In history, there are moments where accidental coalitions are formed.
In the face of adversity, groups with wholly different aims and goals can come together to defeat a common opponent. The ancient proverb “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”, first uttered by ancient Indian Kautilya in the 4th Century BC is maybe a bit severe to describe a pact between the three clear remain parties (The Liberal Democrats, Greens and Plaid Cymru), but perhaps represents just how little they have in common, uniting in defiance of Brexit.
perhaps such a compromise is even more extraordinary when the circumstances are hardly election defining
The Greens or Plaid Cymru would simply never consider going into coalition with the Conservatives, something the Liberal Democrats were still involved in less than five years ago. The Lib Dems and Greens are firmly opposed to Welsh independence, the founding principal of Plaid, and the Lib Dems and Plaid wouldn’t dream of committing to the spending, and regulation of the Green Party’s economic and environmental strategy.
Yet the belief that there is still an opportunity to stop Britain heading for Brexit has motivated an unlikely deal between the three. Without Labour, its impacts will be unlikely to yield too many more than 20 remain seats, yet perhaps such a compromise is even more extraordinary when the circumstances are hardly election defining.
The Brexit Party’s decision to unilaterally stand aside in 317 Tory held seats, 20 of which the Lib Dems would have targeted, many more Labour would have had their sights on, will surely have more of an impact? Should the Tories hold onto those, and pick up a handful of seats, Boris Johnson’s deal will get through and we will leave the European Union on the 31st January.
But it is the fact that these three parties have made the first steps towards the politics of unity and compromise that can foster feelings of hope for the future of this country.
In 2015, the farce that was the General Election saw five progressive parties take chunks out of each other, both in their criticism and vote share, allowing the Conservatives to snatch an unlikely majority and trigger the referendum that would leave Britain in four years of political turmoil.
Putting aside their differences however, they have given hope to many remain candidates, and laid the foundations for more deals like this in the future, as first past the post becomes easier and easier for our parties to exploit as it becomes a multi-party system.
When Hitler was on the brink of defeat in February 1945, the three leaders of the UK, USA and USSR met to discuss how to re-build the world after World War Two.
Unite to Remain is a ray of hope that parties can stop the tribal politics of the past to try and find common ground
The differences between their three beliefs of governance were extreme. The United States believing in their system of three-branched, democratic republicanism, the United Kingdom believing in their system of imperialist, monarchist governance of the World, and the Soviet Union believing in complete state ownership in a communist dictatorship.
Though they remained suspicious of one another till the British and Soviet Empires collapsed in the 1960s and late 1980s respectively, there was a respect and tendency towards discussion that simply hadn’t been there prior to the War.
As the modern-day UK moves inevitably closer to a sensible voting system, away from the chaotic First-past-the-post, Unite to Remain is a ray of hope that parties can stop the tribal politics of the past to try and find common ground, allowing them to compromise and create sensible policy.
The differences between the three parties involved are vastly less extreme than those involved in Yalta 75 years ago, but parallels between the inability to compromise that existed in the international system at that time and our own political system now are easy to draw.
We are a long way from the Conservatives and Labour being able to cut through their own divisions, but hopefully Unite to Remain can lay the foundations for a future of political compromise.