Compass launches Win As One campaign

Compass is a think tank with a strong emphasis on equality and sustainability.  It started as a pressure group within Labour but now has a wider membership including members of other progressive parties, including Liberal Democrats.

Compass has launched a new campaign called Win As One. This is a variant on a Progressive Alliance, but it does not involve parties standing down candidates in Tory facing seats to back the most winnable. Instead it appeals to voters to create a movement for change, embracing tactical voting where it can be effective.

The Guardian has more detail about how they intend to work. The campaign will focus on 62 seats where a Conservative has been elected even though the combined progressive voter was higher – they dub these seats as progressive tragedies.

You will remember that back in September the Labour Party Conference backed a motion calling for Proportional Representation. However, it did not have the backing of Keir Starmer, so it seems unlikely to feature in any future manifesto. The Win As One campaign will give preference to candidates who support PR.

You can enter your postcode on the Win As One website to see their analysis of your constituency. In my case Ed Davey is my MP and Kingston & Surbiton is not seen as a battleground, but the site points me towards neighbouring constituencies that are.  For example, the Lib Dem’s top target seat is Wimbledon and it has a progressive combined vote of 61%.

So what should our attitude be towards this new player? I do have my doubts about a Progressive Alliance as such, because it undermines the autonomy of the voter. It assumes that voters will automatically transfer their vote to the “chosen” candidate, but we know that is simply not the case. Indeed it can be a counterproductive move if voters resent the reduction in choice and feel patronised by the parties who appear to be trying to manipulate the result. We should always stand a candidate in each seat.

However, we have always actively supported tactical voting and have encouraged it through our third party squeeze messages.  It’s an approach that respects the intelligence and autonomy of the voter.

Our brilliant Blue Wall campaign resonates with the electorate in those seats where we are the credible alternative to the Conservatives and has helped us to deliver some astonishing by-election results.  At the same time we have not actively contested traditional Red Wall seats, leaving Labour to defeat the Tories.

I think we should be actively supporting the Win As One campaign. We should not shun it simply because its origins are outside our party.


* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames, where she is still very active with the local party, and is the Hon President of Kingston Lib Dems.

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  • Peter Davies 9th Dec '22 - 10:35am

    This is definitely a more intelligent approach than some of the previous tactical voting campaigns. It has identified that there are quite a small number of seats where tactical voting might work. At the previous election there were a number of sites claiming that you needed to vote tactically for Labour in safe Labour seats and safe Tory seats.

  • Jack Nicholls 9th Dec '22 - 10:41am

    I strongly support this endeavour. I’m clustered in amongst the red wall (some still red, some currently blue) and actively contributing to a Liberal victory over a conservative would mean going out leafleting in Harrogate or Westmoreland. I may still still do that here and there come the election, but I have no qualms about helping a good Labour candidate closer to home, at least for this election, and I have Labour friends in yellow/blue battlegrounds who would do likewise for us.

  • Mick Taylor 9th Dec '22 - 10:55am

    A sensible proposal from Compass. Rather like the successful tactical voting agreement in 1997. No second guessing voters or denying them choice. I’d go for this, especially if backing PR is part of it.

  • Chris Moore 9th Dec '22 - 11:33am

    If Labour is in power with an overall majority, most Labour activists will forget their previous support for PR. There will be other “priorities”.

    In any case, Labour party leadership don’t want PR.

  • What happens in 2028 or 2029 when our priority (as in 2010) might be to get a poor Labour govenrment out of office?

  • Massimo Ricciuti 9th Dec '22 - 11:51am

    Thank you, Mary. It’s really interesting to read about that from Italy. I understand your point of view.

  • James Moore 9th Dec '22 - 1:21pm

    As a Labour government wouldn’t take us back into the EU, wouldn’t rejoin the single market and wouldn’t support PR, I’m not clear why the election of a Labour government is something to be particularly welcomed.

    I can’t helping thinking our time would be better spent making the Liberal case, rather than trying to concoct deals and understandings of various sorts. Any Labour member advocating support for another party’s candidate could face expulsion so I cannot see how this will ever gain influential backing on the other side of the fence.

  • Jack Nicholls 9th Dec '22 - 3:59pm

    A labour government is neither panacea nor picnic, and Starmer’s authoritarianism – real or performative – worries me, but right now, in these circumstances, with the world as it is at present, I’ll take it. The Tories aren’t going to take us back EU-ward or give us PR, and they’ll also pummel the NHS, continue to gut public transport, detain the most vulnerable people in the world till they die from diphtheria, and eviscerate our reputation for international development. I have never been equidistant between the two big parties, and I’ve never thought our party should be either.

  • The best hope of getting some kind of electoral reform, closer relations with Europe and a fairer government overall is if there is a Labour government.

    A lot of what Starmer says is triangulation to appease the red wall but my feeling is that Labour would be willing to jettison some of their illiberal positions in the event of a hung parliament especially if they could blame the Lib Dems for it.

  • As far as the EU is concerned I will vote for the party which is prepared to explain clearly at every opportunity the financial damage that leaving caused this country.
    And I don’t live in Scotland!

  • Nick Hopkinson 10th Dec '22 - 9:11am

    Fully support this article.

  • The paradigm underpinning the Compass Progressive-Alliance campaignscould be characterised as a ‘Star-Wars’ paradigm. Unfortunately, those proposalswould confound the whole purpose of democracy. They would concentrate control of the political agendainto back-room negotiations within and between tiny minoritiesof determined and self-focussed activistsin ‘covert-coalition’ arrangements,and would eliminate meaningful choicefor each Individual Sovereign Elector. Indeed, those proposals would simply consolidate the dominanceof the two current alternating hegemonies;currently labelled ‘the Con Party’and ‘the Lab Party’,by re-labelling them‘the Regressive Alliance’and ‘the Progressive Alliance’,in a move towards the ultimate two-Party state- the Republican Party and the Democratic Party of the US.

  • Although I could support most of the aims of this group, they lost me at the first line. How can they think that the name Win as One will attract any Lib Dems, who know only too well the pitfalls of forming alliances of any sort?

  • Nigel Jones 10th Dec '22 - 2:04pm

    Allison, I share your feeling when looking at the title literally; perhaps Win as United would be better, since we need to keep our distinctiveness as a party. But being pragmatic, we must support the aims of this movement. As to people’s legitimate questions about Labour under Keir Starmer, this is the only way to get even the first steps of change that we as Liberal Democrats believe in for the long term interests of the country. In particular, the country needs to tackle inequality and the need to enable people to participate more effectively in politics and in society.

  • Chris Moore 10th Dec '22 - 2:28pm

    Even if Labour Party committed to PR before a GE, the chances are high they’d renege on this if they won an overall majority.

  • Peter Hirst 10th Dec '22 - 3:03pm

    Win as One is fine as long as it also articulates a firm pathway and commitment to getting rid of FPTP. Otherwise it just increases Labour’s majority in the next parliament. Can Labour be trusted to make then next ge the last under this system? I have my doubt though we might have no choice than to mix trust with a large dose of hope.

  • Chris Moore 11th Dec '22 - 8:08am

    Hello Peter,

    We need to be realistic:
    1. Labour leadership doesn’t want PR.
    2. It’s not official Labour policy. And is very unlikely to be so before 2024.
    2. Even if it were official Labour policy, precedents suggest that with a Labour overall majority it would not be prioritised and most probably wouldn’t happen.

    To have any chance of PR, we need to hold the balance and make it a condition of support. We would then likely be faced with opposing a minority Labour government program with many reforms we supported. If this came to a confidence vote, we would be unpopular for being a proximate cause of a sevond GE.

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