Why do we need a progressive alliance in #Cornwall? one picture says it all

Some of you may or may not have seen our new Facebook cover – see above. It indicates the scale of the challenge ahead and the impossibility of any one party succeeding on its own in breaking the Tory stranglehold in Cornwall.

I am still taking flak from many who are   upset at the election debacle when this site urged people to vote Liberal Democrat in Truro and St Austell constituencies. It was a wrong call, I admit that, I’ve even apologised; but please for goodness sake look at the bigger picture:

  • We have a dysfunctional election system that forces people – out of desperation – to vote for parties that are not their first choice in the hope of dislodging their present MP
  • The sheer size of the Tory vote in Cornwall – buttressed by a steady stream of older, affluent retirees who have chosen to settle in Cornwall. Because they are outside the waged economy, many do not understand the lives of quiet desperation lead by many locals due to unaffordable housing and low wages.

I don’t want to dampen the excitement and hope felt by so many at the Corbyn surge and the real possibility of a dramatic election win next time round. But I fear that if this does not transpire, the sense of disappointment and hopelessness will be so complete that many will abandon the vote and turn their back on politics altogether. That would be a disaster for  democracy. We are already in a situation where declining voter turnout, proposed boundary changes and a corrupt parliamentary system are slowly and inexorably closing down our democracy. Please understand this is not an overstatement. It is happening right now under Theresa May.

So let’s have a B plan. Lets not bank everything on ‘one more heave’, as Labour supporters would have it.  Two things are needed here; the first is the need for senior party members from all sides to start talking to each other, even if only informally. There was some small progress earlier this year but the snap election in June more or less put paid to that.

Secondly – and for Labour in particular –  to win tactical voters onto their side and sustain the  Labour surge, Labour needs to adopt proportional representation as a key manifesto commitment. If they did that,  it would send a powerful signal to Liberal and Green voters that Labour is indeed the party of democratic renewal and they would more likely switch their vote. Proportional Representation simply means  seats match votes and  Parliament comes to reflect the balance of opinion held by the people.  This is not something we have at present.  Too often we have majoritarian governments elected on a minority of votes – overwhelmingly Conservative.

To those Labour party activists who are not persuaded by proportional representation, let me finish with this extract from a joint report by Labour and Make Votes Matter:

In thirteen of the last sixteen General Elections, a majority voted for parties to the left of the Conservatives, yet the Conservatives have governed as a majority most of the time. Under PR, it seems beyond doubt modern British history would have been very different. The Thatcher era of unmoderated right-wing government simply could not have happened*.

Is there anybody in Labour who dearly wishes that the Thatcher era had never happened!?

The Many not The Few: Proportional Representation and Labour in the 21st Century

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2 thoughts on “Why do we need a progressive alliance in #Cornwall? one picture says it all

  1. Thanks for this, Gavin. It must sometimes feel that you are on a thankless mission. We may have some time to wait until the next election, as it seems this dreadful government will stumble on. You hint at the concern which I feel is really serious. The Corbyn factor has probably already peaked but I think many Labour supporters are assuming that he will storm the next election. You’ll say that, as LibDem, I would say that, wouldn’t I but I would even goes as far as to think that it is more than possible that he will not lead the party into an election. PR is the obvious only sane way ahead but we are unlikely to see it even in the medium-long term, as long as the two main parties see it as the way to keep as the two main parties. I don’t know how I would vote in Truro Falmouth next time but I would think very carefully before trusting that a Labour vote would do the trick. BTW please don’t feel bad about the St Austell thing. I would have made the same call. So sad that, but for a couple of hundred votes lost to Labour spoiling, Andrew dipped out in St Ives. Keeping an open mind and sending good wishes. Howard H.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That post from my good friend Howard tells us why we musn’t depend on LD votes to swing a Labour victory in any constituency. LD’s are closer to the Tory Party than the current Labour Party.

    Like

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