It was shortly after 9.15 on the morning of Friday 4 May, 1979. We were gathered for the first lesson of the day. Our teacher asked us, a class of ten-year-olds, what important event had happened in the news. My hand was one of the first in the air. ‘Britain’s first woman prime minister!’ What … Continue reading the personal and the political
Category: UK party politics
brexit and my vote for labour
So here we are with just a few days left until the General Election. From the word go, I focussed on a handful of core issues — climate emergency, the NHS, austerity and education and was almost sure I'd vote Labour. But another priority issue in this election has been a real stumbling block — Brexit. … Continue reading brexit and my vote for labour
why I’ve changed my mind about tactical voting (for now)
Let’s get one thing straight. I’m not a fan of tactical voting or electoral pacts. ‘Vote for what you believe in’ is my motto. And stepping aside to endorse another party’s candidate limits voter choice and involves significant risk. What’s more, it makes some big assumptions about how your own voters will respond. An earlier … Continue reading why I’ve changed my mind about tactical voting (for now)
learning from labour
Government or opposition? This is the question intensifying already deep divisions within Germany's Social Democrats (SPD). Initially intent on opposition after a terrible General Election performance, the SPD leadership has been negotiating terms for another ‘grand’ coalition (‘GroKo’) with Chancellor Merkel's Christian Democrats — despite a slump in support for both parties. At the SPD's … Continue reading learning from labour
after the election: which way for the greens?
A week on from the General Election and the road ahead still unclear, what should Greens make of it all? With the exception of co-leader Caroline Lucas’ deservedly brilliant result in Brighton, it’s fair to say the hard work and passion that went into a particularly tough campaign wasn’t reflected in the results. Naturally there now … Continue reading after the election: which way for the greens?
keeping it civil
‘Naïve’, ‘red’, even ‘dangerous’ — I recall my teenage self and fellow anti-nuclear campaigners being on the receiving end of these and similar adjectives while we leafleted for CND on Saturday mornings. And at least for a while after the end of the Cold War, add ‘irrelevant’ too. But now? The nuclear question has become an issue … Continue reading keeping it civil
lines in the sand: greens and the progressive alliance
The recent parliamentary by-election turned out to be something of a game changer. Not only did the Lib Dems defeat Tory-turned-‘independent’ Zac Goldsmith, but the Greens, by deciding to stand aside, demonstrated how a Progressive Alliance might work in practice. The idea is that parties with a broadly progressive policy agenda set aside their differences to strategically … Continue reading lines in the sand: greens and the progressive alliance
a healing process: labour’s future (conference report)
‘Political renewal and the future of Labour’. This was the title of a recent conference convened by Labour Together, bringing various groups and interests within the Labour movement together for the first time to exchange and explore ideas in a common space. The conference aimed to initiate discussion: how should Labour ‘rediscover its sense of historic … Continue reading a healing process: labour’s future (conference report)
reaching out: what’s on your mind?
Jeremy Corbyn is confirmed as the leader of the Labour Party, with an increased mandate, after a contest that seemed to be mainly about MPs vs grassroots members and Westminster vs everywhere else. Now Labour has to overcome two big challenges: bringing together its own membership and transforming its grassroots supporters into voters. Both are … Continue reading reaching out: what’s on your mind?
electoral reform: time for a sense of proportion
Electoral systems aren’t sexy. But we’re hearing more and more about them. In the UK and in Canada, debates are taking place about alternatives to the First Past the Post (FPTP) majoritarian system. This blog looks at one of those alternatives — Mixed Member Proportional Representation (MMP) — and answers some common questions and concerns, … Continue reading electoral reform: time for a sense of proportion