Sunday, 15 March 2015

Traditional Labour voters will have to make a brave decision

As Peter Black has highlighted, even senior figures within the party have given up on Labour coming out of the May general election with the most seats. If the Conservatives gain an absolute majority they will be able to dismantle the public services and the protections for working people built up by Liberals and Labour over the course of the twentieth century. (For an indication of what they would have done without Liberal Democrats in coalition, see Mark Pack's list.)

Under our primitive electoral system, the front-line of the fight will comprise marginal seats, a few where Labour are second to Tories, but most where the contest is between a Conservative and a Liberal Democrat. In 2010, too many traditional Labour voters were deceived by a campaign in the press, dominated by business interests, based on fear, uncertainty and doubt about minority and coalition governments, into voting tribally rather than with their reason. As a consequence, we lost some excellent members of parliament and failed to gain some seats which we ought to have won. In the process, parliament was also deprived of the services of some outstanding women. Fewer Conservatives and more LibDems would also have made possible a more rigorous and competitive coalition negotiating process.

To prevent that Tory majority, it needs at the very least for those people who believe in progressive politics to vote LibDem in Conservative/LibDem marginals. Whisper it, I would also grudgingly accept Labour wins where there is no hope for a LibDem and it meant that a reactionary Tory were to be displaced.

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