As Jeremy Gilbert, one of the crucial thinkers charting a new direction for the British left, points out, by placing general elections in the hands of a few middle-income voters in market towns, our system grants inordinate power to the corporate media, which needs only to influence them to capture the nation. A combination of a media owned by billionaires, unreformed political funding and first-past-the-post elections is lethal to democracy.
Joining such an alliance means giving up Scotland and giving up its hopes of a majority in England and Wales. You could see that as a lot to ask, or you could see it as accepting the inevitable. Here’s where the kinder, gentler politics is required: to abandon tribalism and strike generous bargains with old opponents. It’ll be hard, but the urgency of the task, as we confront an elite that is now empowered to tear down the remains of postwar social democracy, should be apparent to everyone. By giving up hopes of governing alone, Labour could be offered a last chance of survival – but only as part of a wider alliance.
Combined, these forces can win the next general election, whenever that might be. Apart, they will inevitably lose. A progressive alliance need win only once, then use that victory to reform our electoral system, to ensure that the parties of the left and centre never again engage in destructive competition.
Labour can still survive, but only if it abandons hope of governing alone