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The Only Way To Stop The Tories Is A Progressive Alliance

23/04/2017 22:23 BST | Updated 23/04/2017 22:23 BST
Dan Kitwood via Getty Images

No party but the Conservatives stand a chance at winning a majority of seats on June 8th.

I'm not stating this because I'm a Conservative or even because I think Theresa May is a strong leader (I'm actually a card-carrying Labour supporter) - I'm saying this because it's the unavoidable truth.

Labour are in big trouble, their leader is popular with the party membership but not the wider electorate, they are woefully behind in the polls for an opposition party, and they have lost Scotland with no hope of getting it back. Not only this, but they are facing the near-impossible task of appealing to two very different groups of voters - on the one hand, to have any hopes of gaining seats they must convince the largely liberal, pro-Europe youth vote to turn out at the polls, but on the other they must attempt to win back the largely pro-Brexit, working-class North that was once their main basis of guaranteed support. None of this even accounts for Middle England who, whether Corbyn supporters want to admit it or not, also must be won over if there's any hope of Labour gaining seats back from the Tories.

It goes without saying that under the current political climate, the path to a majority government for Labour is paved with insurmountable obstacles. This isn't being anti-Corbyn, it's just being realistic. And now, faced with very poor odds, all those who align themselves as left-of-centre (or even just those who want to prevent a hard Brexit) must get their heads out of the sand and admit to themselves that the only way to prevent a Conservative government with an increased majority is through an electoral pact between all left-of-centre parties.

A few days ago, both the Green Party and the SNP made the responsible decision to announce that they would agree to an electoral pact with Labour and the Liberal Democrats as long as it stopped another Tory government. Suffice it to say, the SNP did not need to make this offer, they will almost certainly win the majority of Scotland's seats on June 8th, and another Conservative government pushing a hard Brexit would only solidify the case for another independence referendum. However, Nicola Sturgeon - unlike what Jeremy Corbyn and Tim Farron are currently doing - rose above her own political ambitions to do what is best for the UK as a whole: stop the Tories.

In ruling out a progressive alliance between the Greens, SNP, Lib Dems and Labour, both Corbyn and Farron have doomed the UK to another Conservative government. The only plausible way to stop the Conservatives on June 8th - and potentially overthrow the archaic two-party system in the process - is for parties of the left-of-centre to accept that the only viable way they can help the people they hope to serve is to agree to an electoral pact.

Since Theresa May announced a snap election, I've seen countless members of the public claim on the news that they feel they have no option but to vote Conservative, and it's probably because those without their own strong party biases have observed the obvious - that Labour under Corbyn will never win a majority, that the Lib Dems are still damaged from going into coalition with the Tories, that voting Green under first past the post usually amounts to a wasted vote, and that the SNP can't help block damaging Tory policies if no other progressive parties win in England and Wales.

However, if these four progressive parties agreed to an electoral pact, made this known to voters and then urged them to vote tactically, then those who want to stop the Conservatives will know they have an option. Despite what the leaders, or even the supporters of each party might claim, all four of these parties have strong uniting factors that are crucial in battling a divisive and harmful right-wing government. All four parties, for example, are pro-Europe, all are anti-trident, all want to actually make substantial efforts to protect our environment, all want to help asylum seekers from Syria and are pro-human rights, and all parties want to halt the Tory cuts that are destroying our public services.

Despite all their differences - and there may be many - at least all of these parties support the basic principles of tolerance, equality and diversity. The same cannot be said for the Conservatives.

Unless Tim Farron and Jeremy Corbyn accept that the only way to stop the Conservatives is an electoral pact, the UK are facing a more divisive, elitist and right-wing government than anything we have faced since Thatcher. Our public sector is crumbling and its workers are under unsustainable stress. The NHS is being dismantled bit-by-bit and the mentally ill are waiting months for potentially live-saving treatment. More and more families are struggling to make ends meet whilst the rich are only getting richer. Young people are having more opportunities snatched from them each day, from maintenance loan cuts to the re-introduction of selective schools. People in war-torn countries are dying because the Conservatives don't have the heart to let them into our country for refuge.

Under our current political climate, voting with your heart and your head are synonymous with one another. If you care at all about the young, the vulnerable or even just not being driven off a hard-Brexit cliff, then voting tactically to stop the Tories is the only viable option. It shouldn't be, but that's the way it is.

If left-of-centre parties really do care about helping people - and the only way they can do this is in government - they must urge their supporters to vote for whichever candidate stands the best chance at defeating the Conservative candidate in their constituency. And they need to do it quickly.