Progressives must demand that the parties of the Left work together in this election campaign

This is a chance to redefine politics in the UK


So, all the promises of stability and putting the country first were lies.  As David Cameron did before, Theresa May is  setting her own chance to cement political power before what is best for the country.

Only months ago she said:

“I’ve been very clear that I think we need that period of time, that stability, to be able to deal with the issues that the country is facing, and have that election in 2020.”

Theresa May Downing Street statement outlined her thinking. By making the General Election about Brexit, she will hope to harvest the pro-Brexit vote while the Remain vote will be split by the myriad of parties on the left. Coupled with the latest opinion polls, this has inspired her rush for power.

Already the responses from each party seem to validate her thinking, be it the leader of the Greens, Liberal Democrat, Labour or SNP; they are all pushing out statements that only their party is the one to stop Brexit, which is clearly madness.

Let’s be frank: If the parties of Left continue to hold this position by 8 June, Theresa May and the Conservative Party will be back in power, with more seats and able to demand not only hard Brexit, but the dismantling of the structures of our common society.

For a second, let us remember as the late Jo Cox memorably put it  ‘we are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us’:

For us on the left of politics, whether we’re Green, Liberal Democrat, SNP, Plaid Cymru or a Labour supporters, if we take off our party politically tinted glasses for a moment, we will indeed see we have far more in common than divides us.

We all want to create a society that is fairer, we all agree that government should be taking the lead in providing more housing. We all agree that the privatisation of education and health care is wrong and should be stopped.  We all believe that the marketisation of every part of our society is causing massive inequalities and has gone too far. We all believe in the protection of workers rights and the protection of privacy. We believe we should have a fairer more progressive tax system and that the demonisation of particular groups of society by this government, such as those with disabilities, is deeply wrong and disturbing.

We all believe that although immigration is an important issue, it is not fact, but fear that is leading the discussion.  We all think that all our policies should be affected and influenced by the real and present danger of climate change and that it should be the policy that encircles all others.

 We must demand that the parties of the Left work together.

We must demand that there are single preferred candidates for each seat based on current control and which party has the best candidate to challenge.

We must accept, regardless of the individual parties results that the next government will be a Green/Liberal Democrat/Labour Coalition government after the election. With the SNP only accepted if, as the next Government will defuse hard Brexit, there will be no independence vote for the term of the next parliament.

This is an opportunity, a once in a lifetime opportunity, for the political parties leaders of the left to be brave and lead. It is a chance to redefine the politics of the left in the UK

These are extraordinary times in the politics of our country and world — we need our leaders to stand up and be extraordinary, instead of insisting on politics as normal.

If they don’t,  we all, every supporter of every party of the Left, must demand they do.

Ranjit Sidhu is is the founder of SiD, Statistics into Decisions. Follow him on Twitter

See: Five graphs you’ll need to understand Election ’17

Like this article? Left Foot Forward relies on support from readers to sustain our progressive journalism. Can you become a supporter for £5 a month?

12 Responses to “Progressives must demand that the parties of the Left work together in this election campaign”

  1. Andrew Bratt

    I do not trust the Lib Dems and would find it hard to see them as either progressive or left.. my heart says they must not be part of any such plan. My head says it must be done and tuition fees, Tory backing and Trump bombing backing must be forgotten. I am still not sure

  2. Daniel Vulliamy

    Happy to work with Greens (offer Caroline Lucas a Shadow Cabinet post now), SNP (support the rhetoric rather than the policies), possibly even with Liberals (try to ignore their shameful recent past). But I do really struggle with the prospects of working with New Labour toad MPs who have done so much to damage Labour’s prospects?

  3. Brian Allison

    Last election I took part in vote swap. Can this happen on a bigger scale in June.
    I a Labour voter voted Green so a Green member could vote Labour.
    I think the Lib Dems could be involved this time to join together to prevent a hard brexit

  4. Ian East

    Totally agree. We must not have a repeat of the 1980s. Mrs Thatcher was bad enough, Mrs May promises to be even worse. We need Labour, Greens, Lib Dems and Nationalists to work togeather on a united platform to develop a tolerant society, tackle poverty, protect our education and save the NHS.

  5. Derek reed

    I do wonder why some think the SNP are progressive in any way shape or form.
    With the exception of a brief daliance with Labours Manifesto (which lasted no loger than the general election) the SNP have proven adept at rubber stamping Tory Austerity. They may occasionaly talk left, but generally they walk right, and actions speak louder than words for those mindful enough to monitor them.

  6. Colin

    Agreed. What would be better: pooling resources and our common policies and being in Government, or standing on our party principles and having the Tories in power?

  7. Lawman

    This argument is based on two false premises:

    (1) that the sole policy requirement for government is a pro-EU stance. Conceptually clearly this is wrong: creating an economy and society that works for all Britons is far more important. Tactically this is wrong: party members of all parties, and voters of all persuasions, include many (apparently a 52% majority) who are not enamoured with the EU.

    (2) that parties other than Labour are ‘left’ and ‘progressive’. They are not. Conceptually the only way to improve British society is to have a Labour government with a parliamentary majority. Tactically, identifying ourselves with nationalists and Liberals will antagonise voters: as was the case in 2015.

    There will be another Labour government; although not in 2017. Its advent will be hastened by working for ourselves and a distinctive message for the whole country. Mr Corbyn is right to dismiss the defeatist idea of a regressive alliance with other parties.

  8. Fred

    Hopefully, we can use this election to destroy the evil of socialism once and for all.

  9. Larkworthy

    This government is the worst one ever, more divisive even than Thatcher, we must do whatever it takes to stop it destroying what’s good in our country.
    Pursuing factional politics at a time like this is just self indulgence

  10. Graham Wilson

    Totally agree. If there was ever a time where a lot of parties, and the people that represent them, needed to suppress their own egos and get focused on one task, then now is it.

  11. Alicia

    Totally agree. I am already tired of hearing about how the Lib Dems plan to steal a Labour seat or vice versa. We need to unite to overthrow our current Conservative government and ensure a good deal from Brexit. Both Labour and the Lib Dems are shooting themselves in the foot by failing to listen to Caroline Lucas and build a left wing coalition.

  12. Neil

    The idea that the first-past-the post system will ever deliver a left rather than center leaning Labour Government is fantasy. For an alliance to work firstly all parties concerned need to stand on a platform of electoral reform in the shape of PR – that’s the real radical change that the country has an appetite for and is the means to reverse ever growing levels of voter apathy towards politics. There are many areas of policy for these parties to govern through consensus but for how long in the absence of electoral reform. People want democracy not elected dictatorship but the Labour left are too much in denial to “sell out” by forming an alliance and the Lib Dems want Labour to be crushed to take over the middle ground who are deserting the left leaning Labour Party and the right leaning Conservative Party. The first-past-the-post system where a minority of the overall vote produces an overall parliamentary majority requires control of the middle ground for electoral success so until the system is changed the left will never be represented in government.

Leave a Reply