Elections conducted under our outdated first past the post voting system are unpredictable.
As we as Labour electoral reformers know, elections conducted under our outdated first past the post voting system are unpredictable. Therefore let us work to get an unpredicted result, a parliament with as many electoral reformers, of course Labour MPs, as possible.
It is indeed all to play for but too serious to contemplate a majority Tory government with no checks or balances with again little more than 24 per cent support in the electorate. Gloom and doom is the only thing that can defeat us.
Polling shows PR support
New poll shows massive support for PR from Labour supporters. We all know that the Conservative cling to first past the post as a sort of divide and rule politics that keeps them in power and allows anti consensus policies.
You might like this comparison with Turkey about strong leaders. “World leaders from May to Trump to Erdogan are all promising to unite their countries while doing the exact opposite: Encouraging a sense of nationalism in countries with an imperial past is not just offensive but also counter-productive”.
You can help
First do read our latest report which arose from a speakers training event in Bristol, written by our LCER Executive member Joe Sousek, who also works with Make Votes Matter with lots of input from LCER. This draws on past LCER material with Labour arguments and updates it. You can read it here.
When read, please forward it to others and particularly to your Labour candidate in your patch and suggest it might be useful to them. Let us know their response as we are compiling a list of Labour reformers standing on 8 June.
You can also sign the cross party open letter from Make Votes Matter to Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May you can find the link here:
After local elections on 4 May
After Thursday, there is still hope that we can deprive Theresa May of a majority, let alone a landslide. So deep breath. There is no necessary read across from this particular set of shire county elections where London and most urban areas had no contests. Where there were mayoral elections, Labour won Manchester and Liverpool and Doncaster. We were not fighting in London or most urban areas.
Labour and Lesley Mansell nearly won the mixed Bristol/rural West of England metro mayor and the results show we can win all the parliamentary seats in Bristol itself. Plus the whole party was working together, Progress and Momentum and simply Labour Party members.
John Curtice is saying
CON: 38% (+3)
LAB: 27% (-2)
LIBDEM: 18% (+7)
UKIP: 5% (-8)
We know all the faults of first past the post. Seats do not follow votes. We do not need to decide whether we go for seats or votes but to stop the damage Tory governments have been doing since 2010 we need to reduce the number of Tory MPs and win or retain as many Labour MPs as possible. Here is a putative LCER strategy for Labour to adopt in different constituencies where under first past the post very different elections are taking place with different parties in contention:
The General Election on 8 June is a straight choice between Labour and Tory governments but not unfortunately in all 650 constituencies between Labour and Tory MPs. Labour Electoral Reformers believe in one voter, one vote, one value and when we change to PR we can return to being a 650 seat party. But we need to be a 400 seat party for this last election. Under FPTP the national vote for parties is incidental, ask Hillary Clinton or Al Gore.
For winning in Labour - Tory marginals and where the Party is writing off marginals lost in 2015, we need to offer something to Green and LibDem supporters to vote Labour - a PR pledge in the manifesto is the best way to do this. Also Labour candidate need to highlight their own personal support in election addresses and hustings.
LCER is not part of the Progressive Alliance but we can agree with the places where it is crucial to vote Labour to remove a Tory majority. We can also see the point (and be grateful to the Green Party) where they have decided to withdraw as in Brighton Kemptown where Lloyd Russell-Moyle is standing and in Ealing Central and Acton where our candidate is Rupa Huq and she has promised to work for PR.
In other places Birmingham Northfield where LCER Vice Chair, Richard Burden, is defending a small majority and needs support (including financial), the Green Party could de-emphasise their campaigning there and in other straight Tory-Labour Labour-Tory seats where the candidate supports electoral reform. This is especially important where in 2015 the Green vote was more than the Tory majority over Labour and where Labour MPs are vulnerable to a Tory aggressive attack and take over. You can see that Labour cannot but benefit from the guidance it has worked out where alliance of progressive parties is suggested for critical seats.
We won't accept one party rule. We need to vote smart to win. We can overturn our unfair electoral system and build a progressive majority.
LCER is also providing its own list of targets where the candidates support electoral reform like St Albans, Kerry Pollard, and Cambridge, LCER Vice Chair, Daniel Zeichner, and other seats where other parties are targeting in three way marginals and the Tories are either not in contention or they will win where the opposition is divided.
For winning our safe seats and where we have MPs but they are standing down or worried about UKIP you need to reconnect with and to persuade working class former UKIP voters to come back to Labour. Their 2015 and 2017 voters are worthwhile bringing back on policies they support like the public services, NHS and schools. In the heart of Bristol East a third of the UKIP had Labour as a second preference almost the same as a Tory second preference. And squeeze other third party supporters so no harm in supporting PR as candidates and/or the party.
To deprive Tories of their majority, in LibDem - Tory and Tory - LibDem marginals, Labour needs to fight something like a paper candidate so that the Tories do not win and other parties can come through. This is why we are electoral reformers because we want to fight for Labour voters everywhere and not ask Labour activists to upsticks and move to work in the nearest marginal to win under first past the post. That is the reality.
Labour cannot constitutionally withdrawn candidates and there is evidence from the 1990s that this can be counterproductive but they can decide not to send Jeremy Corbyn, and other media attracting Labour representatives, or resource these places this time.. We don't need formal pacts but the voters can under such a strange two edged sword of a voting system deprive Theresa May of her majority and give us a rainbow parliament.
Jeremy Corbyn has firmly ruled out any “progressive alliance” or Westminster coalition with the SNP, Greens or Liberal Democrats in the 2017 general election.
There are constituencies like Bath, Cheltenham, Eastleigh and Eastbourne where a Tory defeat helps Labour. And leakage of Labour votes to the Green Party will make it easier for the Conservatives to hold on against the tide of anti Tory votes.
The more marginal seat Labour MPs the more likely the House of Commons and the Parliamentary Labour Party are to support PR.
Additionally, we need to register as many people as possible, especially rising 18 year olds we discovered in the local elections and those who were prevented from voting and upset on the day, 4 May. Register on line up to 22 May . All Labour Party members and as many supporters as possible should have postal votes. It is ridiculous to waste time knocking up people who should have already voted so apply for a postal vote.
Use this service to apply to register to vote or to: update your name, address or other details on the electoral register; change your voting preferences, for example ...
Anyone can apply to vote by post. You don’t need to give a reason.
By the way, Blur drummer, Dave Rowntree, was elected to represent the University Ward on Norfolk County Council. Some will remember working with Dave Rowntree in the AV Referendum, six years ago this last weekend. There was a three per cent blip for Labour in Norfolk where the Green Party lost seats. Perhaps because of the work of Clive Lewis, LCER Vice Chair, vocally speaking against the voting system.
Clive Lewis said on BBC 1's Question Time:
"I personally believe in proportional representation.
We have a first past the post system.
It's an ugly political system.
It's an immature political system from the 19th century.
We need to change it and we need to give people real choice in who their politicians are and what their policies are.
This will make for a better politics."