Thoughts on the Lib Dem, Green and Plaid Cymru remain election pact | Letters
The Greens’ electoral alliance with the Liberal Democrats (and Plaid Cymru) risks throwing their eco-socialism out with the remain bathwater (Report, 8 November). Greens have far more in common with Labour. Unlike the Lib Dems, Labour and the Greens support the radical transformation of society.
Labour’s target is decarbonisation by 2030, the Lib Dems’ is 2045. Like 56% of voters (Majority of UK public back 2030 zero-carbon target – poll, 7 November), Greens are more likely to support Labour’s policy.
It is no coincidence that only Labour and Green MPs are contributors to Extinction Rebellion’s handbook This Is Not A Drill. Back in April, protesters chained themselves to Jeremy Corbyn’s gate, not Jo Swinson’s, saying he was the “best hope this country has got” to meet the challenges of the climate crisis. Furthermore, it is Labour’s shadow chancellor who promises to use every lever of government to fight the climate emergency. Like the Greens, Labour would never enter a coalition with the austerity-creating Tories.
On Europe, the Greens and Labour support the most democratic solution (a second referendum) and their politicians play active and influential roles in the pro-remain leftwing Another Europe is Possible campaign.
The climate emergency is the most important issue facing us. For this reason, tactical votes in marginal seats should be for Labour. The risk – in this uniquely important election – is letting in the hard Brexit Tories. And like Labour voters, Greens understand how destructive this will be in the fight against the climate emergency.
• Almost 33 years ago, in January 1987, you published a letter from Nina Fishman, the Labour and trade union activist, calling for a tactical voting campaign for the coming general election. She was hoping to at least offset the coming third victory of Margaret Thatcher to some extent. That letter led to the first significant organised television campaign.
Sadly, Nina died in 2009 (you published an excellent obituary of her by Donald Sassoon). She would have been frustrated to see that electoral reform has still not been introduced for UK elections, and sad about the Labour party’s failure to understand the value of tactical voting. Among other things, that gave us a majority Tory government in 2015, and hence the Brexit crisis.
But she would have been delighted by the historic pact between Liberal Democrats, Greens and Plaid Cymru. This is the first proper application of tactical voting by established parties. It could well deprive the Tories of a majority on 12 December. If Labour was able to enter a similar agreement it could do far more.
• It is ironic that Unite to Remain, founded by Heidi Allen when she was an Independent MP, has become a three-way deal between the Liberal Democrats, Greens and Plaid Cymru, excluding the only grassroots pro-remain independent with a chance of winning: Claire Wright in East Devon. Claire won more than 21,000 votes (35%) in 2017 to the Tories’ 29,000, while the Lib Dems gained less than 1,500. Independents also won by far the largest share of votes and seats in this year’s council elections. Can I appeal to the Liberal Democrats, who are admirably standing down for other independents like Dominic Grieve, to consider withdrawing their candidate so as to help East Devon get a pro-European MP?
Independent county councillor, Devon
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