Greens on board for a progressive government

This morning, the New Statesman published a story claiming that Caroline Lucas MP, the Green Party’s Leader was undermining the prospects of a “progressive majority” government.

The comments string to this piece shows pretty clearly what was wrong with the analysis. As Ms Lucas herself had said to the New Statesman:

“I think we would rule out a formal coalition, but we’re very interested in talking about ways we might co-operate.”

In other words: she is ruling out being part of a formal coalition that might be formed between Labour and the Lib Dems, but openly contemplating a more informal arrangement, which could make a “rainbow” government viable.

The Green party confirmed this through its twitter account this afternoon:

“Misleading hdline … fr @newstatesman – @CarolineLucas happy to consider confidence/supply w/ reform-oriented coalition.”

This confirms my piece for Left Foot Forward on Saturday which suggested that, “a Lib-Lab coalition, with a ‘Confidence and Supply’ arrangement with the smaller Parties including the Greens – might just work.”

Now that Brown is going, and calling explicitly for a “progressive coalition government“, there is a real window for the Green Party and Caroline Lucas to play a leadership role, along with Alex Salmond and others. The Greens and the SNP are in a particularly good place to advance this agenda – because the Scottish experience of stable government operating without an overall coalitional majority, but with a “co-operation agreement” between a governing Party (in this case, the SNP) and a much smaller loosely co-operating party (in this case, the Greens) offers exactly the kind of blueprint that could see a “progressive majority” government in the whole of Britain attaining a working majority in the House of Commons.

It is notable that some Scottish Green voices have already been raising this possibility volubly, notably over at Bright Green Scotland. Scottish Green activist Ellie Pant also warns eloquently against the dangers of not seizing this progressive moment.

As this blog has been reporting, most voters and members see the Lib Dems as left-of-centre party so a progressive majority “rainbow” government would reflect the democratic popular will. The SNP and Plaid Cymru appear to be on board, ditto the Alliance Party, and the SDLP already caucus with Labour.

It is time for a progressive majority government, as Brown has boldly called for today.

52 Responses to “Greens on board for a progressive government”

  1. Rupert Read

    I’ve just sent this to Lord Ashdown. It’s relevant I think to Mark’s latest (hostile, as usual) comment:

    Dear Paddy;
    You probably won’t remember me. We used to correspond many years ago, when you were Leader and I was an LibDem activist. When you quit and were succeeded by Kennedy, I immediately quit the Party (and am now a Green Party Councillor (and blogger)). In other words: I have always had a high regard for you.
    However, I confess that I was disturbed that this morning on R4 you were calling for a LibLab minority govt, excluding the smaller progressive Parties. A serious error on your part, I believe. Why? Because the LibDems and Labour need to make a ‘Confidence and Supply’ arrangement or a ‘Co-operation Agreement’ with most or all the smaller Parties (excluding of course the right-wing DUP), to produce stability. You will never successfully answer the critics who say that a Lib-Lab coalition will inevitably produce unstable government, unless you bring most or all of the Nats, the SDLP, the Alliance, the independent Unionist and the Green Party somewhere under the tent, via some such arrangement. We need a #progressivemajority government.
    To have some kind of margin of security, in case of illness / defection / death, and so as to prevent random continuous holding-over-a-barrel by some of the smaller Parties, a ‘progressive majority’ needs to be as large as possible. Furthermore, a Green in on the Agreement (and the Alliance Party MP) would add a little dose of much-needed legitimacy and freshness to what is otherwise going to get called a ‘government of losers’.
    The Social Liberal Forum statement on the ‘rainbow alliance’ progressive majority option (http://bit.ly/cVtSfV ) recognises the importance of this. Why don’t you? I hope you will reconsider, and see that unless people like you get behind the ‘rainbow’ option today, then a Tory-LibDem arrangement is inevitable. Which we all know is what you don’t want – and quite rightly so. To stop disastrous immediate cuts, and to gain PR, it’s time to take this step.
    Best, Rupert Read

    Remember, Mark, that the government will (quite rightly) have no security not to be voted out if it has made no effort whatsoever to respond to the concerns of the SNP (http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_8674000/8674198.stm ), Plaid, Greens, etc. As Riddell pointed out on Today this morning, you have to have some kind of Agreement (I think Riddell over-estimates how difficult it would be; he fails to take into account the strong anti-Tory sentiment that would bind the Parties together): http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_8674000/8674182.stm

  2. A rainbow coalition? | Left Foot Forward

    […] is back on the cards. Formal negotiations between Labour and Lib Dem are now taking place, the Green party appear to be supportive, and so do the Scottish and Welsh nationalists. But if it comes to pass, […]

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