The allure and illusion of a progressive coalition

I was signposted to an article today about a call by the Green Party co-leaders for a pact between Labour, Liberals and themselves.  With opinion polls forecasting an increased majority for the ruling party it is easy to see why non-Tories might find this an attractive prospect.  So lets try and look at this objectively.

Do the non-Tories even like each other?

The Liberal leader has already ruled out a pact as has Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn.  It is only the Greens advocating this.  Let’s look at the voting figures from 2015;

  • Conservative 11.3 million 36.8%
  • Labour 9.3 million 30.5%
  • UKIP 3.9 million 12.5%
  • Lib Dem 2.4 million 7.9%
  • SNP 1.5 million 4.7%
  • Green 1.2 million 3.8%
  • Others 1.1 million 3.8%

These equated to the following representation in Parliament;

  • Conservative 330
  • Labour 232
  • UKIP 1
  • Lib Dem 8
  • SNP 56
  • Green 1
  • Others 22

As you can see you need 325 seats to win a majority (the Speaker always has to vote with the Government in the event of a tie).  The Tories currently have 330 seats and the combined opposition (discounting the Speaker who is neutral) is 319.

What would happen if Labour, Liberals and Green agree to only put one candidate up between them in each seat?

Stop and think about that for a moment.  To get to that point would require huge compromises for each party with no guarantee that members of each party wouldn’t put themselves up in place of the ‘official’ non-Tory candidate.

And many voters remember the Liberal’s put the Tories in power in 2010.  There would be many Labour and Green supporters who would refuse to vote Liberal or to regard them as a progressive party after the austerity measures they signed up to whilst in office with the Tories.

Ok, lets just for the sake of arguement assume the 3 parties agree.  And all Labour, Liberal and Green voters in 2015 are still inclined to vote the same way.  A big if .   What would the results have been in 2015 if this pact had been in place with these assumptions proved correct.  The results are interesting;

  • Conservative 282
  • Labour 259
  • UKIP 1
  • Lib Dem 29
  • SNP 56
  • Green 1
  • Others 22

Let’s bunch the Labour, Liberal and Green seats together.  They have 289 seats.  Still not enough to have a majority.  And the Greens who have put this idea forward would have gained the sum total of zero MPs from this arrangement.  Leaving Caroline Lucas in Brighton Pavilion as still the only MP representing them.

What if Labour won all seats they were within 10% margin of in 2015?

A big if.  But lets see what might occur.  And this is assuming that all the Parliamentary constituencies are unchanged from 2015 and at this stage I’m not sure if they are.  This is what the results would be in 2017 if Labour won every seat it was within 10% of the winning party (usually but not always the Tories).

  • Conservative 287
  • Labour 279
  • UKIP 1
  • Lib Dem 6
  • SNP 54
  • Green 1
  • Others 22

As you can see the Tories would still be the largest party and would according to constitutional convention be asked by the Queen to try and form a government.  So Labour could still be in opposition.  Ahhh, but what if Labour and the SNP formed a coalition?  The numbers would work, they would have 333 seats, 3 more than the current Tory government achieved in 2015.  But the Labour Party and the SNP can’t stand each other, so what’s the likelihood of this?  And the only way I can see the SNP agreeing to this is if they achieved another referendum on independence.  And then the Labour Party would be blamed in the rest of the UK if Scotland seceded from the union.  And in all likelihood blamed and resented even if the Scots decided again to stay within the UK.  So really it is a most unlikely proposition.

Things I recommend; vote according to your conscience, beliefs and values.  This is not a beauty contest nor a sporting event where we try and back the winning horse.

Things I don’t recommend; Staying at home.  Not voting.  Haven’t you learned what ducking out of exercising your vote means?  Look how narrowly Trump came to power or the margin of victory in last years EURO referendum.  Or this weekends Turkish referendum.  Half an hour of your time on June 8 might save you five years of regret.

Don’t do this.




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