Politics is changing and the Left must respond
A progressive alliance of Labour, Liberal Democrats and the Greens is going ahead without Tim Farron and Jeremy Corbyn. Constituencies across the country takings matters into their own hands, thankfully seeing the bigger picture the party leaders will not acknowledge:
While Tim Farron sees this election as an opportunity to rebuild the Liberal Democrats’ number of seats in the House of Commons, his party’s supporters are well aware that being a slightly bigger opposition will mean nothing if the Conservatives are in power and able to simultaneously push a hard Brexit and the social destruction of Great Britain.
Across at Labour headquarters, the dreamy illusion Jeremy Corbyn has wrapped around himself that Labour could win is clearly seen by the rank and file as what it is, a bad dream. Every Labour supporter who is not ideologically blind to the truth knows that if Labour does not change its approach to this election, the Labour party is handing the Conservatives victory and failing progressives across Britain for a generation, as the changes the Conservative will enact on our society will be so grievous.
It is not all bad; if these leaders pulled aside their party political curtains, they would see real anger and desire for change, but also a fatalism of a Conservative victory.
It is anger, and desire for change that reminds me of the public mood I constantly felt before the Scottish independence vote. And it is the Scottish independence vote that gives us the clearest reason of why a progressive alliance could tap use this desire for change by bringing the disenfranchised and disillusioned out to vote.
Voter turnout in the independence referendum was a remarkable 85 per cent, with almost a quarter more people participating in the referendum than in the previous election. It was in areas such as Glasgow whose participation was in areas below 50 per cent in the last election reached over 75 per cent in the referendum. Turning upside down the usual political party approach of targeting the 35 per cent+ of the 65 per cent that vote.
This high participation was gained by appealing to those who previously were already disenfranchised, as the electoral commission stated ‘those experiencing social deprivation…. unemployment and low income, poverty, education, skills and training deprivation, health deprivation and disability.’
It also was by involving the young more fully in the debate that this demographic voted in record numbers. It showed these missing voters could be re-engaged with the right message — moving the Yes vote from 22 per cent to almost winning, just what we need in this election.
A progressive alliance can do this; by showing that we are looking at the bigger picture of what is best for the country rather than our political parties, we can reset the negative picture of the Coalition of Chaos to that of an alliance of the parties coming together for what is right for Great Britain.
It is a truism that if we do not learn from the lessons of the past, we will be doomed to repeat them. The Conservatives know that the 2015 election strategy of divide and conquer worked well. To do nothing about it and let it happen again is gross negligence.
We only have to look around at the success of how Emmanuel Macron in France in the Presidential elections and the momentum of the Indivisible movement in the USA to know that the old political structures are obsolete, we need new alliances and thinking.
We must learn from the past and take the initiative; a more formal progressive alliance between parties is best, otherwise, every constituent needs to make the decision of doing what is best for Britain or what is best for its party — the world has moved on, so must we.
Ranjit Sidhu is is the founder of SiD, Statistics into Decisions. Follow him on Twitter.Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.