European-style consensus politics is needed to remove Boris Johnson

PUBLISHED: 14:34 20 June 2020 | UPDATED: 16:57 20 June 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson joins a socially distanced lesson during a visit to Bovingdon Primary School. Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA Wire.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson joins a socially distanced lesson during a visit to Bovingdon Primary School. Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA Wire.

Readers have their say on what needs to happen to change politics at the next general election.

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Andrew Adonis is quite right that we need an electoral pact in 2024 to rid ourselves of these directionless extremists (“The crucial contest”, TNE #198), but I would suggest he doesn’t go far enough.

What is needed is a grand democratic coalition between all the opposition parties to only field the single strongest candidate in each constituency with the sole aim of winning a majority that would enact the best pre-agreed form of proportional representation available.

This would be followed immediately after by a second general election with voting under the new PR system, at which all parties could pursue their individual policies secure in the knowledge that they would get fair representation in the new (and hopefully semi-circular) chamber.

The electoral landscape would have been changed forever and we could finally say goodbye to first-past-the-post and hello to European-style consensus politics.


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If Tony Blair had carried through his 1997 manifesto commitment on PR we would not be in this dire state today.

Robert Smith, Totnes

Andrew Adonis’ enlightening article hit on a very important note. I’m a Liberal Democrat member of four years who, as a pragmatist, desperately wants Keir Starmer to be the next prime minister. The vast majority of Lib Dems I know massively prefer Starmer to Johnson.

It will be incumbent on the next Lib Dem leader, therefore, to start working with Labour forthwith. Good relations should be fostered between the two parties of the centre-left, thus opening the gates for Labour to stand down in the three dozen or more seats the Lib Dems compete with the Tories for.

The Lib Dems should also, of course, stand down in Labour/Conservative marginal seats. This will be a crucial step in the mission to wrench power away from the Tory regime this country has suffered for far too long.

Sebastian Monblat, Sutton

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There are some points Zoe Williams overlooked in “Why did it all go right?”, (TNE #198). From a Labour perspective, things went wrong when Ed Miliband defeated his brother David – decisive, pragmatic, everything Ed wasn’t – to succeed Gordon Brown. Then Labour lurched to the far left and the unelectable Jeremy Corbyn.

After years of success, the Lib Dems blew it in 2010 by going into coalition with the Tories, who hoodwinked them.

Then we come to 2019, when the Lib Dem comeback was stalled by Jo Swinson, inexperienced and naive, who managed even to upset Remainers by wishing to revoke Article 50.

Is hoping that Keir Starmer and Ed Davey can work loosely together with an unwritten agreement on how to improve our society just wishful thinking?

Mick Nice, Leicester

I take Zoe Williams’ point that the Conservatives hoodwinked us into believing they would dismantle the burning injustices in this country. Well, we know how well that went.

Williams is correct too that the coalition felt like a kinder, gentler government but despite the Lib Dems putting the brakes on many draconian policies, austerity was the only game in town and seemingly a political choice.

Though the current chancellor is now spending billions on support for businesses and their employees, watch this space to make sure austerity does not raise its head again.

Judith A Daniels, Great Yarmouth

• Have your say by emailing theneweuropean@archant.co.uk. Our deadline for letters is Tuesday at 9am for inclusion in Thursday’s edition. Please be concise - letters over five paragraphs long may be edited before printing.

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