The influential left-wing pressure group Compass — launched in 2003, chaired by Neal Lawson and fronted by Labour’s Jon Cruddas — has sent out an email tonight to its 4,000 members asking them whether or not the organisation should devise a short statement in support of tactical voting to help stop the Tories from winning the general election.
A ballot form is attached to the email, which says:
something seismic could be happening in British politics which reflects the Compass view of a more pluralistic and tolerant progressive democracy . . . So should Compass actively promote this new politics by arguing for tactical voting — and calling on people to back the best placed progressive candidate to stop the Conservative candidate and deprive the Conservatives of victory at the general election?
Endorsing tactical voting, naturally, means endorsing Liberal Democrat candidates in Tory-Lib Dem marginals — something that Labour pluralists like Alan Johnson and Andrew Adonis have so far refused to do. To be fair, the letter acknowledges that such a move by the organisation could be controversial, noting that “while Compass is not affiliated to the Labour Party many Compass members are also members and supporters of Labour”.
Compass has been attacked in the past by Labour tribalists for daring to reach out across party-political lines, inviting non-Labour figures such as the Green Party leader, Caroline Lucas, to its conferences. So I imagine the likes of Luke Akehurst won’t be too pleased tonight.
I’m not a member of Compass, but if I was, I’d be backing the move. Why? 1) Progressive coalitions are a good thing. 2) Labour tribalists are short-sighted and self-destructive. And 3) Lib-Lab tactical voting might be the only means left of denying the Tories victory on 6 May and preventing a disastrous Cameron premiership.