The bloc - which represents around 50% of the electorate - may be the only way to defeat the Tory party
The Conservative Party can only be beaten by a “progressive bloc” made up of the Labour Party, Liberal Democrats, Green Party, Scottish National Party (SNP) and Plaid Cymru, a new report suggests.
The report, published by the think tank Compass, argues that even if the Labour Party devises a clear economic package to appeal to working class voters and pivots to supporting a Remain position, it still cannot “hope for more than minority government status”.
Owing to this, the report concludes that “someone is going to have to talk to someone else” in terms of forming a “progressive bloc” with the aim of defeating the Conservative Party.
The “progressive bloc” totals around 50% in electoral terms, making it potentially larger than the Conservative and Brexit Party vote share. The report highlights that this percentage reflects the “slight Remain lead over Leave in Brexit opinion polls”.
The Tory party’s shift to the right, the report argues, is part of a gamble to “regain political momentum from long-term electoral decline”. How this gamble will “play out politically”, it says, will “depend in good part on the condition of the opposition”.
However, the “progressive bloc” faces both “short- and long-term [ideological] challenges”, owing to it being divided across party lines. The bloc also faces challenges due to the UK’s “first-past-the-post” electoral system, which “encourages politically self-interested attitudes and actions”.
The report notes, for example, that Labour is currently “convinced that it can go it alone” by pivoting towards Remain and focussing on the threat of a no-deal Brexit “in order to bring back Lib Dem and Green votes”.
Despite these challenges, the recent Brecon and Radnorshire by-election, in which the Green Party and Plaid Cymru stood aside allowing the Lib Dems to win the seat, is used as an example to show the potential of an alliance.
Following Johnson’s election as Conservative leader, the party has seen an uptick in support, leading the report to raise the question of how a agreement could be formed between the major opposition parties on a “radical economic, democratic and social programme”.
Joe Evans is a freelance journalist and editor. He is on Twitter: @joeevanswrites
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