What is a Progressive Alliance?
An electoral pact: the central act of a progressive alliance would be to contest the next general election in such as way that progressive parties do not work against each other. Under our current First Past the Post electoral system we too often end up fighting each other and splitting the progressive vote - particularly in swing seats. There are different options for how an electoral pact could work, ranging from a fully shared manifesto or platform, through to informal local agreements where certain parties don't campaign in others' target seats.
Why do we need a Progressive Alliance?
Democratic reform: the 2015 election was the most disproportionate in British history. The Conservatives won a majority of seats on the basis of only 24.4% of eligible voters. Greens and UKIP together received nearly five million votes, but have just two MPs between them. Pluralist politics is here to stay in the UK, but our first-past-the-post electoral system is designed for a 20th century political landscape of just two main parties. The result is that for the majority of voters, their votes simply don't matter. Elections are decided on the basis of a few hundred thousand votes in certain swing seats. It's time the UK came into line with the majority of western democracies, and adopted proportional representation, so everyone's votes are fairly represented in parliament. Democratic reform should be the first commitment of a Progressive Alliance.
Progressive values: this is a time of crisis for progressive politics. The Conservatives are pursuing a dangerously ideological and insular Brexit plan, anti-immigrant sentiment is poisoning our mass media, there is a huge rise in hate crime, a climate crisis threatens our well-being and security, and the failure of the economic orthodoxy to provide for the millions who have been left behind by globalisation and the austerity agenda has left our country fractured and turning to regressive explanations and solutions. Progressive values and approaches are needed more than ever to deliver a good society, and any energy spent in-fighting is a perilous waste that we can ill afford.
Whilst of course there is no guarantee that voters would shift from their party of preference to an alternative Progressive Alliance candidate, the results of the 2015 election show that in theory, an alliance between progressive parties could have won a majority in parliament. Here is a table showing our analysis of the data, and a list of 48 constituencies where the combined progressive vote was higher than that of the Conservative MP who ended up taking the seat.