Alongside the new economic settlement that is at the heart of Ed Miliband’s ‘One Nation’ appeal, we must provide long-term solutions to big issues like social care, pensions and climate change. 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.
Achieving the change we want, and embedding it beyond one Parliament, means building the sort of progressive consensus that the 1945 Labour Government achieved in the post-war settlement on the welfare state, by reaching out to others who share our values.
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.
But this de-alignment and increased support for smaller parties sits alongside a clear consensus across supporters of different parties for the values at the heart of ‘one nation’ politics. So the changing terrain may challenge the way that we’ve done politics over the last 60 years, but it provides a real opportunity for us.
Labour for Democracy has been established, with support from across the Party, to explore how we seize that opportunity. We have undertaken a new analysis of recent polling on issues at the heart of Labour concerns. It reveals shared values between Labour and Liberal Democrat voters, which we know extends to Green voters and others, on key Labour issues.
This consensus across supporters of different parties shows that we can work with people in those parties to achieve radical change through a more pluralist approach to politics. This doesn’t mean taking politics to the centre through compromise, but building on the views of voters to achieve real change to rebuild Britain. We want other parties to ensure that the progressive values of their voters are reflected in their political programmes.
To promote this pluralist approach, Labour for Democracy will explore the areas of agreement, researching views on key issues and opening up discussion across parties. It’s not about coalitions, but about approaching politics differently. All Labour members will work hard for every Labour vote. But whether we win the outright Labour majority we all seek, or end up with a less conclusive result, the change Britain needs will require the support of all who share our values.