openDemocracyUK

Funny, but the Tories could be having second thoughts on AV

The Conservatives oppose changing the UK's election system to the Alternate Vote in the coming referendum. But now the prospect of losing becomes attractive as AV could give the Coalition five more years.
Stuart Weir
3 November 2010

It's a funny old world, as Margaret Thatcher once observed.... Intelligent Tories are just catching up on the advantages for them and their coalition partners of the alternative vote, just as the referendum has won approval in Parliament.  Both parties see that they will need to sharpen their political profiles in advance on an election in 2015.  But how to conduct their election tactics?  First past the post is full of pitfalls for both, as it is these days very fickle, and they think it will still favour Labour even after boundary revisions; and neither party can contemplate standing down in seats which their coalition partner holds, or has hopes of winning.  But AV circumnavigates the difficulties.  Each party can ask its voters to vote first for them, and secondly for the other.

Between them, Blair and Brown fumbled a historic opportunity to form a centre-left partnership with the Lib Dems; and Brown has perhaps sold the pass for a more permanent coalition on the centre right, or even just the right.  Of course Cameron will still campaign for first past the post in the referendum; and party workers are not for turning.  But losing the referendum now is increasingly seen as attractive to many Conservatives - an opportunity rather than a loss.

Can there be a green populist project on the Left?

Many on the Left want to return to a politics of class, not populism. They point to Left populist parties not reaching their goals. But Chantal Mouffe argues that as the COVID-19 pandemic has put protection from harm at the top of the agenda, a Left populist strategy is now more relevant than ever.

Is this a chance to realign around a green democratic transformation?

Join us for a free live discussion on Thursday 22 October, 5pm UK time/12pm EDT.

Hear from:

Paolo Gerbaudo Sociologist and political theorist, director of the Centre for Digital Culture at King’s College London and author of ‘The Mask and the Flag: Populism and Global Protest’ and ‘The Digital Party: Political Organisation and Online Democracy’, and of the forthcoming ‘The Great Recoil: Politics After Populism and Pandemic’.

Chantal Mouffe Emeritus Professor of Political Theory at the University of Westminster in London. Her most recent books are ‘Agonistics. Thinking the World Politically’, ‘Podemos. In the Name of the People’ and ‘For a Left Populism’.

Spyros A. Sofos Researcher and research coordinator at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Lund University and author of ‘Nation and Identity in Contemporary Europe’, ‘Tormented by History’ and ‘Islam in Europe: Public Spaces and Civic Networks'.

Chair: Walid el Houri Researcher, journalist and filmmaker based between Berlin and Beirut. He is partnerships editor at openDemocracy and lead editor of its North Africa, West Asia project.

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