In an article in the Guardian on Monday our Batley and Spen MP, Kim Leadbeater (Labour), referred to her murdered sister's well publicised theme; "We have far more in common than that which divides us."
I'm pleased that the "in common" tendency in the Labour Party is alive and well, but regret that it doesn't as yet seem to permeate the majority of the party, still less the party managers.
At our Batley and Spen Liberal Democrat AGM last week our guest speaker was a friend of long standing, Baroness (Angie) Harris of Richmond, She described in detail the efforts being made in the House of Lords to modify the damage to such building blocks of our democracy as our right to protest, some people's right to vote, the modest improvements made so far in our electoral system (second preference votes for Police and Crime commissioners), and claimed, more in sorrow than in anger that, "the Labour Party rarely* supports our amendment, though they expect us to support all theirs."
This is an unfortunate feature of our modern Labour Party: that good ideas are only good if they come from the Labour Party itself How different from the Labour Party of Clement Attlee's day, which eagerly seized on and implemented the social security policies of Liberal William Beveridge and the macro-economic management policies of Liberal John Maynard Keynes.
Two examples of this "we have the monopoly of good ideas" tendency are evident in Labour's behaviour during the 2010-15 Coalition.
Labour had in their manifesto proposed the Alternative Vote (AV) to make the electoral system more representative. As part of the Coalition Negotiations the Liberal Democrats obtained the right to hold a referendum on the reform of the electoral system. Although AV is not the preferred reform for most Liberal Democrats, not wanting to let the best to get in the way of the possible, we chose AV for the Referendum, in the expectation of Labour's support.
We didn't get it. Their leader Ed Miliband was in favour but the party would not campaign for it, the Tories used their media muscle to oppose itand the referendum was defeated.
It is perfectly possible that, with AV in place, David Cameron would not have won a majority in 2015, and almost certain that the Tories would not have the majority of 80 which, despite their incompetence, will keep them in power for at least another two years.
Similarly the Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Negotiations obtained the right to propose a reform of the House of Lords. Again,it wasn't perfect. Again, the Labour Party, although vaguely in favour, refused to vote for the parliamentary time necessary to debate the bill. Had it been passed it would have been impossible for Mr Johnson to add to an already inflated House 82 new peers, which include his brother, Lord Frost, and 13 former Tory Treasures who had each contributed at least £3m to party founds.
Not only wilt they now be law makers for life:they'll now each receive £310 for every day they sign the attendance register (Unemployment benefit is £71.70 a week)
All is not lost. I forget who it was, but a commentator recently speculated that, whatever their parties' hard liners thank, Ed Davey and Kier Starmer seem to have an understanding that they will not ostentatiously campaign in those seats where the other has a better chance of winning.
Personally I would like to see the Liberal Democrats, Labour , the Greens, the Nationalists and anyone else remotely progressive form a grown up alliance for one election only to introduce proportional representation by single transferable vote in multi-member constituencies.
Sadly our democracy does not yet seem to be mature enough for this adult approach so, not letting the best get in the way of the possible, will the die-hards in all these parties please recognise that we really do have "far more in common than that which divides us." Otherwise we are lumbered with the likes of the shambles of the present incompetent corrupt short-termist self-aggrandisers for decades to come.
* She may have said "never," I'm relying on memory.