Where now for a progressive alliance?

I have passed this whole weekend  between a mixture of elation and despondency. Elation that Labour made such a dramatic surge to position itself as the main challenger to the Conservatives in Cornwall; despondency that our efforts in the progressive alliance – and particularly my efforts – may have cost Labour sorely needed votes to break through the sea of blue.

It is a hard thing to say but it must be said: we called it wrong. We widely promoted tactical voting based on the Tactical2017 website. When the Cornwall Live poll indicated a shift in voting sentiment, I modified the advice and started to focus less on tactical voting and more on ‘negative campaigning’ by highlighting the voting record of Conservative MP’s for each constituency and the support they gave to the damaging austerity policies that have hurt Cornwall so much.

Then came the Yougov poll that suggested a fundamental shift in voting intentions for each constituency. Late in the day, too late, I did a last ditch post highlighting Labour as the insurgent party in five of the six constituencies.

While I am a Labour Party member, more than anything I just want the Conservatives gone and tactical voting seemed to me the only way to do it.

I thought Corbyn fought a fantastic campaign, as did Jane Kirkham in my constituency of Truro and Falmouth and I take my hat off to them.

But the question I am left with is what now? The alternative to tactical voting is centre-left parties  doing a deal. But with Labour surging ahead and the Libdems reeling, I feel that there is even less appetite for round table talks.

So that leaves the question of where does a progressive alliance go from here. Any thoughts?

18 thoughts on “Where now for a progressive alliance?

  1. It was either going to be a Tory landslide or a hung parliament. I had said hung parliament for quite some time. The Labour message didn’t have enough time to get out there fully. Tally that with only 1 million of 7 million people nationwide getting themselves registered to vote and tactical voting appeared the safest bet. You did an incredible job; you helped to get people involved and thinking. There will be another election. There has to be and probably in the autumn. In St Ives tactically it has to be Andrew George – I had said all along that the swing was too great to become a Labour seat – whereas other constituencies could conceivably become Labour with a push in the right direction. Keep up the good work and I, along with many others, will share your posts and push for a government that supports the many.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lib Dems in St Ives, Labour in Truro, St Austell. Perhaps go all out in North Cornwall (still don’t understand why Dan Rogerson wasn’t reelected or Andrew George for that matter) with Lib Dems and then see who is best placed in SE Cornwall to reduce the Conservative majority there (probably pissing into the wind if I’m honest). For sure, Labour aside in St Ives and Lib Dems in Truro though. They seem nailed on!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I hope that Libdems and Labour can negotiate together. Even if just a St Ives Camborne swop, may seem idealistic, but it would have impact. We need to put people and saving public services above party politics.


  4. Firstly Gavin, thank you for your efforts to galvanise . The law of unintended consequences often applies in life, just to teach us a lesson…. As a Libdem, I was happy to encourage libDems to give way in CRH but never thought that we would do so badly in TF, and so held the line there. I was wrong.

    That said, in my dealings with both LD and Labour friends, I saw no real appetite for compromise in either party. I hate to say it, and others will say that the individual candidate doesn’t matter, in the round, but our candidate was not strong. Labour’s was almost invisible but rode the Corbyn wave, was helped by an appalling Tory campaign, and by Falmouth students I’m sure and I begrudge her that not one bit.

    For the future? Too early to call. If there’s an October election, I think we’ll need to take careful sounding. I think the Corbyn factor will not be quite as strong and the few LD tactical voters who went to lLabour may well come back. Likewise recent Tory voters who will have been horrified by talks with DUP.

    My gut feeling is that there will be limited enthusiasm for a progressive alliance next time – but I have been wrong on 3 out of 3 elections recently.

    Sorry not much help to you, but these are my thoughts.

    With thanks and every good wish Howard Hollingsbee 07455 955557 >


  5. I had the opposite reaction – with a little more tactical voting we could have taken a number of seats off the Tories with Labour and Lib Dems making gains in Cornwall. In St Ives just a few hundred more votes would have done the trick.


  6. One simple fact remains, we started with Blue Cornwall and that hasn’t changed.

    A great result overall and a surprise for most of us. However, despite thousands of hours campaigning we didn’t overturn ANY seats, we were ultimately unsuccessful. Unless we can better focus and agree on where to fight and where to withdraw we face the same outcome locally. If this doesn’t focus the mind, what will?


  7. Interesting comments, especially about the Falmouth and Truro Labour candidate. So much effort, and no result. Very frustrating for Rob Nolan. I hope he will continue to find Cornwall Council satisfying. Voters are so influenced by what is in the National media etc “The Corbyn wave”. Not that I mind that.. anything to shift the Tories!
    But next time??
    Thanks again to Gavin.


  8. Gavin I think you did your very best to bring people together. I think it is more the adhesion to party politics that is responsible for the sea of blue than anything you have done. I thought it was an amazing result to be honest. I may be Green Party but I was very pleased to see the success of labour. Unlike Howard above, I thought Labour were visible and engaging with the public. I also think, unlike Howard, that the Lib Dem candidate was strong – I think he is paying the price of the mistrust that still lurks following the coalition and which Tim Farron did nothing to reassure us about. I feel much more optimistic now than I did a few weeks ago, though bitterly disappointed that the Green Party still has only one candidate and the environment having such so low priority in politics, despite the threat of climate change, soil depletion, species extinction etc. I think we need to get our act together now so that, should there be another election, we are ready to capitalise on the successes. We haven’t got time to hang around.


  9. Local party’s have to agree the best hope, for each constituency, to get rid of the Tories. That has to be the number 1 goal! This has to be before any election call but reviewed regularly. My personal view is that North Cornwall & St Ives should be LD targets, CHR & Truro & Falmouth Labour. Tories should not be safe in SE Cornwall but tough to see a way to shift her & might be better to encourage a ‘special’ / ‘celebrity’ Independent. No strong view on St Austell & Newquay & probably depend on the candidates/ National scene. Boundary reviews could of course change things! Progressive Alliance, as a vehicle to achieve this, has to continue. Thank you Gavin and others, especially Andrew George.


  10. Just like to add to the thanks to Gavin for an incredible effort. There was no way to forecast the result!
    Having said that I was certain only Andrew George could defeat the Tory in my constituency and acted and campaigned accordingly. Given that UKIP were third in 2015 we ran the Tory close but the local Labour Party ran continuous interference. If they hadn’t we would have won.
    Obviously Falmouth had the student vote. When Labour get into detailed analysis they might see how tactical voting and alliances in certain seats helped them win seats. Then we might see some change in position but the media are trying to portray it as a return to two party politics which I definitely disagree with !!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Sad about St Ives it would have been a great incentive! However cautious optimism seems reasonable even with Hunt still running the NHS into the ground.So PG still has a role.


  12. Hi, I intended to get involved with the progressive alliance but never found the time (thinking I would have more time before the next election!). I have voted in 5 elections, and have voted, labour, lib dem and green depending on my location, the party manifesto at the time, the appropriate tactical vote etc. I think I am like many people who see things they like in all three parties manifestos, and more than anything would like to see a government which isn’t Tory led, followed by a Cornwall which isn’t wall-to-wall blue. I would beg Cornwall Labour, Lib Dem and Green parties to sit down together and agree to only field one candidate per constituency. I realise this is a bit tough on the greens (who in all honesty, would probably have my vote if we had PR), so can we also encourage the other parties, both locally and centrally, to strengthen their green credentials? After all, if we don’t take care of our planet, the rest is all rather pointless!
    I’m keen to get involved in making sure that the next election does not see Cornwall run by the tories, so if anyone can suggest how to do this, I’d be very grateful.


  13. As someone who lives in St Ives and as we previously discussed on FB, I think you should vote for who you actually want and not vote for someone who doesn’t represent your views or political interests. I wholeheartedly disagree with tactical voting and what Progressive Alliance stands for in that sense. My views on alternative voting systems and/or proportional representation is a bit different.

    Good to see Tim Davis is a popular name in St Ives


    1. Thanks Tim. Obviously I strongly disagree and I am very sorry to see that voting with your heart – as many others did – has allowed the Tory MP to keep his seat. I am sure he is quietly delighted that you are such a principled fellow.


  14. If everyone voted the way they actually wanted to, and not told to vote a particular way because of fear, then maybe Labour would have done a lot better. Who knows, they may have actually gained a Cornish seat!


    1. Maybe – and I have said ‘sorry’ for wrongly directing people to vote Libdem in Truro constituency. Chances are Labour would have got more votes. I dont have a crystal ball and used Tacticalvoting17 website. That said we have a broken and outdated voting system and I just think voting with your heart lets the Tories back in. Let’s get PR so we never have to vote tactically again!


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