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!?