"The Commonwealth of Britain" - Republican UK Wikibox TL

Closer Look, 2013 Labour Vice-Presidential Selection
2013 Labour VP Selection.png

In the Commonwealth Vice-Presidential picks were often used to “balance the ticket”, to cover the weaknesses of the Presidential candidate. Lucy Powell, the woman in charge of Miliband’s VP selection, identified a list of criteria the ideal running mate would meet. Firstly, as Miliband was a white man they would need to be either a woman, person of colour or both. The ideal candidate would be either from one of the Celtic nations or the South of England, to balance out Ed’s northern constituency. The ideal candidate would be older and wiser to match the youthful Miliband. Finally the ideal candidate would have experience outside of Westminster, either as a Premier or a Mayor.

Thus Powell curated her shortlist of eleven candidates, ranging from Senators to First Ministers and Cabinet Secretaries. Of the eleven she presented to the rest of team Miliband, three: Coaker, Hunt and Reeves were dismissed out of hand. Coaker’s coalition with the Tories in the East Midlands had made him too toxic a choice, both Hunt and Reeves had performed badly in the primaries and as young Senators they did little to balance out the Miliband ticket.

Of the eight who went to interview several issues were raised, Umunna was dropped from consideration fairly early on. The campaign between him and Miliband had been fairly toxic and there was a lot of bad blood between the campaigns. Insiders feared Umunna was too ambitious to be a team player. As Miliband staffer Torsten Bell put it: “with Chuka as the VP Ed would be constantly looking over his shoulder, it wouldn’t be a workable relationship for either side."

Healey and Burnham too were both dismissed at the interview stage, as fellow youngish soft-left cabinet secretaries from the North of England with trade union connections they brought little to the ticket that Miliband didn’t already have. Miliband was eager to bridge the factional gap in his party and reach out to the party’s right and decided it would be best to pick someone who wasn’t an ideological ally.

This narrowed the list down to the final five for extreme vetting and multiple long-haul interviews. The first of the final five to be dropped was Rosie Winterton, a fellow Yorkshire representative, she had a strong relationship with Miliband and was seen as a keen running mate, the fact she was a woman also played in her favour. Winterton was a popular backroom operator and liked by all wings of the party, but the campaign decided she’d be more valuable behind the throne than on the stage.

Sadiq Khan was also dropped in the extreme vetting stage, he was a loyal lieutenant of Miliband’s having chaired both his Presidential campaigns, he would make history by being the first BAME and Muslim Vice-President. However Khan had the similar problems to Healey and Burnham, despite his race Khan was still a youngish soft-lefty, picking Khan wouldn’t allow Miliband to expand his base or unify his party, so he decided to let him go.

And thus Miliband had to choose from the final three: Alexander, Cooper and Harman. Cooper would be the obvious choice, a woman, former competitor, experience and close with the Prime Minister, she would be ideal. Cooper knew she would be ideal and thus demanded a heavy price for coming on to the ticket, many saw VP as a step down from Foreign Secretary and thus Cooper demanded unprecedented powers, especially over Foreign Affairs. It was not a deal Miliband could make and thus Cooper walked out of consideration.

So it came down to the final two, Alexander and Harman. Miliband staffer Patrick Hennessy described the decision as a “coin toss”, on one hand Alexander was a solid choice, eminently experienced, from the right of the party but not hostile to Miliband and from Scotland a key target region. However Alexander had some drawbacks, he was incredibly unpopular amongst the unions, with several major funders including Unite threatening to pull funding if Alexander was chosen. Secondly during Alexander’s vetting, former Brown spin doctor Damien McBride published his memoirs where he accused Alexander of leaking and briefing against Gordon Brown. If true, picking Alexander would be a mighty risk.

The other side of the coin was Harman, loyal, non-factional and authoritative, as well as being a woman. Harman ticked all the boxes Powell had set out and then some, she could be trusted not to embarrass the campaign, she worked with all Labour figures and she got on well with the unions, she was the safe and obvious choice. In the end Miliband decided Alexander would be too much of a risk and revealed his running mate at a rally in Manchester; Harriet Harman.


Miliband announces Harman as his running mate
Herman is a way better pick than Alexander. My reading of Alexander in OTL is that, since the indyref in 2014, he's been terrible at reading Scottish politics, and his interventions in Scottish politics have often harmed the SLP chances rather than improved them.

Harman however was, I believe, floated as an interim PM last year and is clearly liked by all.
Progressive Alliance Primary, Part 1

The SNP's Nicola Sturgeon waves to reporters after leaving a negotiation meeting in Wolverhampton

“Three parties with combined registered supporters of over two million have announced they have joined together to launch a Presidential bid. The Greens, SNP and Plaid Cymru have all put aside their ideological differences to stand together for the Presidency. The Alliance, organised by environment guru Jonathon Porritt and SNP strategist Stephen Noon calls for a progressive, environmentally conscious President. Alun Jones, Chair of Plaid Cymru said "this alliance will allow for the first time a proper alternative in Buckingham. We will elect a President who will fight for self determination and an end to austerity." Supporters of the Alliance include Cabinet Secretaries Natalie Bennett and Caroline Lucas, SNP Westminster leaders Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon and Plaid politicians Elin Jones and Adam Price. Bennett, who was at the announcement known as the "Hereford Declaration" refused to comment on whether she would be a candidate.”
- Greens, SNP and Plaid Cymru join forces, Tom Wigmore, New Statesman (2013)

After weeks of negotiations the Greens, SNP and Plaid Cymru announced they had come to an agreement on a joint primary and Presidential candidate for the 2014 elections. Whilst their cooperation came as a shock to some, it wasn’t unprecedented with the three parties cooperating at a European level. The parties had agreed to three core principles for their candidate to run on. Firstly a commitment to net zero carbon emissions within 20 years, secondly a commitment to “local democracy and self-determination” allowing an independence referendum to any nation or region with “considerable support” for independence, and finally a commitment to curb “the worst excesses of austerity”.

The alliance was effective in that it attracted a great deal of media buzz, a fully fledged cross party Presidential alliance was unprecedented in the Commonwealth and the press was fascinated how such an alliance would work. The alliance idea was popular and after being ratified by conferences of all three parties they were off to the races and the primary officially began.


Plaid's conference in Newport was the first to ratify the Alliance with Adam Price giving a stirring speech in favour

First out the gate to declare his candidacy was Senator Alex Salmond. After being defeated running for Premier for the second time in 2009, Salmond had announced he would not be seeking Scotland’s premiership again. A bid for the Presidency would allow space for “fresh blood” at the top of the SNP, and would make room for his protege, Nicola Sturgeon to run for Premier. Salmond ended up being the only SNP candidate to run with other senior SNP politicians like Sturgeon, Stewart Hosie and John Swinney all backing Salmond. Salmond also received the backing of Plaid leader Elin Jones who ruled herself out of running.

In his announcement speech Salmond said he had “never ducked a political challenge” acknowledging the difficulty of winning a national race as a sub-national politician. He pledged to be a “voice for Scotland” on the debate stage and a “progressive President” on issues such as Trident, the living wage and immigration policy. Most importantly Salmond said he would be a “vanguard for independence” proving the SNP could hold its own on the national stage.

“The Chancellor claimed over the summer that mobile phone charges would go up in an independent Scotland. A claim published on the very day that the European Commission set about abolishing roaming charges across Europe. When we hear such stories, it is worth remembering why William Hague and other opponents were so wrong in 1999. They were wrong because they believed that the people of Scotland would make choices that were harmful to Scotland. The record of the Parliament proves exactly the opposite. It has shown that the best people to take decisions on Scotland’s future are the people who live and work in Scotland. At present, decisions affecting Scotland in far too many areas are taken by a Westminster Parliament that has 59 Scottish members. That democratic deficit affects the public services, employment and opportunities across the country.” - Alex Salmond speaking in a Senate debate on a Scottish Independence Referendum (2013)

The multi-party nature of the primary presented an interesting dilemma for the constituent parties, should they rally behind one candidate to maximise the chance of one of their own getting to the top, or should they present as broad a choice as possible? The SNP knew it would be difficult to compete with the Greens’ over 1 million registered supporters, thus they had to present a united front to be in with a chance.


Nicola Sturgeon threw her support behind Alex Salmond in a display of SNP unity

This dilemma was particularly pressing for Plaid, with less than 100,000 registered supporters, was it worth spending the resources on a Presidential bid only to be crushed by the Greens and SNP? Many senior Plaid officials thought not with Leanne Wood, Adam Price and Dafydd Elis-Thomas all ruling themselves out of consideration, most of them following Elin Jones in giving their endorsement to Salmond.

Then came the question of the Greens, as they were by far the largest of the three constituent parties, they faced significant factional divides, not least on the issue of the coalition, the pro-coalition faction at the centre of the party represented by Bennett and Lucas who wanted to keep the traffic light Government going, the coalition-septic left represented by figures like Peter Tatchell and Derek Wall who wanted to renegotiate the coalition to be more radical, and the coalition sceptic right “mangos” like Andrew Cooper who wanted to move the party to a position of equidistance at the centre of British politics. Many senior Greens were concerned that a primary would quickly become a proxy-war for control of the Greens.

"Fear that Green support would split the Labour vote was encapsulated by the slogan ‘vote green, get blue’. One of the main strategies of the Labour Party was to dissuade potential green voters from voting Green. This was done by pointing to the only experience of governing the Greens had which was in local politics, in the towns of Norwich and Brighton. Norwich elected the first Green Mayor in the country and its performance was followed by supporters and opponents. In the light of the green surge, it was inevitable that opponents would latch on to any difficulties the Greens were having there. Patricia Hollis wrote an article in the New Statesman employing a “‘good cop, bad cop’ strategy”. An attempt to woo Green voters by stressing how left-wing the Labour party had become since 2009 while attacking the Green Mayor in Norwich. Two weeks later, Sadiq Khan visited Norwich and wrote an article in The Independent using a very similar approach to Hollis. Extolling Labour’s left-wing credentials and attacking the Norwich Greens." - Green Surge, Brendan Prendiville, French Journal of British Studies


The Greens straddled a precarious position between respectable party of government and radical activist movement

Their fears were proven correct when Shahrar Ali, a London MP and member of the Green Left caucus announced his bid for the Presidency on an “eco-socialist” platform. Ali ran on a platform of “empowering Britain's grassroots” pledging to be an “activist president”. Ali said he would take a radical Green message to the country “ boldly and unapologetically” saying he wanted to make the party more than “just a branch office for Labour and the Lib Dems”. Ali became the first BME major candidate to run for the Presidency.

Welsh Green Amelia Womack also announced her candidacy, whilst also on the left of the Greens she was less radical than Ali. She staked her campaign on the issue of young people, at 27 years old she was by far the youngest ever major candidate for the Presidency. She also hoped to win over Plaid voters with her Welsh background. Womack's pledged to be a unity candidate, bringing together the Greens' governing and radical wing to take Buckingham for the Progressives.

The last candidate announced was incumbent Home Secretary Natalie Bennett. Whether she liked it or not she was quickly labelled by the press as the “establishment Green” candidate. Bennett ran on her experience, as Home Secretary she had by far the largest platform and most recognisable face of all the candidates. However this profile was a double edged sword, in her time as Home Secretary she had become a hate symbol for the right-wing press, with a net approval rating of -19%. They had gone after her for her lax attitude to immigration and perceived failings during the London riots. There was also the worry her service in the Westminster coalition made her unpalatable to the radical wings of all three parties. Despite this, Bennett took a clear lead in the polls, by far the most recognised candidate, the primary was hers to lose.

“The Green party has more policies than the ones on energy. "Making the minimum wage a living wage; re-nationalising the railways; keeping our NHS public. People, if they listened to me, would realise that we are a complete political party with a complete suite of policies. And they'd see that we're occupying what for many British people is the common-sense place in politics. 76% of people think we should bring the railways back into public ownership. We have a real problem with our political class, and indeed our media discourse, in that somehow that's still regarded as a radical policy. We all know outsourcing of government services has been a disaster. Yet challenging outsourcing is regarded as radical." Here I always get a "how do you solve a problem like Maria?" moment. It is plain that the Greens are asking the questions that ought to be asked. It is also plain to see that they are organising themselves around precepts that aren't extreme views, but rather, points of fact.”
- Interview: Green presidential candidate Natalie Bennett, Zoe Williams, The Guardian (2013)


Bennett had the most media connections of all four candidates and used them to her advantage

Why haven't we seen more cross-party Presidential alliances? (30 Marks) - A Level Politics Exam (2019)
Closer Look, New Statesman Article on UKIP runners and riders
UKIP Primary: Meet the Runners and Riders

Will Nigel Farage run again? And can anyone wrest the crown from him?

By Julia Rampen

With UKIP polling in the late teens is highly likely whoever becomes the party’s Presidential nominee may reach and unprecedented third place, UKIP candidates are lining up to take charge. Here’s some likely contenders.


Nigel Farage
MP for the South East since 1999

Nigel Farage is the charismatic MP most associated with the UKIP brand, popular amongst party activists and MPs alike and the party’s biggest media player, Farage is the bookies favourite
  • Strengths: Media savvy, well known.
  • Weaknesses: His 2009 run was fairly disappointing, his bark is often worse than his bite.

Steven Woolfe
Senator for the North West since 2011

Steven Woolfe, the mixed-race, northern, working-class Senator was viewed by some in the party as the perfect candidate to turn Labour's heartlands purple. An ally of Farage, it's unclear if he’ll run against his boss.
  • Strengths: Great backstory and a strong speaker.
  • Weaknesses: Mixed reputation amongst colleagues in Westminster.

Raheem Kassam
MP for London since 2011

At just 26 years old Kassam has many of the same advantages as Wolfe being young and an ethnic minority, the London MP is seen as the leader of UKIP’s alt-right faction with strong connections to alternative far-right media like Brietbart.
  • Strengths: Young with solid media connections.
  • Weaknesses: Has some unsavoury friends like Tommy Robinson.

Lisa Duffy
MP for Anglia since 2011

The Anglia MP is a senior figure in the “redkip” faction, calling on the party to soften its image and professionalise, although this “softening” might be hurt by her tabling a bill in Parliament to ban the face veil.
  • Strengths: Decent constituency MP, friends in high places.
  • Weaknesses: Virtually unknown outside of Eastern UKIP Circles.

Diane James
South East Cabinet Secretary for Justice since 2011

A loyal lieutenant of Nigel Farage and a Cabinet Member in the South East, if Farage opts not to run James would be an obvious successor. She has a great deal of front-line political experience being one of the only candidates to have run a (regional) Government Department
  • Strengths: Experienced, close to Farage.
  • Weaknesses: No national profile, close to Farage.

Paul Nuttall
UKIP Parliamentary Leader since 2011

Another Farage ally, Nuttall has been instrumental in whipping UKIP’s Westminster caucus into shape since the departure of Malcolm Pearson, possibly the most well known UKIP figure outside of Nigel Farage.
  • Strengths: Solid national profile, leadership experience.
  • Weaknesses: What does he have that Farage doesn’t?

Malcolm Pearson
MP for Scotland since 2005

UKIP’s former Parliamentary Leader, Pearson is still hanging around on the backbenches, He wields influence as one of UKIP’s biggest donors and a focal point for the anti-Islam wing of the party
  • Strengths: Well known, bottomless pockets.
  • Weaknesses: Does UKIP really want a privately educated former Lord on top?

William Legge
Senator for the South West since 2011, former South West Cabinet Secretary for Trade, Investment and Innovation

Another extremely wealthy former Lord, big on trade policy and popular amongst his coastal and rural constituents, although few know of him outside the South West.
  • Strengths: a great deal of money to throw around.
  • Weaknesses: Same problems as Pearson except no-one knows who he is.

Mark Reckless
Senator for the South East since 2007

A former Tory fresh convert, having only crossed the floor to UKIP in 2012. Reckless serves as the ranking opposition member on the Senate’s Home Affairs committee. A leading member of the party’s “Libertarian” faction.
  • Strengths: Over a decade’s experience in the heart of politics, one of the few UKIP Parliamentarians respected across Westminster.
  • Weaknesses: Recent convert, hasn’t gained the trust of the party’s grassroots yet.
- New Statesman, 20th December 2013
Progressive Alliance Primary, Part 2

Adrian Ramsay, Britian's First Green Mayor, briefly considered a bid himself before backing Bennett

"We are also, of course, in the home of Britain’s first Green Mayor. Having made Norwich a living wage council and cut the ratio between the lowest and highest paid staff to near to 10:1, they’ve taken further steps forward. Our Mayor has banned adverts for payday loans on all council-owned billboards and adopted an ethical investment policy. It’s helped attract grant money into the city for improving bus services and £700,000 from the EU to support creative industries. And Norwich has seen its best-ever GCSE results this year. Running things is never easy, and that task is difficult when coupled with the local Tories' obstructionism. But we’re working hard to make sure that very soon, we’ll be facing the same challenges and same opportunities as here in Norwich. And I know that members of the Association of Green Councillors are working to turn more councils green. So when you go to knock on those doors I want you to remember what happens with Greens in power, I want you to remember what you learned here today in Norwich."
- Natalie Bennet Campaign stop in Norwich (2013)

Throughout the early weeks of the primary Bennett took a comfortable lead over her competitors, with much of the Green Party establishment like Caroline Lucas and Adrian Ramsay falling in behind her campaign. She was also the best financed campaign raising several hundreds of thousands of pounds. Her most controversial donation was £100,000 from Julian Dunkerton, the private jet owning millionaire head of Superdry. Nonetheless Bennett remained the candidate to beat.


Bennett Campaign poster in Leeds

However Bennett had one jarring weakness, she was gaffe prone, especially on television. She had improved greatly since coming into the political limelight but many of her staffers were worried a bad debate performance could sink her. Thus for many weeks of the early campaign her staff, led by Communications Director Archie Thomas worked on ensuring she would be as prepared for the debate as possible.

The Progressive Alliance joint committee decided to hold the debate in the city of Wakefield. For many pundits this was seen as an odd choice, Wakefield was not a naturally progressive city, the Greens having gained only 4.3% in the City’s last council elections, barely breaking above the threshold, many argued a more friendly city like Norwich or Aberdeen would be a more suitable venue. However the use of Wakefield was a purposeful gambit by the committee. If it was to become the “UKIP of the left” that many in the Alliance craved, Wakefield was the sort of place the Alliance needed to do better in, a “left-behind” working class Labour city.

“The social alliances that sustained progressive politics for a century are disintegrating. The financial crisis of 2007–8 showed that Labour and its ‘third way’ European followers had got the economics of modern capitalism wrong. With the mainstream left compromised, it has been the nationalist right that has benefited. They re‐defined politics around issues of nation, culture and identity. What is surprising is the number of influential voices across the centre and left of politics who have accepted much of this far‐right analysis. In the Commonwealth all four major parties now accept right-wing rhetoric on immigration and multi-multiculturalism. This is except for the Commonwealth's rising fifth force, the Progressive Alliance.” - Progressive Politics in a Changing World:, Lecture by Jon Bloomfield, University of Birmingham (2013)

Expectations were high for the debate, the race was mostly seen as a battle between Bennett and Salmond, with Ali and Womack as afterthoughts. Whilst Bennett was well known and intelligent, she famously struggled in televised interviews and debates, this was in contrast to Alex Salmond who was well-known as a furious debater who thrived on being the underdog, Bennett knew she had to tread lightly.


Salmond was a tough debater, expectations were high

As the debate started Shahrar Ali was chosen to speak first, as a rank outsider with little name recognition Ali’s first impression was essential. Ali’s campaign was based around accountability and civil liberties. Ali pledged to be the only candidate that would keep the Alliance’s “soul” intact, a subtle dig at Bennett's participation in the cabinet. Ali was also the only candidate to mention the words “socialism” saying “I am a loud and proud eco-socialist”.

Salmond was up next, unsurprisingly his speech focused on independence, attempting to rally the SNP core block vote behind him. “There is one thing that unites this Alliance above all others, that stands us out from the Westminster consensus, that is our commitment to democracy.” Salmond hammered home the cause of allowing nations and regions to hold independence referendums in a characteristically populist speech. He was also the most aggressive toward the nation coalition, being critical of Balls and Howard in equal measure. Salmond had the luxury of not being a member of the coalition and used this to his full advantage.

Bennett had a tough time in the debate as the only cabinet member she wasn’t used to being the least radical person on stage. Bennett emphasised her achievements as Home Secretary such as improving community policing and ending the discriminatory Prevent Programme. Bennett also hailed the coalition’s financial achievements, such as lifting the living wage to a minimum wage and reducing pay inequality for public sector workers .

"In Government we passed laws requiring the public sector to adopt policies aimed at attracting candidates from minority groups. These included proactive efforts to advertise in and reach out to minority communities. As well as providing representative selection panels, and making reasonable adjustments throughout the process to empower minority groups. So when Senator Salmond asks me what we've achieved for the downtrodden in our society I tell him that." - Natalie Bennett, Wakefield Debate (2013)


Bennett furiously defended her record

Amelia Womack also struggled to make an impact on the debate, she ran the most traditionally Green message in the debate, pledging to make the Presidential election a “climate election” with her as the “climate president”. Womack also emphasised her youth, at just 27 years old she spoke for a “forgotten generation of young people” saying that under her leadership the Alliance could bring out an unprecedented number of young people to vote.

As the debate progressed both Womack and Ali tended to be drowned out by barbed exchanges between Salmond and Bennett, Salmond knew a strong performance against Bennett was his only way to win the primary, so he went aggressively after Bennett, especially on the issue of the coalition. He accused her of “getting in bed” with the “austerity-enabling lib dems” and engaging in an “austerity-lite” Government, the only truly anti-austerity candidate was, Salmond argued, himself.

In the end the debate had been a clear victory for Salmond, who had closed the polling gap between him and Bennett from 6% to just 2%. Ali also had a decent night but it was yet to be seen how many “eco-socialist” voters there were in the primary. Whilst Bennett certainly didn't have a great performance, she had managed to avoid any major gaffes and polling still showed her in the leader for the Alliance’s crown. However the raucous exchanges between Salmond and Bennett had put the Alliance into question, some party elites feared it would collapse before it could even nominate someone.

"Progressivism has to give voice to people’s anger with City recklessness and show that there are alternatives. Citizenship is not about voting once every few years but also involves a sustained engagement in all walks of life. This paper argues for the importance of citizen participation. A strong civil society emerges and goes hand in hand with a strong state. The whole spirit of this campaign is pluralist. ‘Ourselves alone’, the old politics of monolithic parties, has had its day. A good society will be constructed from many alliances and interests as well as the continuing importance of class. Flowing from these key themes there are individual policy suggestions in many areas. They are symbolic of the transformational policies we need to build a good society. The world need not be like this. There is an alternative to the 1930s-style deflation on offer from George Osborne and to the nationalism of the right. A progressive alliance can galvanise public anger and tap into human optimism about the potential for a better future. This paper sets out a route map for that." - Building the Good Society (2013) (The Alliance’s founding document)


The Alliance's joint logo

To what extent had the Greens become an “establishment party” by the mid 2010s? (30 Marks) - A Level Politics Exam (2019)
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Are there other parties (particularly smaller ones) interested in joining the Progressive Alliance?
Yes so the National Health Action Party successfully applied for membership but as they have only around 1,000 registered supporters they're unlikely to make a huge difference. Some smaller progressive nationalist parties like Yorkshire First and Mebyon Kernow have also joined but they have too little support to have a noticeable impact on the primary.

A few hard left parties like TUSC and Respect asked to join but they were rejected (the Alliance's leadership don't want to touch them with a barge-pole) so they are making their own radical left alliance, nominating Bob Crow as their Presidential Candidate and George Galloway as his running mate, but unless a lot of MPs suddenly become radical leftists they are unlikely to make it onto the ballot
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Closer Look, Progressive Alliance Wikibox
Progressive Alliance Wikibox.png

The Progressive Alliance was founded in late 2013 by representatives of the Green Parties, SNP and Plaid Cymru in order to nominate a joint candidate for the 2014 Presidential Election. Green Party Senator Jenny Jones currently serves as the Alliance's national chair. The Alliance has no formal whip or disciplinary process but it does require all candidates to sign up to the Alliance's founding document: "Building the Good Society" dubbed by the press the "Hereford Declaration".

Major Party Members (At least one Westminster MP)
  • Green Party of England and Wales
  • Scottish National Party
  • Plaid Cymru
  • Scottish Green Party
Minor Party Members (No national representation)
  • Northern Ireland Green Party
  • National Health Action Party
  • Yorkshire First
  • Merbyon Kernow
  • North East Party
  • Commonwealth Pirate Party
Rejected Applications
  • Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
  • Respect Party
  • Socialist Labour Party
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Why were Respect and Socialist Labour rejected?
Respect was rejected due to its allegations of anti-antisemitism, ties to radical Islamists and Galloway's various misogynistic statements. Socialist Labour was rejected because it refused to sign up to pro-freedom of movement and pro-European articles of the Hereford declaration.

More broadly for the major parties of the Alliance, allowing the radical left in would bring far more trouble than it was worth, apart from a couple of regional MPs they brought no major financial or political incentives, but they would have brought a lot of negative press to the alliance. The right-wing faction of the SNP was particularly weary around collaborating with the radical left
What are George Galloway, Jeremy Corbyn, and Keir Starmer currently doing in this TL? Also, what (if any) significant developments has Mebyon Kernow made since the abolition of the monarchy?
What are George Galloway, Jeremy Corbyn, and Keir Starmer currently doing in this TL? Also, what (if any) significant developments has Mebyon Kernow made since the abolition of the monarchy?
Galloway was a London regional Senator between 2003-2011, he lost his seat in 2011 after Respect fell below the 4% threshold. He is currently a leading member of the "United Left" Presidential Alliance, serving as running mate to the alliance's nominee Bob Crow. The Alliance has no MPs, thus is unlikely to make it on the ballot.

Jeremy Corbyn, like many of the Labour left, became disillusioned from national politics in the early 2000s and thus moved to local politics. He was elected Mayor of Islington in 2004, replacing the retiring Chris Smith. He currently serves as Mayor presiding over a Labour/Green coalition on Islington Council. One of London's "red mayors" alongside figures like Hackney Mayor Dianne Abbott. In 2009 he narrowly avoided losing the Mayoralty to Lib Dem Sarah Ludford, gaining of 53.7% of the vote to Ludford's 46.3% in the final round.

Keir Starmer served as Director of Public Prosecutions between 2007-2013. In November 2013 he announced he would be standing down from that role. There was a small "draft Keir" campaign that wanted to draft him to run for President but this got nowhere. He was good friends with Ed Miliband and supported him the primary. In December then Labour nominee Ed Miliband announced he would be naming Keir Starmer as his Campaign Counsel, providing in house legal and justice advice. There are rumours Starmer will seek a Senate seat in 2015 or be given a Cabinet role in a future Miliband Presidency. Starmer has said he is "considering a number of options".

Merbyn Kernow has made no major developments since the republic, they have failed to break into the South West Parliament as that would require them breaking the 4% threshold. The closest they got was 3% in the Cornwall constituency in 2011. They currently have 9 councillors on Cornwall County Council
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Progressive Alliance Primary, Part 3

As the primary entered its final days Salmond was quickly closing in on Bennett in the polls

“As ever, we look first to the polls. There has been slight movement to Salmond, but no side has pulled ahead and due to the margin of error anyone could take the lead. The mood amongst the candidates this week has been buoyant, except for Ali who has seen a further squeeze on his vote. Salmond has been boosted by a series of positive polls which puts him ahead of Bennett in the poll of polls. On top of this Lord Ashcroft’s polls of marginal seats have shown that Salmond is pulling away from the crowd on the issues that matter. But polling shows 10% more registered supporters are receiving material from Bennett than Salmond. With the polls so tight, this could cost Salmond the election. Last week’s debate did not move the polls, so next week we are looking to the launch of the main candidate's manifestos. Will these give the candidates the spurt they need to draw ahead, or will this campaign be remembered for both candidates staying neck and neck.”
- Progressive Alliance Poll of Polls, FHF London, (2013)

As the primary reached its final days, polls increasingly showed Bennett and Salmond neck and neck. The campaign became increasingly bitter in the last few days. The biggest clash came just before polling day, when the three green candidates, in a joint statement led by Bennett, attacked Salmond for his support of oil drilling in the north sea. Salmond countered that the three “London politicians” were “ganging up on him”. Relations in the Alliance became increasingly tense, and behind the scenes figures like Patrick Harvie had to work overtime to try and hold the coalition together.

The Alliance also faced annoyances from its minor constituent parties, both Merbyn Kernow and Yorkshire First complained that both Scotland and Wales had been given written commitments to an independence referendum in the Hereford declaration, but Cornwall and Yorkshire hadn’t. Further to this the left-wing caucus of the Greens and SNP had submitted complaints that far left parties such as the TUSC and Left Unity had been rejected from joining the Alliance. Bundling a dozen different small parties into one Alliance was increasingly looking like a bad idea.


Whoever the primary's victor, they would struggle to hold the dysfunctional coalition together

“The Alliance recognises it's increased influence on the trade union movement and welcomes the intentions of motion C13 passed at the TUC in 2013, proposed by UNITE and seconded by USDAW. The motion opposed benefits cuts, sanctions and the system of Universal Credit. The Alliance believes that the TUC should acknowledge Universal Basic Income and argue for a progressive system. This would be easier to administer and easier for people to navigate. These principles should always leave citizens better off.’ This conference calls upon Progressive politicians to work with trade unions to make Universal Basic Income a reality.
” - A motion proposed to the conference by left wing delegates from Hackney Green Party (2013)

The press greatly enjoyed the clashes between the Alliance’s constituent parties, and the “generic Alliance candidate” fell to just 6% in the polls, down from a high of 9%. The Daily Mail in particular had an axe to grind against the Greens, publishing articles such as “Lunacy of the town that turned green: A ban on bacon butties. Traffic-calming sheep. Transgender toilets. Sounds like a send-up? In fact, it's the all-too-real story of how Britain's loopiest party took over Norwich”. Whilst the Mail’s attacks were exaggerated at best and fictitious at worse, many in the Alliance took solace in the fact they were considered big enough to be worth attacking.


Both Lucas and Bennett had been repeatedly targeted by the right wing press during their time in Government

As the Alliance’s supporters and leaders arrived at Birmingham Conservatoire for the conference, tension was high and the atmosphere was electric, for the Alliance’s staffers the name of the game became unity, with various joint speeches and fringe events across the long weekend to demonstrate the strength of the Alliance. Party activists were encouraged to join together and mingle, with a generous bar tab for the Young Progressive’s karaoke night. The conference went well with a hopeful atmosphere in an event that combined music, culture and politics in a European style spectacle.

As the Alliance’s national chair Jenny Jones rose to announce the result of an unprecedented multi-party primary the Alliance saw a great deal of media attention, even foreign news teams like CNN were watching the event. In her speech Jones said the fact that the myriad different parties were all sitting together, taking part in the democratic process, proved the campaign had been a success. With that she announced the vote tallies.

“Politics isn't about being in power for the sake of being in power. It isn't about sucking up to big business and powerful media moguls in order to drive about in a fancy ministerial car. Politics is about real change. Up and down our country we Progressives are delivering real change. From Truro to Inverness we Progressives are making waves. We need to understand just how incredible our Alliance is and how ambitious our commitments are. Zero carbon by 2030, clean air as a human right, stopping all unnecessary single use plastic by 2025, all new housing being zero carbon and 30,000 hectares of new forest a year. We here are proof that politics can change. We here are proof different people and parties can work together for the common good. And no matter the results of this primary we can all be proud that together we had changed politics for the better. Now without further ado I Jenny Jones, Chairwoman of the National Council for a Progressive Alliance do hereby declare…” - Jenny Jones speech to Progressive Conference (2013)

2013 Progressive Alliance Presidential Primary.png

Bennet had won, but the result was close, as expected Salmond had rallied the civic nationalist block behind him, whilst the Green vote had been split three ways. However as Ali and Womack were eliminated the majority of their preferences shifted to Bennett. Ultimately Bennett had the money and media clout to win the primary, the fact Salmond had come so close to unseating her was an embarrassment, but the primary was over. Now Bennett had to bring her fledgling Alliance back together.

Bennett’s speech emphasised a change message, calling on the electorate to vote with their hearts, saying “the only wasted vote, is a vote you don’t believe in.” Bennett was conciliatory, thanking “Alex, Amelia and Shahrar for all your hard work”. Bennett set out radical commitments for her Presidency, including carbon neutrality by 2030, a Scottish and Welsh independence referendum, and the scrapping of nuclear weapons. Bennett pledged the Alliance would “stand up for the common good”.

Now came the issue of selecting a running mate. Bennett’s team wanted her to pick a non-green in order to bring the Alliance together, preferably a political outsider to act as the “conscious” to the establishment Bennett. Salmond was the obvious choice of a unity candidate, but many Alliance figures worried about how he would function playing second fiddle. Salmond famously had both an ego and a temper and the primary had been bruising for Bennett and Salmond’s relationship.

Another option could be Nicola Sturgeon. The SNP’s second most senior figure, however she dismissed this out of hand, wanting to focus on her campaign to become Premier of Scotland in 2014. Other senior SNP figures approached like Gordon Wilson and Keith Brown turned Bennett down out of loyalty to Salmond. There were some discussions of picking a Plaid figure like Leanne Wood or Ieuan Jones but in the end it was decided that for the Alliance to survive Bennett’s running mate needed to be from the SNP. With all her options exhausted Bennett selected Alex Salmond as her potential Vice President and with gritted teeth Salmond accepted.

The Alliance knew it was unlikely Bennett would become President, but a strong campaign could boost Alliance candidates in local races across the county. Especially in cities like Bristol, Brighton, Aberdeen and Norwich. In these university cities the Alliance could fill the left wing “gap in the market” and could establish themselves as a true political force, they had proven themselves in Government, now it was time to paint the country yellow and green.

“The Greens' registered supporters demographics have changed significantly since 2009. Whereas there is gender parity amongst the pre-2009 cohort of Greens, two-thirds of those who joined after 2009 were male. Gender parity was restored during the formation of the Alliance, with 45% of post-Alliance supporters being women. In this sense, the Green Surge shares similarities with the SNP’s and Labour’s support surges. These were more or less gender-equal phenomena and a far cry from the erstwhile male domination of British political parties. The Alliance also broadened the number of non-graduate registered supporters. Only 58% of the new post-Alliance supporters were university graduates. While only 30% of the pre-2009 cohort belonged to lower social classes, 37 per cent of the Alliance surgers belonged to lower social groups. Thus, although new members have not driven the Greens further to the left, the party seems to have attracted a more balanced profile of members.” - The Progressive Alliance and how it changed constituent party membership, lecture by Monica Poletti, LSE (2013)


The Alliance hoped to cement itself as the "UKIP of the left"

The Progressive Alliance did more harm than good for its constituent parties”, discuss. (30 Marks) - A Level History Exam (2019)
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Closer Look, Minor Presidential Campaigns and Alliances
This is a list of candidates and Alliances who are unlikely to make the Presidential ballot.

Minor Alliances

National Alliance (18 Nominations)
National Alliance.png

United Left (0 Nominations)
United Left Alliance.png

Minor Party Campaigns
- Andrew Brons, Senator for Yorkshire, British Democratic Party (11 Nominations)
- Howling Laud Hope, Political Satirist, Monster Raving Loony Party (0 Nominations)
- Robert Griffiths, Activist, Communist Party (0 Nominations)

Independent Campaigns
- Siobhan Benita, former civil servant (0 Nominations)
- Martin Bell, former East Anglia State Senator (0 Nominations)
- Esther Rantzen, Journalist (0 Nominations)
- Lynn Wood, TV Presenter (0 Nominations)