Why Tories won’t mind losing 1 election & why all eyes should be on Labour’s PR stance

It’s the day after the next General Election here in the UK and progressives are seemingly in a majority, if you mistakenly assume that all Labour MPs are progressive which of course they’re not. There is a lot of celebrating as the Conservatives have finally lost their majority but it will take a ‘coalition* of willing progressives’ to create a workable left of centre government. Here are a few reasons why that ‘progressive alliance’, for want of another term, is likely to fail in short order leading to another populist government of the right.

Firstly, Labour, who have won some extra seats, really aren’t looking much like progressives at all, having run a campaign based on a centre-right platform. The SNP are more progressive but their independence or bust approach to working with other parties is a big stumbling block when you consider that both Labour and, sadly from my perspective, the Lib Dems are firmly unionist in their outlook.

The Lib Dems, who have won a significant number of seats from the Tories, are in reality two differing types of Liberals – Economic Liberals (Nick Clegg was one I guess) and Social Liberals. Whilst they share numerous Liberal values the Social Liberals tend to be very much of the left in UK political terms although many of them baulk at being seen as of the left. However, they’re the ones who realised early on that that Nick Clegg’s negotiated coalition with the Conservatives back in 2010 was going to be a disaster. Of course, they were right as Clegg backed out of the Lib Dem’s flagship policy of opposing Student Tuition Fee increases. It was pretty much all downhill for the Libs from there onwards for the next 10 years.

Would the SNP, having seen what Clegg did to the Lib Dems, even for a moment, contemplate watering down their independence for Scotland stance to make working with unionists in other parties easier or even possible. Frankly, they would be mad too, so how can a multi-party progressive government be formed in a way that brings an independent Scotland to the fore?

It’s proportional representation stupid

And then there’s proportional representation, which for generations Labour has opposed; a position that’s exposed it as being anti-progressive. Labour’s pretty much on its own amongst all left of centre parties across Europe and beyond over its heel-dragging with regard to PR. They got close to backing PR in 2021, of course, and now seem to be in a position where they no longer oppose PR but don’t really back it with any great enthusiasm either. The problem is they can’t be trusted to see through a PR agenda by progressive parties who probably look upon Starmer’s party as being akin to Justin Trudeau’s Canadian Liberals. They, having previously backed/promoted PR, pretty much ran away from delivering it. The SNP, Lib Dems and Greens think Starmer’s lot will pull a similar trick, and they’d probably be right to fear such an outcome.

Labour’s still a Brext party?

Too many of Labour’s MPs continue to be right of centre or they represent white, working-class, right-wing leaning constituencies even when they’re progressively inclined themselves. This was of course the very bind that drew Labour into at best sitting on its hands and at worst enabling a Brexit which has probably damaged poorer areas of the UK more than anywhere else. Of course the Lib Dems, SNP and Greens were utterly opposed to Brexit so here’s another big sticking point which creates barriers to progressives being able to work with Labour.

And look who Labour will probably want to be Chancellor, one Rachel Reeves who’s infamous, with this progressive anyway, for her 2013 utterance that Labour will be tougher than the Tories when it comes to slashing benefits, or words to that effect. She’s going to go down well with progressives in the Greens, SNP and Lib Dems NOT.

So can a Tory opposition so disparate and so very different from each other really carry the day? It could but only on a very limited agenda and proportional representation would very much have to lead that agenda. A further Scots Independent referendum would clearly need to be part of it together with an unbreakable commitment to devolve many more powers to Scotland, N Ireland, Wales and the regions of England, whether the Scots referendum delivers independence or not. This latter point should get the Lib Dems onside as they have long proposed powerful regional governance for the whole of the UK as opposed to the very limited and messy decentralisation which presently exists in differing ways in different parts of the UK. The only other potential issue for this limited agenda could be an emergency financial NHS rescue package. Surely, all progressives could get behind such an initiative? But that’s about it and of course, if Labour will not implement PR then all bets should be off. Certainly, Ed Davey would not survive any brokered deal that simply props up a Starmer Government; he won’t get away with what Clegg did!

And the alternative for anything like a progressive way forward? A minority Labour Government which progressive parties would back but only on matters/policies, they agreed with. On that basis, Starmer’ would be thrown to the wolves if he tried to pursue any right of centre agendas. I’m sure there will be other barriers to non-Conservative parties working together, I’ve just picked out the obvious ones here!

A UK version of Trumpism, that’ll probably be our future

No matter which way you cut it the Tories may only be out of power for one election (under our warped First Past the Post system that is) and they could live with that outcome. Without proportional representation being enacted we’ll be back to Tory Governments most of the time and they’ll probably not be of the benign John Major-type either. Right-wing populism has taken over the Tory Party of old and putting it back in its box will be the devil’s job. No PR Labour? Then settle back for a UK version of Trumpism because that’ll probably be our future.

* Oh and one last thing the Lib Dems have previously ruled themselves out (under Tim Farron’s leadership) of participating in any future coalition government and who on earth could blame them after they were Clegged!

Brexiteers punish the BBC for helping them deliver Brexit!

There’s probably no one who is more despairing about the BBC’s news and current affairs output in recent years than me. Indeed, I’ve been calling this once great public service broadcaster the Brexit Broadcasting Company for the past 6 years as its obsession with Farage and his like was a significant reason, at least to my mind, for Brexit being delivered. Of course, Labour’s right-wing, working-class voters were the other significant reason.

Left of centre progressives, like me, have good reason to want the BBC to be reformed so that it can retake the ground it once held as a suburb and fearless public service broadcaster. BUT incredibly the very Brexiteer politicians who must have been cheering the BBC from the rooftops during its biased coverage of the now-infamous referendum and the lead up to it have turned on the BBC in an attempt to bring it to their right-wing political heal. Their reason; the BBC are too left-wing! What?????

The BBC needs to be an institution feared by all politicians as it is not there to cheerlead any of them but to hold them all to account. The government of the UK (any government) is not held to account at all well in my view and frankly neither are the opposition. How many times have you heard leading politicians say something on the TV news which is pretty much the opposite of what they’d said previously? It happens a lot but superficial news coverage often lets them get away with it. I get it with commercial news and current affairs stations as they’ll often only play with headline news items but it’s taken Channel 4 News to step up to be what the BBC used to be. I shudder to think how superficial UK news output, in general, would be without Channel 4 News, and you know it often hits home as politicians fear and even boycott it.

So why have the Brexiteers turned against the BBC? Well as Brexit has pretty much proved to be the economic and trading setback it was always likely to be and the BBC has been edging towards being critical of it the Brexiteers have taken the hump. Anything their ears find unacceptable is leftie nonsense; facts have no place in the mad world of the Brexiteers. And again Starmer’s lot find themselves compromised and fence-sitting as Labour knows only too well that if they look too anti-Brexit those right-wing, working-class, white voters will stick with the Tories. Trying to be anti-Tory but pro-Brexit and pro-right wing continues to dog Labour as it’s an unholy compromise position to be in.

So will the right-wing succeed in finishing off the BBC? Frankly, it depends on who is Johnson’s successor and how far they are prepared to go to shut down opposition in the UK. We are drifting towards an authoritarian state where the right to protest is curtailed. Control of the media to make it compliant is a path we are sadly already on and if like me, you fear politicians being able to direct the media then we have a lot to be concerned about………