The case for a Progressive Alliance is growing

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I wrote what follows on June 25 based on comment I made a week or so beforehand when discussing what might happen if Remain won the referendum. I can't see much reason to change it in any significant way except to say that the reason for Labour to join such a Progressive Alliance looks more compelling then ever:

I believe that the challenge [now] will be to create a short-term coalition of interests between the [Labour, Green, SNP, Plaid Cymru and maybe some Northern Ireland] parties with the one, and only, focus of re-establishing a basis for government that reflects the best interests of the people of this country. Only by doing so can the credibility of these parties be restored, because this exercise would demonstrate to a deeply disenchanted population that politicians have listened to the message that they have been given.

People dislike their voices not being heard.

People want diversity inside the Westminster bubble.

People have had enough of the power of large corporations and want it to be constrained.

People have had enough of of the petty squabbling.

And, to most people’s surprise, they have discovered that coalition does not necessarily lead to disaster.

So it is my suggestion that if there is a very small vote for Remain it is the job of all political parties to join together (although I very much doubt that the Conservatives will) to do these things:

  • Agree on a basis for electoral reform
  • Agree on the future of the House of Lords, and its reform
  • Agree a broad programme of reforms to be demanded from the EU
  • Agree policies on migration

This is not about abandoning party politics: this is about dealing with a national crisis where democracy itself is under threat, which threat the government is deepening rather than relieving by the decisions that it has taken. But, and this is the key point, this will take time, and as a result I do not believe it is in any opposition parties’ interest to force a general election now.

I added this suggestion when discussing the potential consequence of a Brexit vote and the Article 50 negotiations not being complete by 2020:

So what of 2020 in this case? I would love to think that a coalition dedicated to these things might be elected:

  • Electoral reform
  • House of Lords reform
  • EU readmission on revised terms
  • A national economic plan.

This government should, I suggest, seek a mandate for no more than two years.  Then there would be new elections and a referendum on the terms for re-admission to the EU.

I can live in hope, aided by the fact that I do know that across the country people are meeting at grass roots level with this idea in mind and many of the parties noted - including Labour - are represented.