Hi Steve.

Thanks for sharing this update, which is helpful and insightful.

My main response to your analysis remains that is too focussed on a one-dimensional Tory vs Labour axis. I submit that you need to more deeply consider the merits and possibilities of a Progressive Alliance between the Opposition parties, including Labour.

As mentioned before, recent analysis by Compass details the enormous and arguably impossible task for Labour in winning the next General Election outside of a Progressive Alliance:


Amongst the key challenges facing a Labour-only victory over the Conservatives include their wipeout in Scotland and upcoming constituency boundary changes which will add a further net 15 seats to the Tories.

The “vote for us everywhere” strategy has failed for Labour in four consecutive General Elections and frankly it surprises me that any serious analyst would now consider this as a default strategy. Sorry for being blunt ... just calling this out.

Instead, I submit that further (and yes, more complex) modelling be performed by considering two forms of Progressive Alliance:

1. Informal.

Each party stands candidates in whatever seat they like but they only campaign in their preferred seats. There is some back room coordination between the parties to minimise electoral overlap eg Labour do not campaign in Esher or Hitchin and Harpenden and the Libs do not campaign in Red Wall seats.

2. Formal.

The parties openly declare the Progressive Alliance (it becomes a core selling point of their manifestos) and only stand in their selected seats.

You could therefore construct scenarios where a defined % of the 2017/2019 vote from each “passive” PA Party transfers to the “active” PA party. For example an Informal PA might see say 40% of the vote transferring to the active PA party (the remainder staying with the passive PA party) and a Formal PA might see say 75% of the passive PA Party vote transferring.

I recognise the cognitive and governance challenges facing Labour in particular in adopting the Progressive Alliance strategy. But frankly, one more heave at the bankrupt “Vote for us everywhere” strategy is simply wasting everyone’s time.



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I understand your frustration here - and to a degree I share it - but what do you think the chances are of Labour standing candidates down in some of these seats? For whatever reason the party machine and members locally just too often hate the idea. Has it ever happened? In fairness some of the splits you talk about (40% of voter going to PA) might happen in seats with an active tactical voting campaign (easier against high profile targets where one party is in a distant third, like Esher). But I don’t see how you can confidently predict it.

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Hi Steve

I agree that the main barrier to the PA is Labour, specifically their leadership, their constitution and many (not all) of their leading local activists.

This is the primary barrier. I believe that the other Opposition parties can and will come round to the PA strategy more easily.

You ask a great question re has this happened before. My understanding is that an informal PA took place in the 1997 General Election and formally in the Tatton contest in the same general election contest.

As we know this led to a 253 majority for Labour and 42 seats for the LDs !

Let’s play with some scenarios first ...

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