Open Letter for A Loughborough Progressive Alliance

Open Letter for A Loughborough Progressive Alliance


Jewel Miah, Labour Candidate
David Walker, Liberal Democrats


Dear Jewel and David,

Tonight I was selected as the Loughborough Green Party candidate for the 2017 General Election.

However, in a departure from normal politics, I and local activists of the party have declared a willingness to withdraw my formal nomination if progressive left-of-centre parties can agree to get behind the most likely challenger to the Conservative candidate, Nicky Morgan. In all fairness this is likely to be Jewel, even though we know it will be an uphill struggle regardless.

The caveat for this withdrawal is that a progressive candidate is one who:

Supports a change to our voting system to deliver true and fair representation of the people such that all parties are represented according to the proportion of votes they receive, and who will advocate for and campaign actively in favour of such a reform both within Parliament and wider society.

Jewel has already endorsed PR in principle, and I am sure you do too, David.

Secondary caveats are:

a) Will support policies which keep our public services fully accountable to the electorate at local and national levels, with an end to the ideologically driven sale of our national assets to international corporations and foreign governments.

b) Is fully committed to the Climate Change Act, a ban on fracking, and creating a million or more professional jobs by transitioning to cleaner and more efficient energy systems, and ending the air pollution crisis in our towns and cities.

c) Is committed to ending income inequality, through measures not based solely on equality of opportunity, but with a focus on equality of outcomes. This means an end to the war on the poor through austerity and punitive workfare, and an immediate end to measures which deprive people of the dignity of enough to live on without depending on foodbanks.

d) Will end the attack on young people’s futures with a restoration of all benefits entitlements, including the Education Maintenance Allowance, a return to free tuition instead of ever-increasing student loans, and the removal of restrictions on Housing Benefit for under-25s.

The Greens have well-developed solutions to many of these issues, but recognise that the left-of-centre parties also have their own ideas; we have, as a party, consistently said we do not have a monopoly on good ideas. A more deliberative and democratic politics facilitated by democratic reform of our election system will, we believe, deliver better, longer-term solutions to the many difficult challenges we face. From the local WI, to the Parish Council, local authority, and in small enterprises, large corporations, and government, the maxim “better decisions are made when more people are involved” is self-evident and widely supported.

The Liberal Democrats are urging us to vote “to change Britain’s future”, Labour want us to vote “for the many, not the few”, and Greens advocate voting “for the common good” and “standing up for what matters”.

In contrast to these collective approaches for more democracy, the Tories argue only for “Strong and Stable Government”. This appeal, to be given the authority to act from strength, can only mean a further slide towards a more authoritarian politics, where the people can no longer have the freedoms to build their own preferred lives, and build strong resilient communities, as they see appropriate to create a good life and good society for us all. They are forced to succumb to a Conservative dogma of the free market over the rights of the individual and community, with dire consequences for the material, spiritual and mental wellbeing of our people and a disaster for our environment and the species we share it with.

Definitely not for the common good; definitely for the few, not the many; and definitely not the future our people are looking for. We are in difficult times. This election is a ground-breaker that will, as Caroline Lucas has said, be more than a change for the next 5 years, but for a generation.

The only way of unseating Nicky Morgan is to work together and pool our votes and explain to the electorate what we are doing. We recognise that it will be nigh on impossible for you to withdraw, but of you make a public declaration of support, we will have enough to work with to urge voters to get behind Jewel.

To this end, let’s get together to see how we can make a change for the common good, and for the many, for a better future for our country, to begin to build the progressive alliance, and create a local exemplar of just what we need to do to take back our country. Let us show some courage, and leadership. Others are doing this too :

Kind Regards

Dr Philip Leicester

Loughborough GP

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No Friday Room tomorrow (5 May)

This update is to confirm that we will not hold a meeting in our usual first-Friday-of-the-month slot tomorrow (5 May), due to today’s local elections having their count then, and to the snap general election diverting much attention recently.

We had planned to discuss “The Gig Economy and Basic Income” soon, and this will now be postponed until later in the summer once the general election results are known.

There may be an extraordinary meeting (or even a hustings) on the general election later this month: watch this space!

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General Election June 2017 – What should progressives do?

Extraordinary Friday Room Meeting tonight (21 April)
7:30 Start Unity House

Open meeting for all



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What defines the LibDems?

Friday 7th April, 7:30pm, Unity House, Fennel Street, Loughborough

To be introduced by David Walker

David says:

Politically I was a Labour supporter until 1981 when the Labour party lost its way and the Social Democrat party showed that Labour was no longer a party that they could support. Roy Jenkins and Shirley Williams articulated a form of Democratic Socialism that made sense, and I was a founder member, and supported the move to join with the Liberals. Defining issues for me were the hard left’s rejection of the European Union and infiltration of Trotskyists under the leadership of Tony Benn. This does ring bells now and explains why so many Labour members are joining the Lib Dems. I have been leader of the Lib Dem Group on Charnwood Borough Council, and am leader of the local party.

I supported and argued the case for a policy clause at the recent Lib Dem
Conference that would withdraw state funding from all schools that were
not subject to democratic control

Liberal Democrats support the Social Market Economy within the framework of a representative democracy.

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SUFFRAGETTE – Film Screening



To celebrate International Women’s Day there will be a screening of ‘Suffragette’ at Unity House, 21 Fennel Street, on Saturday the 11th March at 2pm, followed by a discussion on the Suffrage movement in Loughborough. Tickets £3 (£2.50 concessions), refreshments available from 50p. Places are limited, so booking is essential! Contact Gill Bolton to book:



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Is Money the Root of All Evil?

Friday 3rd March, 7:30pm, Unity House, Fennel Street, Loughborough

Discussion to be introduced by Ann Bywater

Why does money always trickle upwards, ensuring that the gap between rich and poor gets bigger and bigger?  Can we reform our debt-based banking system to prevent this from happening?  Or can we envisage a world without reliance upon money at all?

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Mistaken Identities – Kwame Anthony Appiah

Kwame Anthony Appiah says ‘race does nothing for us’. Photograph: BBC

Kwame Anthony Appiah says ‘race does nothing for us’. Photograph: BBC

Friday 3rd February, 7:30pm, Unity House, Fennel Street, Loughborough

This Friday Room discussion meeting considers content of the four 2016 Rieth lectures, given by philosopher and cultural theorist Kwame Anthony Appiah, on the subject of creed, colour, country and culture.

Appiah argues that there is no such thing as western civilisation: “The values of liberty, tolerance and rational inquiry are not the birthright of a single culture. In fact, the very notion of something called ‘western culture’ is a modern invention”. He concludes the idea of “Western civilization” is a mistaken one, and that we should abandon it.

The debate is very relevant contempory politics. Some on the left have suggested there has been too much emphasis on identity politics – really? And deconstructing religion, ethnicity, nationality and culture might give insight as to how we perhaps could deal with the ascendency of the (far) right, and its attendent racism, nationalism, cutlural exceptionalism and relgious intolerance, in our day to day interactions?

You will benefit from a wee bit of preparation. A short summary is available in this Guardian long read article by Kwame Anthony Appiah. Hannah Ellis-Petersen discusses the relevance of the lectures to contempory politics in the Guardian here.

For those with more time, you can listen to podcasts each 1 hour long on the BBC (

You can also download all 75 pages of the 4 transcripts here 2016_reith1-4_appiah_mistaken_identies



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