Thursday, 11 May 2017

Lessons of the Local Elections (6) The Progressive Alliance Idea Is A Dangerous Diversion

The Progressive Alliance Idea Is A Dangerous Diversion

Although, there is this confluence of interest between workers, managers and the large scale owners of fictitious capital, that is represented politically by progressive social democracy on the one hand (Corbyn et al), and conservative social democracy on the other (loosely the dwindling social-democratic wing of the Tory Party, like Ken Clarke, the Liberals, and the Blair-right/soft-left wing of the Labour Party) that also coalesces around the question of Brexit, the idea of a Progressive Alliance, is a dangerous diversion, because the forces represented by the latter, will always betray the former, particularly if they feel that the workers might go beyond the bounds of social-democracy itself. Popular fronts of this type always end in tragedy for the working-class.

The progressive social-democratic wing of the Labour Party around Corbyn, should learn the lesson from their main opponents. The Tories under May did not form any kind of coalition with UKIP, they simply ate up their base.

A look at the election for the West Midlands Mayor is instructive. Sion Simon for Labour was only 6,000 votes behind the Tories on the first round, and in the main Labour supporting areas of Birmingham, Coventry etc. he was, in fact, way ahead. In the first round, in Birmingham alone, Simon was 20,000 votes ahead, not that you would know that from the media coverage.  UKIP had a further 29,000 votes that could be added to the Tories on the second ballot. That meant that the 30,000 votes that went to the Liberals, and the 24,000 votes that went to the Greens, plus the 5,000 that went to the Communist Party, should have been more than enough for Labour to have won on the second ballot. Yet, Labour lost by 4,000 votes. Listening to the Liberal and Green candidates afterwards, it appeared that many Liberal supporters gave their second preference votes to Greens and vice versa, which thereby let the Tories in. Similarly, in 2015, the votes obtained by Greens in a number of constituencies were enough to prevent Labour candidates being elected.

The truth is that it is only Labour that can have any chance of forming a government, or even of forming any credible opposition to a hard Brexit Tory government. If the Greens, the Liberals, and Plaid really mean what they say about wanting to stop the Tories, they should stand down their candidates now, and throw all of their support behind the Labour Party.  But, we know that the Liberals have form.  Surely no one has so short a memory as to forget that its only two years ago that the Liberals were sitting in a coalition of chaos with the Tories that inflicted all of the austerity and economic damage to the country we are now suffering from, and it was they who enabled Cameron, to bend to the pressure for his UKIP wing, and to embark on the EU Referendum adventure!

Back To (5) TheBattle Is between Reaction and Progressive Social Democracy

Forward To (7) The Real Task Is To Rebuild A Fighting Labour Movement


George Carty said...

The Liberal and Green supporters which you describe as selecting the other of those two minor parties as their second choice in the West Midlands mayoral election weren't really following the logic of the progressive alliance though (if they had they would have given their second choice to Labour). More likely they were anti-Brexit purists who believed that Corbyn's Labour party was no better than the Tories, especially given that he whipped his MPs to vote for Article 50!

Doesn't the notion of a progressive alliance have value in that 2015 Tory voters who oppose Brexit would be unlikely to switch to Labour, but far more likely to switch to the Liberals? And the danger of the Liberals joining with the Tories à la 2010 (the general danger with backing an alliance instead of a single party) is far less now, given that the Liberals have pitched themselves as the anti-Brexit party.

Boffy said...

I think that the Liberals and Greens who voted for each other did so because they are basically the same middle class clique, at least in terms of their ideas if not their actual social position.

I wouldn't trust the Liberals as far as I could throw Eric Pickles, and to be honest I wouldn't trust the Greens much more. There is only one principled and rational decision and that is everywhere to vote Labour, and that is looking increasingly likely to be a winning vote, as Theresa May's strong and stable leadership turns out to be nothing more than a soundbite, as she topples off her famously expensive high heel shoes, with thef first puff of wing against her.