This is an interview of me by Milo Perrin of Cornish Stuff. The half hour interview was probably twenty nine minutes too long. However it does give a sense of where I personally am coming from. Bear in mind I do not speak for others in the progressive alliance but there is one clear point I want to make:
Early on I refer to Jeremy Corbyn as the reason I became active in the Labour Party. He was the first Labour politician to give a clear anti-austerity message; whatever the merits of continuing as leader now, I believe him to be a man of integrity who has been much maligned by the mainstream media. Others in the progressive alliance do not think the same. There are Labour members who think his election as leader was a mistake; there are Green and Liberal Democrat members who are more to the right.
Coming from different parties and holding different values means we potentially disagree on a number of things but that has not stopped us finding common ground –for example the need for electoral reform, a green, low carbon economy, and a properly funded NHS – to name but three.
This is the kind of pragmatic, consensual politics that the progressive alliance is all about. As Owen Jones just said on the Andrew Marr show this morning, “the problem in our country is that political debate has degenerated, it has become more polarised, more a shouting match than an exchange of views”. He attributes part of this to the growing use of social media that allows us to speak and act in ways we would not do in face to face relationships.
We need to find a way back to a less polarised place if politics is ever to function effectively. Most of all we need a new political leadership that is willing to lead by example and to ditch the ya-boo politics which is so damaging and alienates an increasing cross section of the public.