Should Labour Resist the Progressive Alliance?

Since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party, he has held a firm line against cooperating with progressive parties such as the Greens, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Scottish National Party, a means to best prevent dividing votes between multiple progressive, left-wing and centre-left parties in order to give the best possible chance of at least 1 such party from being elected, but is this strategic placement of parties fair on the voters? One of the most recent examples of this was the 2016 Richmond Park By-Election which saw Liberal Democrat candidate Sarah Olney winning the seat from recent Conservative defector Zac Goldsmith who ran as an independent. While both the Conservative Party and UKIP both decided against fielding respective candidates, instead deciding to endorse Zac Goldsmith, this wasn’t enough to prevent the Liberal Democrats winning. This shift would in part be a result of typical lower turnouts that occur in by-elections. However, this may have still been aided by the Green Party’s decision against fielding a candidate and the large number of Labour voters that appeared to have made the shift, this is despite the Labour Party choosing field a candidate, despite some in the party wanting Labour to not challenge the seat in order to increase the chances of the Liberal Democrats winning. Why did so many parties decide not to challenge the seat?

However, as the largest opposition party with 229 members does Labour need to cooperate with any other party? Only 7 years ago they had 345 MPs leading into the 2010 elections, but that’s part of the problem, 7 years ago, since then the party has had relatively dismal approval ratings in comparison to the Conservative Party, a March 2017 poll for the Guardian new paper in the UK gave the Conservative Party 44% while Labour trail at 28%, if this was transferred to votes Labour could expect to lose potential lose around 1 million voters in a future election highlighting the difficulty for the party in any plans to win a majority in a future election, with most of the blame being targeted against party leader Jeremy Corbyn. Is Corbyn really to blame is there a kind of political shift that no one could prevent as more and more young Socialist vote from the Liberal Democrats and Green Party? Many Labour heartlands in Scotland were lost of the SNP in 2010 and without those constituencies back it is unlikely that Labour can govern the UK on its own.

Meanwhile in 2010 the conservative party was about to gain power in 2010 without running a minority government by forming a coalition with the Liberal Democrats, while the traditionally left-wing party seemingly failed their constituents during the coalition era, does that still make party blocks that we often see in Europe when like-minded parties will automatically form coalition, both in government and opposition, why is Labour so defiant to follow a similar trend?

Should the progressive parties work together and limit the options for constituents to help make sure voters are not left with the parties they really don’t want? Is Labour right to think that they could still achieve a majority government, or has that period of British political history over?

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