04 May 2010

Why a tactical vote is crucial for the future

Who ya voting for? They are all the same? Nothing will change anyway... Ah, it must be election time. If you haven't heard these sentiments you're in a minority. Voting for who and what you believe in should always be the case. Primarily for the reasons outlined in this article by Lisa Ansell.  This election is different. Public spending has to be reduced, all parties agree but don't want to explain the fine print or which ring-fence should be pulled down or replaced. By ''all parties'', what I mean is Labour and Conservative, they are the only two that matter, or that have mattered for the best part of a hundred years. That has been the choice. The democratic representation. "They are all the same", "nothing will change anyway" - it certainly appears that way. Those are the stark - and at times depressing facts - of a voting system designed to provide strong government. Or dictatorial regimes. Depends on your persuasion. Trust needs to be restored in democracy. The only feasible way of that happening long-term is to feel represented. The only way that can happen is with voting reforms. This is a compelling argument for proportional representation. 

Ignore the media spin. A hung parliament is something I have wished for since the Tories had a 22 point lead nearly two years ago. A coalition should be the chance for politicians to take some responsibility, agree to do what is best for the people, instead of themselves, agree to prioritize policies and work together. Yes, that might sound naive or idealistic, but surely a group of elected representatives can work together? That is why, when asked, I have said have a look at voting for a party, for this election only (or until voting reform happens), that stops the Conservative Party getting an overall majority. If that happens nothing will change. We will keep the House of Lords. The monarchy. The voting system. The banking system. The drug laws. The fear. We might even lose the BBC in its current form. So, before it's too late, have a look at this brilliant election database and see if your one of the lucky ones who has a vote that matters, because over 75% of constituencies have, according to most of the parties, been decided already. That's democracy for you. British style. Maybe with one tactical, biting your lip, ignoring the odd moral or two, tactical vote against the Tories, we could get the voting system that means all our votes count. Is anything more important that the validity and effectiveness of our democracy?

Just look what happens when people vote for polices instead of parties or personalities. Strange that. So we could have a coalition of Greens, Lab and Lib Dem's or, on the other side - Tory, UKIP and the BNP. The choice is yours.*

 *My choice: I have lived in four different constituencies in the last five years. Voting tactically, I would vote for three different parties. Labour, the Lib Dem's and Plaid Cymru. Only one of those would be with my heart and head combined, two would be tactical. Thankfully I can make a combined decision this time. I'm voting Liberal Democrat.

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