Is Britain heading for a progressive majority?


As reported in today’s Guardian, the left-wing pressure group Compass, last night emailed their members informing them of a ballot taking place this week on whether the party should overtly support tactical voting.

The email to Compass members says:

“The Management Committee has decided to ballot the Compass membership on whether or not the organisation should devise a short statement in support of tactical voting in the upcoming general election in order to help stop the Tories from winning…

“Something seismic could be happening in British politics which reflects the Compass view of a more pluralistic and tolerant progressive democracy. However, while Compass is not affiliated to the Labour Party many Compass members are also members and supporters of Labour…

“One key factor that would potentially ensure [that David Cameron] is not elected Prime Minister is if we can encourage widespread and effective tactical voting. That is why this issue is so important for the future of progressive politics and why we are asking the question.”

The move follows an uptick in the so-called ‘progressive majority’ of Labour and Lib Dem support. As the graph below shows, the combined vote of the two parties has increased since the start of the campaign as the surge in support for Nick Clegg has squeezed the Tories below 35 per cent for the first time since 2007.

As Left Foot Forward showed last year, the combined support for the two parties has exceeded 50 per cent in every election since 1945. But the move will be opposed by Labour and the party has today upped its attacks on the Lib Dems. David Miliband criticised the “anti-politics” of the Liberal Democrats in a Guardian interview.

The New Statesman’s Mehdi Hasan writes:

“I’m not a member of Compass. But if I was, I’d be backing the move. Why? 1) Progressive coalitions are good things. 2) Labour tribalists are short-sighted and self-destructive. And 3) Lib-Lab tactical voting might be the only method left of denying the Tories victory on 6 May and preventing a disastrous Cameron premiership.”

Labour List’s Alex Smith says, “I think independent Labour-supporting or centre-left organisations should still support an outright Labour victory.” While Liberal Conspiracy Editor, Sunny Hundal, says, “As a Compass member I’m fully behind this initiative.”

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  • http://twitter.com/cathelliott/status/12760536999 CathElliott

    RT @leftfootfwd: Is Britain heading for a progressive majority? http://bit.ly/b20Piu

  • http://twitter.com/maximmanchester/status/12760706538 Max

    RT @leftfootfwd: Is Britain heading for a progressive majority? http://bit.ly/b20Piu

  • http://twitter.com/nickbolton1/status/12762245729 Nick Bolton

    RT @leftfootfwd: Is Britain heading for a progressive majority? http://bit.ly/b20Piu

  • http://twitter.com/angryfrommcr/status/12760394422 Bin27

    RT @leftfootfwd: Is Britain heading for a progressive majority? http://bit.ly/b20Piu

  • http://twitter.com/simon872/status/12760439228 simon872

    RT @leftfootfwd: Is Britain heading for a progressive majority? http://bit.ly/b20Piu

  • http://twitter.com/paulstpancras/status/12760447468 paulstpancras

    RT @leftfootfwd: Is Britain heading for a progressive majority? http://bit.ly/b20Piu < Yes!

  • http://twitter.com/georgeallwell/status/12760555963 George Allwell

    RT @paulstpancras: RT @leftfootfwd: Is Britain heading for a progressive majority? http://bit.ly/b20Piu < Yes!

  • http://twitter.com/rogerablackwell/status/12760638547 Roger Blackwell

    RT @CathElliott @leftfootfwd: Is Britain heading for a progressive majority? http://bit.ly/b20Piu >> It'll be anything but progressive :(

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  • MikeSC

    Are the liberals progressive? Is seeking even further legal restraints against trade unions progressive? Tax cuts that benefit the middle and higher more than the lower incomed in exchange for tackling the deficit 100% with cuts in public services?

    Thatcherites who’ve conned student socialists into campaigning for them by hinting at weed legalisation in the future is all they are.

  • Anon E Mouse

    Will – Do you not think this article smacks of group-think? Why am I prevented from posting to LFF from my home address btw?

  • paulstpancras

    I think it incumbrent on the baby boomer generation to ensure a victory for a progressive parliament with a progressive agenda.

    We owe it to our children and grandchildren that they not suffer the consequences of a regressive Conservatism. The Conservative Culture of Deceit which bedevils the politics of the English speaking world needs to be soundly beaten.

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  • http://twitter.com/their_vodka/status/12777221747 Carol Roper

    RT @leftfootfwd: Is Britain heading for a progressive majority? http://bit.ly/b20Piu #GE2010

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  • Robert

    We need to be very careful in our choice of words.

    There is a self named Progressive Partnership running Birmingham city council.

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  • Robert

    Nick Clegg saying he will not do a deal with Labour if Labour has fewer votes overall than the Conservatives is a very courageous stance.

    Courageous in the Sir Humphrey sense.

    I am a Labour voter. I vote LD tactically. Then, because I did not vote Labour, you will support the Conservatives.

    What sort of attitude is that?

    Think about all your seats where you need natural Labour voters to keep out the Tory.

    You want to kiss them all goodbye? Clearly you DO based on what you said this morning, Mr Clegg.

    Perhaps you could be more nuanced by giving credit for tactical votes you have received from Labour voters.

    If you are a wise politician you will.

    And pretty damn quick!

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