A Progressive Alliance has been suggested as a (surprisingly) viable, alternative option post the 2017 snap general election. This would be a centre-left coalition of Labour, SNP and other more insignificant political parties – the Lib Dems and Greens, as opposed to a strong Conservative majority. A progressive alliance will unlikely come to fruition since the Tories have a 21-point lead in the polls but as we all know; opinion polls shouldn’t be trusted. After all, opinion polls failed to predict the Conservative majority in 2015, Brexit and Trump! The so-called progressivism on offer may seem attractive, but this progressive alliance would be an absolute catastrophe for this country.
British politics is and will continue to be dominated by Brexit, and a progressive alliance would delay and quite possibly reverse the Brexit process. Regardless of whether you voted Leave or Remain and despite the fact that the vote was not binding, reversing the process would be wholly undemocratic. Yes, 48% of the electorate were dismayed by the referendum result, but surely it is time to bite your bottom lip and stop complaining. There would be complete uproar amongst the majority who voted Leave. Should this alliance become a reality, Brexit will become an unreality. The SNP advocate a softer version of Brexit and to remain a member of the European Economic Area, meaning access to the single market, leaving the UK, under the jurisdiction of the European courts and being unable to control freedom of movement. The Liberal Democrat’s attitude is just as ludicrous. First, they wouldn’t vote for the Brexit process, unless there was a referendum on the terms, which is code for not accepting the result and remaining member of the EU. Tim Farron as part of the government of the day would fail to represent the 52% who voted for Brexit and according to YouGov, 69% preferred for the government to get on with the Brexit process.
Brexit isn’t the only issue why a progressive alliance would be frankly useless. We need to consider who the prime minister would be: Jeremy Corbyn. With only six weeks until polling day, 61% believe Theresa May would be more suitable as Prime Minister, as opposed, to 23% who are inspired by Jeremy Corbyn. Party unity is critical for any government, otherwise, they are doomed. Jeremy Corbyn couldn’t even unite his shadow Cabinet following the EU referendum vote, with 20 departures, resignations and dismissals occurring between June 27 and 29th. Labour are bitterly divided because of his ineffective leadership; so how can Corbyn be realistically expected to lead a multi-party coalition? Corbyn has consistently underperformed at Prime Minister’s Questions when the potential was there to interrogate May. Corbyn cannot take advantage of opportunities presented where he could gain an upper hand on May, so how is he fit to lead a country, in arguably, the most critical period since the Second World War? In brief, Corbyn would only be prime minister in name only, we all know who would be the puppet master: Angus Robertson, Westminster leader of the SNP. The SNP claim that the current Tory government is not representative of Scotland yet a coalition dominated by the SNP would be highly unrepresentative of the United Kingdom.
The policies of a progressive alliance cause fear due to the considerable risk they pose to the country. As we all know, Corbyn would be a lame duck and the SNP would be controlling the strings so there would likely be the abolition of Trident. Trident is a necessity for this country’s security. Trident has its flaws, it cannot address the pertinent issue of terrorism or cyber warfare. Despite it been widely accepted that the use of nuclear weapons is unthinkable, you cannot take them for granted, especially with the increasing instability of world politics. The case for Scottish independence has come back into the political equation since Brexit, and Theresa May has always been defiant in resisting claims for a second independence referendum, something of which is more likely under a progressive alliance. The break-up of the UK would become increasingly likely – something of which would be cataclysmic for the Scottish economy and a tragedy for our shared values, culture and history. In short, a progressive alliance would produce a greater seismic change in British politics than Brexit.
The term ‘progressive’ indicates a shift towards a positive direction for the nation, but this alliance would clearly do the opposite. The current period we are experiencing in politics has created almost insurmountable problems that only the Conservatives can solve. Continuity produces stability so a progressive alliance cannot be considered a viable alternative since the consequences would produce nothing but sheer instability.