Thursday, 27 October 2016

A Progressive Alliance is not just about beating the Tories.

I am all in favour of a Progressive Alliance but such an alliance is not just about stopping the Tories its about changing the whole political system,
The left-wing think tank Compass yesterday called on Labour and the Greens to give the Liberal Democrats a free run in the upcoming Richmond by-election may at first seem to have merit.
But the by-election follows Tory MP Zac Goldsmith’s resignation yesterday over the government’s decision to allow a third runway at Heathrow to go ahead.
So the problem is this election wil be a battle between Zac Goldsmith  standing n a stop Heathrow platform  whilst the Lib Dems  wil be arguing  for a mini referendum on Brexit and will clearly focus on this
Over 70% of the Richmond Park electorate voted to remain within the EU. The main challengers to Zac the Independent Tory comes from the Liberal Democrats, who are strong remainers and opposed to the Heathrow expansion. The fact that the only two credible candidates agree on the main issue gives voters latitude to base their choice on other factors. In this regard Zac Goldsmith is out-of-tune with his constituents.
Who then will be arguing against the Tories record on Austerity something only a few years ago the Liberal Democrats were backing the Austerity program as part of the coalition.
And it must not be forgotten  Labour opposition to the Tory-LibDem cuts was lukewarm to say the least 
Before any Progressive Alliance should turn into electoral pacts surely we should be looking at a common program?
If there was any impetus  in such an alliance then you could point to Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood and Green Party MPCaroline Lucas  confirming that the three parties will work together as a progressive alliance in Westminster. 

Making the announcement ahead of the Queen’s speech last year  the three parties said they would unite whenever possible to battle the Westminster parties’ obsession with austerity. 

I believe that a Progressive Alliance  should have a number of Red Lines,

  1. A end to Austerity cuts and reversal of such schemes as the Bed Room Tax
  2. Reform of the Electoral system with the introduction of Proportional representation.
  3. Abolition of the House of Lords  and its replacement  with an elected chamber
  4. Further Devolution of power to the Nations of the UK and either the creation of an English Parliament or English Regions.
  5. The position of Scotland and Northern Ireland in that they voted against Brexit must be taken into consideration and they should have the right to pursue their own arrangements.
  6. The rights the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland to Independence if backed by its people should be guaranteed , as should their right o call a referendum.
  7. Priority given to Green issues and an full appraisal of Nuclear Power 
  8. An end to intervention in wars that are more about the UK prestige in the World rather for humanitarian reasons
  9. Freedom of movement within the European Union
  10. A clear stand made against racism and no pandering to the right wing press in the hope that they may not attack you.

You may not agree on all and may have others; but I can't see how anyone can call themselves progressive if they don't agree with most.

Being opposed to the Tories is not enough  Any Progressive Alliance must agree on what sought of future is on offer by replacing them.

We have already had the Blair Brown Blue Labour year,s and the Lib Dems being the bag carriers of a viscous Tory  attack on the welfare state. We don't need to go down either road again.

Plaid, Greens and the SNP at least appear to  support real change, but even under Corbyn and a Liberal Democrat shedding its coalition collaboration i am not totally convince these two parties are there yet,


Leigh Richards said...

Sadly the prospects for such a progressive alliance arent great if the disgraceful decision by over 100 labour MPs last nite is anything to go by.

garyjc said...

Agree with the general thrust Glyn but as far as Labour in Scotland are concerned they wouldn't recognize progressive policies if they were handed to them on a piece of paper marked 'progressive policies'. These days the only thing they care about is when can they next bleat 'SNP baaad'. Even when the majority of SNP policies are mild centre left the Labour lot up here would rather gang up with the Tories without hesitation as long as it gives them another excuse to repeat, ad nauseum, 'SNP, bad, very, very baaaad.'