Dear Liberal Democrats,
Congratulations on your impressive by-election wins over the Conservatives in recent times. I dearly hope that these victories translate into sweeping gains from the Conservatives at the next general election. The Conservatives being unable to form a government will of course be the first priority for all progressives at the next election, and it looks like the Liberal Democrats are on course to play an important role in that effort.
Labour’s lack of ambition leaves the door open for Conservative recovery
It is important however to think ahead and consider the government that would replace the current administration. At the moment, Labour appear set for a remarkable majority victory, despite promising nothing of note that could enthuse their base and holding utterly dismal positions on the European Union and proportional representation (PR). These two policy areas are vital for our country to move forward as a successful, stable, and progressive European nation. If Labour achieve a majority and seek to deliver their current political agenda, there is the danger that an opportunity for real positive change in the UK will be missed. If positive change does not occur after the next election there is the looming risk the political pendulum will swing back in favour of the Conservatives within one or two election cycles. In my view, this will have dire consequences for the well-being of the British people and the stability of the United Kingdom as a political entity.
At present, I see no effort from the Liberal Democrats in trying to change Labour’s mind on rejoining the single market, customs union, or the EU, and no plan to persuade Labour to adopt a policy of their own embracing PR.
Splitting the Labour vote in this by-election is our only worthwhile strategy
Volt UK are standing in Rutherglen and Hamilton West to deliberately split the Labour vote on these issues, and additionally to proactively highlight the issue of progressive co-operation. The available polling data (presented below) indicates Labour supporters have far more in common with Volt’s position on Rejoining the EU, PR, and progressive co-operation than they do with what is currently being proposed by Keir Starmer.
We are therefore hopeful of ‘some’success in our vote-splitting efforts. We are a small party with limited resources in comparison to the Liberal Democrats however, so we ask that you join us in the efforts to split the Labour vote in this by-election. Your participation in this effort should significantly increase the pressure on the Labour leadership to change their stance on these vitally important issues.
There is surely no harm in letting the SNP regain a seat at this point in this parliamentary cycle. With there being no current viable path to Scottish independence, your party is free to focus its efforts on sending a strong message to the Labour party that their agenda will fail hopeful progressive Scots. Scottish voters show greater support for rejoining the EU and for electoral reform than any other part of the UK, but Keir Starmer is giving them zero reason for hope on these issues. His approach instead is to ignore the desires of progressive Scots, fixate on voters in “red wall” constituencies, and persist with his exasperating“Make Brexit work” pledge.
The Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election allows progressives a free pop at Keir Starmer. It is an excellent opportunity to pile the pressure on and highlight the multiple “big calls” that he is currently getting horribly wrong. There is simply too much risk involved in letting Starmer coast towards the next general election with a 20-point poll lead, so please join us in giving the voters of Rutherglen and Hamilton West the opportunity to drastically change the course of British democracy.
The Liberal Democrats, Volt UK and Greens can choose the next general election result
When it comes to the next general election, we must also take this opportunity to implore you not to stand candidates where doing so would split the progressive vote again and prevent Labour winning those seats that are essential to ensuring Conservative defeat. There is no reason bar pride for you to stand in Labour’s 250th to 300th targets. If progressives are to use the next election as an opportunity to remove the Conservatives permanently from majority power, then we need to think strategically. For the Liberal Democrats to still be seeking to stand in every mainland seat, after decades of Conservative parliamentary majorities with a minority vote share, is genuinely mind-boggling. Our electoral system is dreadful, and the Liberal Democrats know this, but you always fall into the same traps, and the British people suffer as a consequence.
If we get to the next election and the Labour party has not shifted its position on the EU and PR, then we hope you can repeat the vote-splitting effort in this by-election in strategically chosen seats. We are asking you to join Volt UK (and hopefully the Green Party of England and Wales) in deliberately splitting the Labour vote with vigorous campaigns in Labour’s 301st to 350th targets (in England and Wales), and maybe a dozen Labour target seats in Scotland. If we all can work together on this, then we should be able to bring about a hung parliament with Labour as the largest party at a much wider array of Conservative-to-Labour swings than would otherwise be required for this outcome.
If the Liberal Democrats are as committed to proportional representation as you say you are, then demonstrate that commitment by campaigning hard in those seats beyond Labour’s 300th target in order to suppress Labour’s representation at a level more proportional to their vote share. Electoral reform is far more likely to happen in the short term if illegitimate parliamentary majorities are deliberately placed out of reach by Liberal Democrat, Green, and Volt UK action.
Starting in this by-election, our combined actions can deliver PR and Rejoin
Progressives across the UK (and further afield) are desperate for Keir Starmer to change course on PR and Europe. The pressure from other progressive parties on these issues needs to be felt now. If we are successful, our visions for our future will be so much brighter. For these reasons, we hope to see you accepting our invitation and to see your activists out in force in Rutherglen and Hamilton West over the coming weeks.
Progressive electoral strategy has repeatedly failed the British people and needs a complete overhaul. Volt UK might end up with a greater increase in our membership and our electoral support if we embark on this journey alone, but it will be so much easier to achieve our shared goals of rejoining the EU and proportional representation if we are joined in this effort by our friends in the Liberal Democrats.
Volt UK’s candidate for the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election.