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A thread for progressives

34 replies

jenny60 · 09/05/2010 12:47

This is a serious thread. We know politicans take account of mumsnet and I cannot be alone in wanting my opinion on this deal making to be heard. This is my situation: I am a member of the Labour party but I voted tactically to keep the Tories out in my seat. It didn't work, BUT I feel outraged as a liberal left type of person that the party I voted for in good faith may now do a deal with the Tories. I know they never said they wouldn't, in fact the opposite, but I would like to hear from any LDems whether they feel part of a preogressive alliance or part of a Party which has more in common with the Tories. Surely I was not wrong to belive that we have more in common with the LDs than they do with the Tories.
This is not a thread for Tories: it is a thread for those of us on the progressive left. I have to go for a while but I want to hear what others think.


OP posts:
Chil1234 · 09/05/2010 13:03

"I know they never said they wouldn't, in fact the opposite"

I'm afraid that 'opposite' is what was democratically voted for. LDs do have more in common with Labour than Conservatives but the clear commitment from Clegg was to work first with the party that got the most seats. And that was always going to be the Conservatives.

policywonk · 09/05/2010 13:05

I voted LibDem. I don't want to see them get into bed with the Tories, but I'd swallow it if we got electoral reform. If Clegg does a deal that doesn't include electoral reform I'd be pretty reluctant to give them my vote again.

I can live with a confidence and supply arrangement though.

FreeButtonBee · 09/05/2010 14:21

I voted Lib Dem, in order to remove a Labour candidate (unsucessful, as it turns out). I personally don't think that Labour is working anymore.

On a pragmatic basis, I think a coalition with the Conservatives could work better because they would all new to government. The risk of joining with Labour is that GB and co are so intrenched in power that they would be very reluctant to cede power to the Lib Dems. So you end up with lipservice to a coalition without actually handing over the reins.

Also, LibLab isn't enough. You'd have to get into bed with, for example, the DUP. And frankly, I couldn't handle giving bloody Jeffrey Donaldson or any of his hence-men any say in how the country is run. . I can't really comment on the Welsh and Scottish nationalists but having the country held to ransom by the regions isn't really, in my view, a helpful way forward. That's not a slur on their legitimate mandate - but a reflection on the likelihood that they would be punished by their electoral if they didn't put their regional interests ahead of national interests, particularly if they were unpopular in that area.

Plus I think that there is some helpful overlap between Lib Dems and Tories. Okay, maybe not as much as with Labour but it's not nothing.

vesela · 09/05/2010 16:11

I'm a Lib Dem (member) but I hate the label "progressive" - I see it as a label applied by Labour in an effort to make the Lib Dems seem like Labour mini-me's. There's also something about the label that's very... Labour. I can't put my finger on it, but while I might describe myself as liberal or pro-reform or believing in fairness, I'd never use the term "progressive." Maybe it has overtones of smugness or heavy-handedness.

Re. overlap. The Lib Dems have some things in common with Labour, and some things in common with the Tories. And Labour have some things in common with the Tories.

vesela · 09/05/2010 17:00

sorry, shouldn't have used the smug word. But heavy-handed, yes.

claig · 09/05/2010 17:06

vesela, I agree you shouldn't have used the word smug om its own. You should have prefaced it with the word very.

jenny60 · 09/05/2010 17:11


policywonk, I'm with you. If we got PR I'd think it had been worth it. This has got to be a once i n a century opportunity.

I agree, though it pains me, that the LibDems have a duty to go to the Party that got the most seats. but how would LibDems voters feel about a deal without PR? Would it be right to take it over a firm labour agreement on a PR referendum, especially when you remember that 63% of the population did not vote Tory?

Chill: I know you're right, but what sort of deal would be acceptable to LD voters?

Re. progressive. It's a term I like because it does I think descibe the non-Tory block. Historially, it meant an alliance of the voters/parties who opposed the Tories' emphasis on maintaining the status quo. It also makes it easier for me personally to vote LibDem.

Freebutton: I agree about the DUP, but there is now Alliance and Sylvia Hermon and the SDLP people. The fact that we now have NI liberals to deal with is very encouraging, whatever about the current deal brokering. It's worth remembering that the Conservative Party was offically allied with the UPP in Northern Ireland and they didn't get a single seat. Who does the Conservative Party speak for on NI, let alone Scotland?

Are there any LD mumsnetters who voted Tory to keep Labour out?

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jenny60 · 09/05/2010 17:16

Why smug? It's not remotely smug to imagine onself a part of a collection of parties/people with similar though not identical ideas about social justice and equality. Perhaps plain wrong or inaccurate but smug?

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FrakkinTheReturningOfficer · 09/05/2010 17:18

Last time 64% of the country didn't vote Labour, we don't have PR you can't compare % figures.

I waver between LD and conservative. I took the policy 'test' and I'm pretty much split down the middle but all I know is I didn't want Labour to stay.

Can you be a right-wing progressive?

Chil1234 · 09/05/2010 17:26

"Chill: I know you're right, but what sort of deal would be acceptable to LD voters?"

There is almost no deal that would be acceptable to all LD voters.... not even one that guarantees PR, I daresay, although that might mollify some. However, if PR is what they say we all need to be truly democratic and representative then accepting the 'can't-please-everyone' scenario is something we'll all have to suck up and live with. So they're going to have to lead by example and stop whingeing.

jenny60 · 09/05/2010 17:30

Last time Labour got a majority: this time the Tories didn't. It's a rubbish system but if the Tories support first past the post, here we have it. They have to deal with it and if a number of other parties who did get a majority when added together decide to form an alliance, that's perfectly reasonable under the first past the post system. I'm not convinced that it would be a good idea personally, but I don't think the Tories have a leg to stand on if that's their argument.
Right wing progressives? Hmmm, there are some, or have been some (Patton, K Clarke) in the Con. party, but they don't tend to get very far in the end.
FRakkin: what's your position on PR?

OP posts:
Chil1234 · 09/05/2010 17:31

I should add that there is no deal that would be acceptable to all Conservative voters either. That's the nature of compromise (progressive) politics....

jenny60 · 09/05/2010 17:32

Chill: surely PR is the main reason people support the LDs?

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FrakkinTheReturningOfficer · 09/05/2010 17:44

I support PR. It seems insane that we have the situation I describe - 36% of the vote and different outcomes. +95 seats but because there was a larger difference last time no clear outcome.

BUT I would want to see it thoroughly researched, workable proposals and mature politicians who can reach accommodations. I think we also need to see more powerful minority parties like the Greens able to form influential voting blocks and a redesign of the commons! Our system is by it's very nature adversarial and I don't think that's necessarily healthy.

My ideal - PR, super-constituencies, STV and a % bar

or possibly PR by MMP...

I'm pro-Europe but have other right-wing views. Politically confused - yep.

Chil1234 · 09/05/2010 17:44

I'm sure it is. But their leaders - if you listen now - say they are working for the national good and when they list the priorities 'electoral reform' is not the first thing they say any more. It's a subtle change but I think it's significant.

jenny60 · 09/05/2010 17:45

Chill; didn't NC say he'd talk with the party that got the most votes,not that he'd work with them? Maybe I'm wrong, but I cannot see how NC or the LDs could survive long-term without delivering PR now. Surely the LDs can argue that PR is in the nation's long-term interest?

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FrakkinTheReturningOfficer · 09/05/2010 17:48

The LDs have more than one policy.... They're not just 'the party with PR'

jenny60 · 09/05/2010 17:50

yes chill, it may be significant, but the LDs have to look like they're doing their best and taking these talks seriously. The messages from Paddy Ashdown and other LDs have been mixed to say the least. But the messages on the LD websites are very, very clear. NC will not be forgiven for not getting PR when he can. The chance will never come again.

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jenny60 · 09/05/2010 17:52

Yes, but PR is the only policy that can change everything for the LDs and for the rest of the parties. Adn I suspect it's the only policy he would not be forgiven for dropping when it's not just possible, but guaranteed.

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claig · 09/05/2010 17:53

Chairman Mao was a progressive. There is something odd about the term progressive, which vesela has touched upon. It's difficult to put one's finger on it exactly. It is clearly spin par excellence, and that's why it is somewhat smug and patronising. The use of the term progressive by certain parties implies that progress will only be brought about by them, and that the other side is regressive. It is a way of fooling people, like saying we are the caring, listening party and implying that the other parties aren't. It is a clever form of propaganda, that sweeps people along and possibly removes some of their critical thinking when analysing other parties. It is a bit of a catch-all term that implies that change and reform is good. The problem is that it can be appropriated by many nasty parties who also want to implement change and reform.

MrJustAbout · 09/05/2010 17:59

Frakkin, I think STV's a much better idea than MMP (speaking as a New Zealander, where we've got it).

I'm not sure if you need a % bar under STV.

jenny60 · 09/05/2010 18:04

I don't agree. Progressive was a term more commonly used in the early twentieth century than now and it did mean people/parties who opposed the status quo, usually in areas like electoral reform, social reform and equal righs of various kinds. I'm afraid that no matter how hard one tries to find them, progressives on the right of the political spectrum are few and far between. They just did not and do not tend to support what are commonly known as progressive causes like equal pay, a minmum wage, paid maternity leave and so on. Mao was not in fact progressive. Progressive in what way? In the same way as Hitler, Stalin?

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scaryteacher · 09/05/2010 18:04

I don't like the idea of super constituencies as it takes away the link with the MP; and for me that is important.

I think that Clegg is sensible talking to the Tories and is being shown as a mature politician in that he is concentrating on the economy first. He would be punished at the polls next time if he just concentrated on the PR issue instead of the bloody mess we are in.

Yingers74 · 09/05/2010 18:07

Am a lib dem and think clegg is in a very tough position. I very much hope for some electoral reform but am not sure the Tories would go for that. However despite the wishes of Labour supporters, I don't think the lib dems should prop up a labour govt which the public have largely rejected esp as we also did not do too well. If nothing comes from these talks, I personally think we need to move for another election asap.

FrakkinTheReturningOfficer · 09/05/2010 18:09

Multi member super constituencies wouldn't necessarily take away the link. In fact it could increase contact because different parties MPs would be competing with each other to be seen to do the best for their constituents. Self-serving? Yes, but with beneficial side-effects.

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