Ely & District Progressives

Local people attempting to shake up local politics

How did we decide who to support in the county elections?

We’ve had a number of comments on our county elections campaign Facebook posts asking how we decided which candidates to back.

The short answer is that we’re backing the candidates selected by the progressive parties who have agreed to work together. For the County elections that’s the Greens and Labour but not the LibDems as they pulled out last autumn.

The longer answer requires more context about why the group was formed, what the group is about, the progress we have made and the situation we’re in.

The group formed from a realisation that there are a large number of progressive voters in our area whose views go unrepresented because their votes are split between the Greens, Labour & the LibDems.

The group is trying to bring those people with common progressive views together and get them working with each other. We’re trying to get them to work together to get elected and afterwards if they are successful. That requires lots of discussion, negotiation and trust building. That’s a long and difficult process.

We have made some progress.

The Greens and Labour now have a good working relationship. That may sound like a small thing but we can assure you that it is a major step forward and one that has a wider knock on effect.

The group provides a formal mechanism for non aligned progressives to influence proceedings without joining a party. Again that doesn’t sound like much but equivalents elsewhere are very few, although there are more on the right of politics e.g. the one in Wisbech.

However, the current situation is far from ideal because the LibDems have withdrawn from being involved. We had been working with them and we wanted them to be part of the County campaign but they didn’t want that. That was really disappointing but it’s their decision. We hope they reconsider and re-engage with us in the future.

For the county elections we had the following options.

  1. Not to campaign in the county elections at all.
  2. Support a cross-section of candidates inc. LibDems to ‘get the Tories out’.
  3. Support candidates who were still willing to work with each other and us.


Option 1 is the status quo, the Tories would have won.

Option 2 is the “not the Tories” tactical voting option. This seems like a logical choice but it’s only short-term and unlikely to work even then. We are convinced that the only viable long-term solution is to promote co-operation between parties. With that in mind, we did not think it would fair on the parties that are co-operating with us and each other if we then campaigned against them in some wards.

Option 3 is far from ideal but fits with the ethos of the group and what we’re trying to achieve. We have made huge progress in getting Labour and the Greens to have a working relationship. We’ve got people who are not party members actively involved. We’re beginning to get around the tribal nature of party politics and work together.

We will be organising a group meeting soon after the county elections to decide who to back in the general election. If you want to be involved in our attempt to unseat Lucy Frazer join the Facebook group.


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This entry was posted on April 28, 2017 by in Uncategorized.