he Labour Party’s mistake is to think that, when it talks to itself, the voters aren’t listening. Every time it loses, it starts talking about changing the voting system and doing deals with other parties. What the voters hear is that the party is a bad loser and wants to change the rules.
Other than that, a “progressive alliance” is a great idea. Polly Toynbee, the grandee of Lib-Labbery, has called for Labour and the Greens to stand down in favour of Sarah Green, the Lib Dem candidate, in the Chesham and Amersham by-election, likely to be on 17 June.
The Conservatives won 55 per cent of the vote in the general election but, says Toynbee, many of those voters were “Tories who only stayed loyal for fear of Jeremy Corbyn”. The arithmetic is credible in a constituency where a majority voted to Remain in the EU referendum – but it relies on a mood in the country against the government, a mood that looks on by-elections as a chance to make a protest.