Compass, the good society pressure group, has existed since 2003. It started as essentially a Labour-focused organization, but over time we found there were those within Labour we disagreed within, and those outside Labour who we agreed with.
At our 2010 conference, in front of 750 people Caroline Lucas, Green Party Leader, made an electric speech about the future of progressive politics.
A member of the audience got up and said "I’m a member of the Green Party, I vote Labour and I work with Liberal Democrats". In that moment, we understood our future.
Over the next year our members debated a rule change that said it didn’t matter what party you belonged to as long as you backed our good society values of equality, democracy and sustainability – then you were in. In 2011 the members voted through a rule change to that effect.
Compass was building the foundations for the Progressive Alliance. All of a sudden, many Greens in particular began joining Compass, and we began to see much more of the political landscape – we called it politics in three dimensions.
Our Management Committee, elected by our members, now has people from Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the Greens, the SNP and Plaid Cymru. We also work with the Women’s Equality Party and others like the Nation Health Action Party.
The Brexit vote crystalized the need for a Progressive Alliance. Straight after the vote we booked a hall for 300 to discuss what it meant. Within an hour it was sold out. We ended up in a hall for over 1000 - and could have filled that three times over. People wanted a progressive alliance to halt the lurch to the right.
Compass continues to be the ideas source for many progressive alliance ideas and thinking. We hope to be the processor of a new politics where the Progressive Alliance is the interface – the bit where thousands - and then millions - of people can get involved.
Together we want Compass, the Progressive Alliance and a whole ecosystem of people, parties and organizations to work together to build a good society.
The journey towards a better future has started - there is no going back.