There is a progressive majority in Britain, but under first-past-the-post you’d never know it. It’s time to get smart
Politics is changing rapidly, but too often our parties lag behind the people. The shifting tectonic plates of climate, Brexit, technology and the politics of identity, both personal and national, change everything.
In the maelstrom we can only cling to our values and culture. And what we find remarkable and reassuring is that these are so similar for all of us. Each of us wants a society that is much more equal, sustainable and democratic, and we know we must work across old tribal boundaries to get there.
This is more than electoral necessity. While still recognising that each of our parties has their distinct identity, we enjoy working together. There is beauty in diversity, despite the political system actively seeking to pit us against one another.
But what we think hardly matters, compared with what people are doing. They know the two big dominant parties aren’t working, and that no single party has a monopoly of wisdom. And they know the Tories are given huge advantages before any election campaign even beings.
Conservative votes are now so efficiently spread that it takes just 38,000 to elect a Tory MP but 51,000 votes for every Labour MP. But because of our first-past-the-post system it needs 336,000 for every Lib Dem MP and a ludicrous 866,000 to elect Caroline Lucas for Brighton Pavilion. It is why we need proportional representation, because this is sham democracy. The Tories even want to remove any kind of transfer-vote element from mayoral contests. To beat the Tories, we need to beat the system, and that means being smart about working together.