Wednesday 11 December 2019

Tactical Voting or Tactless Wasted Votes...

Unite to Remain is a collaborative Tactical Voting scheme for one or more candidates to stand down in a marginal seat held by a Tory in the last parliament. Practically this has come down to a relative handful of Green, Plaid Cymru and Lib Dem candidates that could represent one another solo. Agreement by the relevant parties in advance is then subject to a process of negotiation and sanctioned by the respective party’s head offices. It is not something a candidate would decide unilaterally.

The Labour Party have NOT joined forces with Unite to Remain and exclusively insist that Tactical Voting is where other candidates should all stand down for Labour exclusively, almost regardless of the potential for an alternative party to gain a seat from the Tories. In some constituencies (for example the Isle of Wight) Labour not standing aside for the Green Party candidate will most likely result in a Tory being re-elected, potentially affecting the final majority in the House of Commons.

The downside is that it takes away the democratic opportunity to vote for your own party if your candidate has been stood down. Furthermore, if ALL non Labour / Tory candidates stood down in a particular constituency to strengthen Labour’s chances then everyone voting would effectively be endorsing and maintaining the tired old First Past the Post and Two Party systems.

Boundaries and Absolutes

When, along with everyone else, I consider a political party’s manifesto (and claims) I will discover typically around 95% of the policies I am very content with and the remainder not so much. So I categorise the ‘tricky 5%’ of policies into Boundaries and Absolutes.

A Boundary I would be prepared to move or step across. An Absolute is a line I simply would not cross. My prime example of an Absolute is Nuclear Weapons. I would not vote for any party that supports use of nuclear weapons or the renewal of the Trident program. Therefore, in England, I can only vote for the Green Party. In Scotland and Wales I would have the possibility of supporting another party should Tactical Voting be a path for the greater good.

The expression “hold your nose and vote (tactically)” is being bandied about at the moment. In all conscience I and, I suspect, many more Green Party members, simply cannot do this.

Bigger Picture

The Two Party system of Right versus Left has been in place for many years. Labour claim, with some justification, that they are the only party (other than the Tories) that could achieve an overall majority. Because of the polarised differences between these two main parties it is unusual for voters to transfer their loyalty.

As a candidate, it is quite clear that the Green Party (and the Lib Dems, but for a different reason) have been receiving votes from disaffected Tories. This presents a different scenario to trying to simply increase one’s own party’s votes. Where the Green Party hoovers up these votes it effectively diminishes the Tory vote in the constituency that the Green Party candidate may well have already been pressured to stand down. It is clear this is happening in a number of constituencies. Pulling the Green Party candidate out, ironically, then serves to increase the Tory vote and therefore reduces the chance of the Labour (or Lib Dem) candidate winning that seat.

Overall, it must be said that in both safe and relatively safe seats voting tactically instead of voting for the Green candidate is not only a wasted vote it also undermines the principle of true democracy and the quest for real change. It also hurts financially, not only in diminishing the chances of saving deposits but also in reducing the ‘Short Money’ that all parties considered to be in opposition receive in proportion to the number of votes they receive.

Vote Green, If Not Now, When?