Posts Tagged ‘Labour for democracy’

Pluralism isn’t a choice for Labour, it’s a necessity

05/12/2012, 05:30:25 PM

by Kevin Meagher

One of the curiosities of devolution to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is the way in which the institutions look nothing like Westminster.

Whether it was a Freudian rejection of the hyper-tribalism of the Commons chamber and Westminster’s self-regard, the model for the devolved bodies has ensured a more pluralistic form of politics, with more grown-up politics the result.

That’s something Westminster village dwellers are not used to. Here, politics is still shaped by student union politicking and the public school debating society.

Yet all parties are coalitions of people with a wide range of views who happen to coalesce around broad themes. Is there really much of an issue of principle, therefore, to seek agreement with people outside the tribe if the ends are mutually satisfactory?

Enter Labour for Democracy, launched in Westminster last night and led by MPs Paul Blomfield and John Denham. The group seeks to make the case for inter-party working, particularly on big, expensive, long-term, cross-cutting issues like social care, pensions and climate change. As the website blurb puts it:

“The tough decisions that we will face, and the need to build wide support for radical change, demand a new approach to the way we do politics.’

It adds: ‘The days when over 95% of the electorate voted either Tory or Labour are long gone. Increasing support for smaller parties, switching between parties and differentiation between local and national voting reflect the changed approach of the electorate.”

By 2015 the age of majoritarian government may well indeed be behind us. There is nothing to guarantee Labour will win a general election victory outright (alas) and the party needs to get its collective head around that prospect.


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