an election under FPTP. The main aims of a Progressive Alliance are to reform the out of date electoral system, and work on the common ground because they will have to govern together.


It’s a simple objective and obviously achievable but, you know, politics…


Politics is where the Progressive Alliance label comes from. First and foremost, the call for electoral reform needs to be at the heart of the movement. Moreover, it needs to be an opposition that is for something rather than against everything. We on the left cry out for equality, meaningful paid employment and environmental protection. Our country will only get that once those who believe in it work together.


The Green Party is leading the way with a Progressive Alliance having already written an open letter to leaders of other parties nearly three months ago. That said, the movement needs to be from the ground up rather than top down if it is going to have any staying power.


The Liberal Democrats are in the same boat despite a long period of wound licking ahead of them. Still strong in local government, and seeing a growth in membership, they remain a clear alternative to the Conservatives in a number of Westminster Seats. Both parties are under-represented in parliament compared to 2015’s vote share  


Also, despite benefitting hugely under FPTP, SNP are even on board. It is this kind of selfless political will that will make any Alliance a successful one


Therefore, the Labour Party hold the key. Whatever your opinions of the Corbyn/Smith race, Labour have created a force that needs to be harnessed by all those who demand a fairer society and a more compassionate Britain. Adding to this the call for electoral reform from the Shadow Chancellor, it has ignited the fire under the bellies of those who demand parliamentary representation and, more importantly, appeal to those who wanted to “Take Back Control”

The reality, however, is that Labour are further away from a majority than in 2015. Will they play the long game and hope that 2025 will be their year while another generation gets condemned with austerity, debt, unaffordable housing, and low pay? Or will they work out they don’t have to just oppose the Conservatives, they have the power to dispose of them too?


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