22 Apr 2014

Tactical Voting

Tactical voting is the miserable business of giving your vote to someone you don’t really like, but on the whole find less objectionable than someone you fear might otherwise win. If you’re feeling the pressure to vote tactically, it probably doesn’t leave you inspired about local politics or feeling too good about your democratic rights and powers. What is the point, when all you can do is pick between a mouldy apple and an off banana?

The idea of tactical voting upholds the notion that really anything other than the two main parties is a wasted vote. I was having this argument with my Gran twenty years ago, and little has changed. The two decaying fruit options have got so suspect that it’s hard to tell which unpleasant sludge is which, to take that metaphor just a little further. There are some differences between their policies and you might find one less repellent than the other, but most of their underlying concepts are the same.

Vote for the main parties and either way you’re voting for the same fundamental attitude to money. The same ideas about what money is and how it works. Ideas the Bank of England has questioned. Labour didn’t sort out the bankers when they had the chance, the Tories won’t either. Public ownership of the banks, and a fairer, more egalitarian attitude to money isn’t available in either shade. Go over every policy area and you’ll find that most of the time, the two main parties are taking about doing more or less of pretty much the same things.

If, on looking about you, your impression is that all is just fabulous and that more or less of the same thing is going to be fine, then I’m probably not going to persuade you. If, however, you’re a bit worried about the future, the carbon based economy, the cost of living, the state of democracy, unemployment, banking, quality of life, your children’s prospects... then that absence of radical thinking might just trouble you. Exactly how tactical is it to be voting for the party you find slightly less alarming than the other party? If you want real change, you’re going to have to vote for it.

If you’re not sure who might best represent your real views and preferences, have a look at this site, which can asses you based on how you respond to different policies, and might give you an idea of how to vote. Or if you happen to appreciate mouldy fruit, by all means, stay with what you know.


Anonymous said...

just been reading and thinking about stuff, and yea, we do need an alternative, but is the choice really between a mouldy apple and an off banana?
Maybe it is more between an off, but edible banana, and a potato which has turned to stinking slime...
Labour are limited in how radical they can be, by the wealth controlled, right-wing press.
Are you sure that the Greens would be under any less constraint? Are you sure you could be in government while the right-wing press rip you to shreds, day to day?
Because that is what Labour would have to deal with when and if they try to be more radical.
At the moment the right-wing press don't see the Greens as much of a threat, so the Greens can say what they want.
If we end up with one Labour MP short of a Lib-Lab coalition,then maybe it is five more years of Cameron selling off the NHS to his US buddies...more power slipping away from the real people. More lies in the press.
Anyway you have probably made me want to vote green in these coming up elections, but I will most likely vote for Drew next year...
AT least he is a vegetarian.
If people think about how they see animals in the food chain that leads to their plate, maybe they could see how the rich see the working class; the poor. Those enslaved dairy cows, and their dead calves.
But maybe the right-wing press see vegetarianism as a threat, partly for this reason..?

Anonymous said...

It is Labour who started the privatisation of the health service and tried to go where Thatcher would not dare....unless we have more Green voices then there will be no one to stand up to press.....interestingly in Stroud where we have a high Green vote (20% in local elections) other parties all try and be green...yet Greens are the only ones opposed to Fracking, GMOs etc etc

Anonymous said...

Referring to David Drew as "unpleasant sludge" is frankly rather over the top and offensive.I could make sweeping statements about the Green Party - but I wouldn't make this kind of remark.

Mike said...

I do not live in Stroud but visit often and find it appalling that such a place is represented by a Tory. Is this what Greens want? There is not a high Green vote in Stroud at general elections, as 2010 showed. The net result of voting Green is to let in a Tory and Tory government. Labour is far from perfect but I would much rather be represented by a David Drew or a John McDonnell than a Tory! I think some Greens seem to like being represented by Tories which is disturbing.

Philip Booth said...

That's what Labour and Tories said for years in Brighton....

Nimue Brown said...

There was a time when Labour supporters would have been offended by the suggestion that they aren't so very different from the Tories. It grieves me that what offends you is an extended metaphor about mouldy fruit, and not my concern that the left is no longer represented by Labour.

We have no great love of Labour or the Tories, and our point is that the differences are so small now, that the advantage of getting one over the other is negligible.

If you believe in Green issues, vote Green. That's our message, and we are not ashamed of it. The 'tactical voting' argument is used to keep alternative candidates out of marginal seats, leaving the safe seats where the odds of getting in are slim, leaving the status quo untouched. That's not my idea of a vibrant democracy at work.