An idea for Labour
It’s commonly thought that Labour would never see government again once split; left/right divided candidates never able to individually attract enough voters. This is because we don’t have PR, the whole point of which is to remove this unfairness. I wish to propose a new way to solve this problem within our present first-past-the-post system:-
Jeremy Corbyn has roused the UK Left who have literally rallied to his support. Those trying to stop Jeremy are writing page after page of smears, lies and portents of Labour’s doom. Paul Mason on the other hand offers more positive ideas: https://medium.com/mosquito-ridge/labour-the-way-ahead-78d49d513a9f including:
“The route to power also involves Labour itself becoming a more formal alliance and, in turn, being prepared to make political alliances across party lines.”
A kind of internal “formal alliance” is what I propose for discussion. It might solve Labours left/right problem, quelling disputes that have crippled the party for too long. It is an alternative to a full split intended to transmute our Party into “a body with two wings”.
We should create formal party wings
We should create two formal party wings with prospective MPs swearing firm allegiance to one or the other. Each CLP would select one candidate MP from the wing they felt had the best chance of winning an election in their particular constituency.
With shared core policies
The two Labour wings, each with its own leader, would be bound together by promising to vote in the House for formally agreed core policies formed from their inevitable overlap and firmly fixed and publicised prior to general elections. These core policies would clearly not contain contentious issues such as Trident, but would contain several central policies that are already generally in consensus across the present Party such as support for our NHS.
CLP candidate selection — no parachutes !
A single selected candidate per CLP means no ‘wasted vote’ problem; a voter like myself, a socialist living in a Tory constituency would readily understand my CLP’s need to field a ‘New Labour’ wing candidate and would of course vote for him/her. A ‘New Labour’ wing voter in a left wing constituency on the other hand would reciprocate, both of us aware that the major effect of our votes would be to support Labour core policies regardless of our candidate’s wing. There would also be nothing to stop further informal co-operative voting and horse-trading between the wings.
Worries about polling would be completely re-framed. Each wing would promote their own differentiated manifesto in tandem with the core policies. The ‘New Labour’ wing could happily go ahead with the public promotion of middle of the road politics, attracting swing voters rightfully sickened by Tory excesses. Equally, the ‘Socialist Labour’ wing could put forward the well known and understood traditional democratic socialist platform that would continue to benefit from the belief and tremendous enthusiasm of Corbyn supporters.
Rather than dismiss this idea out of hand, please tell me why it wouldn’t work. I have no parliamentary experience. Tell me how that shows.
Is it crazy ? It’s just an idea.