Progressives need to stop blaming the Tories for acting like Tories, it’s the failure of prgressive politics that has handed them power

There’s every danger that we progressives i.e. Libs, Greens and much of the Labour Party will continue to fall into the trap for the next 5 to 10 years of calling out our awful Tory Government for well, being Tories and doing what Tories do.

What we have to accept though is that because we could not put forward a credible progressive alternative to the Tories (and because our warped electoral system helped the Tories to win as usual) we invited the electorate to say to themselves ‘the Tories may be bad but they’re not as bad as the alternative/s’!

Corbynism has been an abject failure as it was always going to be and anyone still batting for it is in effect saying ‘we’d rather have a Tory government than sort ourselves out to become credible’. And those social democrats within the Labour Party who sat on their hands and said nothing whilst their own party was systematically ruining the chance of a progressive government your guilt is, in my view, the greatest. When Labour fails in the UK progressive politics usually follows it, Scotland being the obvious exception as Labour’s demise became the SNP’s chance to shine.

And of course we progressives love to kick lumps out of each other and blame other progressive parties for the failure of the left when actually we jointly hold the title of champions of delivering yet another Tory government because of our common unelectability cause.

The key to gaining an electable left of centre government is actually quite simple – progressive politics needs credible leaders that means no Corbyns and no Swinsons with their common hatred of each other seemingly being greater than their supposedly common cause against the Tories. And both Labour and Lib Dems need to sort out a credible working arrangement with the SNP by putting the issue of an independent Scotland to one side.

Then all the left of centre parties, including the Greens and Plaid Cymru, need to push for electoral reform and stand together on a pledge to implement it when a progressive government comes to power – no half hearted well maybe or squabbling about which form of PR brings the best advantage for each party, just do it. Oh and no Trudeau pledges on it either just to turn around and drop the pledge because no one can agree how to do it when it’s been in manifestos and power has been won. We’ll get one shot at it and if we fail it will be gone for another generation and the Tories will continue to be the party of government for at least two thirds of the time for ever more. Fair votes has to be a common cause for all progressives, those who claim to be progressives but who continue to back FPTP are actually not progressives at all but Tory enablers.

Tactical Voting – Yep on board with it but beware……

The link below is to a Guardian newspaper article on tactical voting and it’s worth a read:-

www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/nov/03/best-for-britain-tactical-voting-only-way-stop-brexit

Because of our warped 1st Past the Post electoral system we are often placed in a situation where we have to vote for a candidate/party we don’t really support to stop a candidate/party whom we really dislike from being elected. Under a fair/proportional voting system this would not be necessary but we are where we are until we get fair votes.

There are probably two types of anti-Tory/anti-Brexit voters who are looking for advice as to how to vote so as to maximise the possibility of stopping a Tory/Brexit supporting candidate from winning in their constituency. Firstly, there’s the simple issue of trying to stop a Tory being elected and in England it will almost always be a case of voting for either the Lib Dem or Labour candidate who is more likely to beat the Tory. There will be, of course, a very small number of constituencies where the Green is more likely to beat the Tory than the Lib or Lab candidates.

For me the complication is where you want to stop a Brexiteer candidate winning in your constituency because of course there will be significant numbers of of Labour candidates who are Brexiteers.

OK, in this scenario, you know you want the Tory/Brexit Party candidate to be beaten so if there’s a Lib Dem candidate the answer is clear as the Lib Dems are openly opposed to Brexit. However, what if you are being told that the Labour candidate is best placed to beat the Tory? The answer is to try to look very carefully at the Labour candidate to see if they are/could be a Brexiteer too.

The problem here is that many Labour candidates and former Labour MP’s have kept very quiet about their Brexit views so getting to the bottom of what they think about Brexit can be hard going if not impossible. I’m guessing that central Labour advice to their candidates has been to keep quiet as there have been too many of them saying little or nothing even when asked directly! And just because your sitting Labour MP, who is trying to get re-elected at the upcoming GE, voted to Remain in the 2016 Referendum it does not necessarily mean they will stick to being a Remainer after the GE. Remember Labour Party policy is not to come down on either side of the Brexit debate before the GE and they actually want to negotiate another Brexit Deal with the EU for us to leave, if they get elected. So unless your Labour candidate is in effect breaking with Labour policy and is saying they will support Remain after the GE you could end up voting for a Labour candidate who will back Brexit!

Be warned a Labour vote could inadvertently be a vote for Brexit even if your intention is to vote Labour to stop Brexit.

And then looking at the telescope from the other end what do you do if you are faced with multiple Brexiteer candidates in your constituency and you want to stop Brexit? In this scenario the Labour, Tory, UKIP & Brexit Party candidates are all Brexiteers. The answer is of course is to vote for Lib Dem.

Oh for a fair electoral system where we could simply vote for the candidate/s we liked the most!

How our elections are bought – when just maybe you thought they were fair?

www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/sep/12/britain-country-elections-can-be-bought-first-past-the-post

If you are a democrat, which I hope you are if you are reading this blog site (if not please read elsewhere), then this piece by Polly Toynbee in the Guardian should be very sobering indeed.

Our political system is to put it bluntly corrupt.

With thanks to Bob for the lead to this posting

Knowsley – And you wanted evidence that our warped ‘first past the post’ electoral system does not work!

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/how-elected-without-winning-single-11266602

The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above

If this story does not show why our warped electoral system is failing people I don’t know what does.

What’s the point of standing against Labour in some Knowsley wards – the result is a foregone conclusion so candidates have stopped even putting up against Labour. This places our democracy under threat as voters end up with no choice because they don’t have an election through which to make a choice. Labour will get re-elected in some Knowsley wards no matter what local people think of them.

Credit to the Liverpool Echo for exposing this important issue and thanks to my spotter Keith.

Still life in Proportional Representation despite our love of a ridiculous electoral system?

www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/owen-winter/proportional-representation_b_9615964.html

Now it can be no surprise that an old Liberal like me thinks we should have a fair electoral system and yes I know that probably two thirds of you readers would probably rather stick with a demonstrably unfair one. There got that bit off my chest but stay with me for the hell of it.

The link above is to an interesting Huffington Post article which rehearses many of the arguments for PR/Fair Votes. It also makes it clear that what we were offered in that odd referendum (remember it in 2011?) was not PR/Fair Votes. To be honest I don’t know why we had that referendum at all as it probably put back the possibility of a fair electoral system for a generation, then again that’s probably why we had it?

With thanks to my Research Assistant Roy Connell for spotting the Huffington Post article.

Britain’s political system will stay broken without PR

www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/britains-political-system-will-stay-broken-without-proportional-representation-chuka-umunna-warns-a6861161.html

This is an interesting article in the Independent Newspaper which Roy Connell has picked up on – well worth a read.

Must admit Chuka is a little too right wing for my tastes but on this he is right.