I sympathise with the desire of Polly Ernest (‘Get together’, HT letters, 5 May) and many others to see progressive parties unite around common ground and fight to oppose counterproductive austerity, growing inequality, environmental threats and extreme Brexit. Indeed, the Green Party has been leading the push for electoral alliances against a deeply unfair voting system. That system delivered a fragile Conservative majority in 2015, based on only 24% of the electorate’s votes, which led us into the instability of the Brexit referendum and now back, again, to another election.
Greens have been calling for months for Labour and the Lib Dems to discuss electoral alliances to secure reform of our broken political system – and we’ve put our money where our mouth is by standing down in key marginals like Richmond Park. But the other parties simply haven’t reciprocated.
In any case, electoral alliances are only really relevant in marginal seats where an alliance can unseat the Conservative – and where it is a genuine agreement between parties, not one just standing down and losing its democratic voice.
In Herefordshire several candidates could claim to be best placed to beat the Conservatives. For example, the Greens have more councillors than the Lib Dems and Labour put together; we more than doubled our vote in 2015; and we are the only opposition party to have gained seats nationwide in last week’s local elections. But the fact is, neither Herefordshire seat is a ‘key marginal’. Instead, this is a county where voters can and should vote for their own principles, and for the candidate they think has the ability and the integrity to represent them most effectively in Parliament. This is not the time or place for tactical voting, but for voting for what you believe in.
For me, that means voting for someone who will campaign with all their might for investment in public services, protecting the environment, helping the local economy thrive – and holding Westminster accountable.
In the longer term, Greens will continue to work hard – looking for common ground with others – to reform our broken political system so that everyone’s voice counts equally.