Dave Anderson, the Shadow Scottish Secretary, ventured north last week. Given the decline of the Labour Party in Scotland and its disarray in the UK, it was largely unheralded. His visit was shunned by the leadership of the party in Scotland and his comments attacked by them. However, his calls for consideration of a Progressive Alliance to defeat the Tories at the next UK General Election are sensible and deserve wider support both within his own party and beyond.

He’s not the first to make such comments. They echo calls made by the radical journalist Paul Mason and Neal Lawson of the left Labour group Compass, both of whom made calls for not just Labour and SNP to co-operate but also the Greens, Plaid Cymru and even the Liberals. And why not?

The Brexit vote has changed the political landscape. The most right wing administration in generations is now in charge. The plight of the poor and the vulnerable is only going to worsen. The privatisation agenda and other actions to undermine the welfare state will accelerate. Action is needed to protect those in most need and to offer hope for so many more.

An alliance doesn’t equate with an amalgamation or even a coalition. It’s simply an agreement to defeat the Tories and deliver some shared objectives. Some of those objectives have been outlined by advocates. An end to enforced austerity, abandonment of Trident, proportional representation, the right of the Scottish Parliament to call a referendum. There could and should be more, as other areas offer common cause. Hardly revolutionary but certainly progressive.

Whether the election is in 2020 or before the likelihood is of a Tory victory. That could see the Tories in power for decades. A disaster for all those potentially progressive parties and misery for many millions of ordinary citizens across the entire UK.

The Tories are hopelessly divided over Europe. Those with no plan have won and those who opposed Brexit are leaving them to sink or swim. The trouble is that they will take us down with them. If the opposition remain hopelessly divided they‘ll win and comfortably so.

England may be a more conservative than Scotland in some, though not all, ways but its most certainly not a naturally Tory country. The Tories win on a very limited share of the vote and more so because many decline to vote for anodyne alternatives. If there can be cross party co-operation and the mobilisation of those with most to gain from their defeat, then change can happen.

Scottish politics has been transformed by the galvanisation of many who had either never voted or not done so for years during the Independence Referendum. Their votes saw Labour swept aside in the following elections. They were galvanised to vote by hope for a better future and in 2015 to punish Labour for their treachery.

The tragedy in England has been that equivalent was in the EU referendum where they were galvanised not by hope but by fear. They vented their anger on the political elites of both left and right who had deserted them and raged against immigration which they saw as a threat, if not the cause of their woe.

They sadly are the ones who will pay the heaviest price for the outcome they helped deliver. However, if they can be re-energised by a progressive alliance offering tangible change and clear benefits, they can turn the Tories out down south. After all, in housing schemes in Scotland it was the getting rid of the Tories not just once but for ever argument that resonated. Huge swathes of England must be equally receptive. Ukip has prospered as a radical offer from the right in the absence of a radical alternative from the left, when the status quo has failed.

Some in the SNP rebuffed early overtures stating it had been offered in 2010 and rejected. But it hadn’t. The Tories had played on English fears, promoted by the SNP, of making Labour dance to a Scottish tune. But, this would be an alliance not a dictat, and with mutual benefit. Moreover, winning 56 seats once again will be hard and, in the absence of an early second independence referendum, protecting Scotland requires it.

Its rejection by the current leadership of Scottish Labour simply shows their narrow political sectarianism, as well as their irrelevancy. The First Minister has seen the benefit of working with the Labour Mayor of London, the UK capital being a clear example of a positive programme delivering electoral victory across ethnic and other boundaries. A Progressive Alliance could build on that cooperation and offer radical change both sides of the Border.