West London Compass and South West London Make Votes Matter were organising an Alliance Building event in Richmond on 14 March in the Unitarian Church. Speakers included Jonathan Bartley, co-leader of the Green Party, Vince Cable, former MP for Twickenham, Barry Langford, former deputy leader of the Labour group on Richmond council and non-party speakers including Klina Jordan from Make Votes Matter, Frances Foley from Compass and Peter Macfadyen, Independent from Frome and author of Flat Pack Democracy.
We were exploring the possibilities for establishing progressive alliances in local seats to enhance the chances for the election of progressive candidates against the Conservatives as we see this as the only chance of preventing a clear win for the Government in any foreseeable election.
Both Jonathan Bartley and Vince Cable praised the local Green Parties for making the difficult decision to stand aside and changing the dynamics and give Sarah Olney an opportunity to beat Zac Goldsmith. Barry Langford was making the case for Labour to turn their back to the current outdated election system and support the idea of building alliances as a way to bring about an electoral reform and to leave behind the ‘Punch and Judy’ approach to politics and embrace a new and kinder way of working together to bring about change.
And we had a magic moment just before Klina Jordan from Make Votes Matter would take the stage and give her talk on the need for any alliances to ensure Proportional Representation remained at the top of the agenda; when their official Parliamentary petition calling for PR had reached 100,000 signatures - meaning it will now be considered for debate in Parliament. (https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/168657) With both Conservative MPs; Tania Mathias for Twickenham and James Berry for Kingston and Surbiton; elected on around 40% of the vote at the last election, it's not surprising that there were over 500 signatories in these constituencies alone.
Make Votes Matter hope both MPs will join MPs for Richmond Park Sarah Olney and Ruth Cadbury in Brentford and Isleworth; and represent all of her constituents' interests by vocally supporting a move to Proportional Representation during any Parliamentary debate that is scheduled as a result of this petition.
Submitted by Rene Bach