The Progressive Alliance Needs Mothers’ Voices

I am launching a group called ‘Mothers for a Progressive Alliance’ with the backing of Compass on Saturday 18 November in Central London and am inviting Lib Dem members to attend to contribute to the discussion.

The concept of the Progressive Alliance gained prominence during the Richmond Park by-election in 2016 when Sarah Olney won the seat from Zac Goldsmith. Parties, campaigners and voters came together to work for Sarah Olney’s success. It was an example of what can be achieved when political conflict is set aside for something bigger.

The Progressive Alliance is a stepping stone to achieving a ‘Good Society’ which mothers strive towards. There is nothing idealistic about wanting one’s child to grow up in a fair society.

Mothers’ voices, though, are seldom heard as a single entity when it comes to politics. While all political parties point their compass towards building a ‘Good Society’ their versions of this differ. For example, the utilisation of economic policy that is ideologically grounded in Neoliberalism compounds the problem.

Mothers have been gravely affected by austerity policies. The erosion of the welfare state has increased the personal cost associated with a relentless drive towards a private market. Cuts have resulted in a reduction of public services such as help for victims of domestic abuse, mothers and children.

There is a need to urgently redress this balance. I propose to use the principles of Matricentricism to advocate for a motherhood movement that sees mothers as a force for social change. There is diversity within our mothering.

The usual mummy labels of ‘Yummy Mummy, Slummy Mummy, Alpha Mummy’ are exclusive and do not cut across race or class. Where are the ‘Foodbank Mummies, the ‘Disabled Mummies’, ‘The Asian Mummies’ for starters? The diversity within the mummy narrative is narrow and non-representative.

No one party can possibly cater for mothers’ needs which is why I am advocating for a Progressive Alliance for mothers. Hopefully the movement will be successful in articulating an intellectual, cultural and organisational premise that will reflect the diversity of maternal identities in building a Good Society.

Further details on the launch can be found here.

* Jane Chelliah is a LibDem member and blogs at

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Red Liberal 16th Nov '17 - 4:35pm

    I’m a bit confused by the use (theft?) of the name “Progressive Alliance” – the Progressive Alliance is actually the political International that the Labour Party joined after leaving the Socialist International!

  • James Moore 16th Nov '17 - 5:09pm

    I’m with Dave on this. Until Labour back a fairer voting system there is no ‘Progressive Alliance’.

  • Can men join ?

  • paul barker 16th Nov '17 - 5:56pm

    Why Mothers rather than Parents ?
    Is there anything Progressive about Progress ?

  • Simon McGrath 16th Nov '17 - 6:07pm

    Its hardly surprising that Labour front group Compass wants Lib Dems to stand down for Labour candidates. why any liberal democrat would want to help them beats me

  • @ Simon McGrath No more surprising than that some Lib Dems seem to have more in common with Tories, Simon.

  • Robert Irwin 16th Nov '17 - 7:14pm

    @David Raw – it’s true that some liberal Tories are joining the LDs and they are welcome, as are many moderate Labourites coming over to us.

  • Ben Rayment 16th Nov '17 - 7:58pm

    I agree with a lot of the comments above. Why should the Liberal Democrats help parties that do not help us. There are a few policies that the Labour Party continue to hold which prevent the United Kingdom from turning into a modern, progressive and liberal country; some views that they hold prevent the system from turning into an actual democracy.

  • Why would anyone want to lend their support to an organisation that wants to defeat Liberal Democrat candidates?

  • Jack Watson 17th Nov '17 - 9:09am

    Aw I love neoliberalism though

  • Linda Johnson 17th Nov '17 - 9:19am

    Sarah Olney narrowly lost her seat at the last election when LibDems lost the support of some of the Tories who had helped her win previously. I would prefer to see LibDems badge themselves as the only progressive party to win votes on our own merit. That includes ensuring inclusivity e.g. considering parents (not just mothers) as a target group as some families have no mother whilst others may have 2.

  • Geoffrey Payne 17th Nov '17 - 12:35pm

    If you are not in favour of the Progressive Alliance then this article is not for you. On LDV we have debated the topic many times over. I do not see the point in repeating the same things that have been said before. You are simply going off topic.
    I can report that Jane, who is a friend of mine, is a member of the Liberal Democrats and Liberal Democrats are very welcome to come along. I would ask if anyone would actually like to engage with the content of the article?

  • As a Lib Dem I want as many Lib Dem MPs as possible at each election on the way to a Lib Dem majority-in-coalition government. I am prepared to work with liberals if other party for specific aims e.g. stopping Brexit, introducing electoral reform, mitigating climate change, bringing about a more feminist politics in the UK. I’m also very happy for our party to work with others in Parliament to do that, including being coalition partners to enable a minority party to govern jointly with us.

    What I do not want is a Labour majority government or a Conservative majority government. And no one advocating any kind of Progressive Alliance has yet to have an answer to the question “How does a Progressive Alliance stop a Labour majority unless they stand down from the majority of GB seats?” So yes, there needs to be more women’s voices and more mother’s voices in politics. But I question why the author is going to the Progessive Alliance to do that when there is plenty of good work that can be done in the Lib Dems to advance the same.

  • Since the election I have turned entirely against the progressive alliance and would not be in favour of sacrificing LD votes or candidates in favour of other parties (on a grand scale).

    However, I wish you the best with your initiative and I hope you have the opportunity to really promote the benefits of LD policy… & report back if there are any areas where our ideas fall short.

  • The “Progressive Alliance” is about getting as many Labour MPs as possible elected, at expense of getting Liberal Democrat MPs elected. Why are Liberal Democrats involved in this?

    It’s not exactly clear what this “Progressive Alliance” is progressing to, but it doesn’t look like it would be very if at all liberal

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