A Progressive Alliance in the General Election?

27 April 2017

There's been some talk, since the announcement of the General Election, of a 'progressive alliance' against the Conservatives, above all to stop Theresa May being given a blank cheque for a Hard Brexit and who knows what else. On 19th April, Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley wrote to the Labour and Liberal Democrat leaders to propose a meeting:

Greens have a powerful and compelling vision for building a better, bolder Britain and, like you, will be using the election to set out our policies and ask for voters’ support. However, we also continue to believe there is a role for some form of cooperation in a handful of seats to create the best possible chance of beating the Tories and, crucially, of thereby delivering a fairer voting system. The latter is critical if we want to build the better politics to which both of you have said you are committed. We are deeply concerned too about the prospect of a further Conservative majority and the impact on our crumbling NHS, the housing crisis, the environment and what for young people is a bleak and uncertain future.

Both parties have rejected such a suggestion - but there have been practical developments at a local level, echoing the decision of the local Greens to support the LibDem candidate in the Richmond byelection , with Ealing Green Party agreeing to support pro-Remain Labour MP Rupa Huq, and the news that the LibDems will not stand against Caroline Lucas in Brighton.

Somerton & Frome Green Party candidate Theo Simon has written an interesting piece on his blog about the issue:

It won’t surprise anybody that I think the best unity candidate would be me Theo Simon, the current Green Party candidate. That’s because those Labour and LibDem voters who would not feel comfortable with eachother,  could find plenty they liked about voting for me.  So also could disillusioned Tory remain-voters and some anti-establishment Ukippers. I am the only candidate who has already established an identity in the public eye here, and I would have the enthusiastic, active and growing organisation of the local Green Parties and their allies already behind me.

However, my own pitch aside, if any unity candidate out of the current 3 was actually agreed between Labour, LibDems, and my own party, I would support them. It may or may not mean we actually unseat David Warburton. But what I hope for at the very least is that we all wake up on June 9th having strengthened our unity as the democratic opposition in Somerton & Frome, and having shown the electorate and the world at large that there are people in politics here who are ready for rational thinking and co-operation to advance the common good.

Watch this space?