Tactical Voting – Yep on board with it but beware……

The link below is to a Guardian newspaper article on tactical voting and it’s worth a read:-

www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/nov/03/best-for-britain-tactical-voting-only-way-stop-brexit

Because of our warped 1st Past the Post electoral system we are often placed in a situation where we have to vote for a candidate/party we don’t really support to stop a candidate/party whom we really dislike from being elected. Under a fair/proportional voting system this would not be necessary but we are where we are until we get fair votes.

There are probably two types of anti-Tory/anti-Brexit voters who are looking for advice as to how to vote so as to maximise the possibility of stopping a Tory/Brexit supporting candidate from winning in their constituency. Firstly, there’s the simple issue of trying to stop a Tory being elected and in England it will almost always be a case of voting for either the Lib Dem or Labour candidate who is more likely to beat the Tory. There will be, of course, a very small number of constituencies where the Green is more likely to beat the Tory than the Lib or Lab candidates.

For me the complication is where you want to stop a Brexiteer candidate winning in your constituency because of course there will be significant numbers of of Labour candidates who are Brexiteers.

OK, in this scenario, you know you want the Tory/Brexit Party candidate to be beaten so if there’s a Lib Dem candidate the answer is clear as the Lib Dems are openly opposed to Brexit. However, what if you are being told that the Labour candidate is best placed to beat the Tory? The answer is to try to look very carefully at the Labour candidate to see if they are/could be a Brexiteer too.

The problem here is that many Labour candidates and former Labour MP’s have kept very quiet about their Brexit views so getting to the bottom of what they think about Brexit can be hard going if not impossible. I’m guessing that central Labour advice to their candidates has been to keep quiet as there have been too many of them saying little or nothing even when asked directly! And just because your sitting Labour MP, who is trying to get re-elected at the upcoming GE, voted to Remain in the 2016 Referendum it does not necessarily mean they will stick to being a Remainer after the GE. Remember Labour Party policy is not to come down on either side of the Brexit debate before the GE and they actually want to negotiate another Brexit Deal with the EU for us to leave, if they get elected. So unless your Labour candidate is in effect breaking with Labour policy and is saying they will support Remain after the GE you could end up voting for a Labour candidate who will back Brexit!

Be warned a Labour vote could inadvertently be a vote for Brexit even if your intention is to vote Labour to stop Brexit.

And then looking at the telescope from the other end what do you do if you are faced with multiple Brexiteer candidates in your constituency and you want to stop Brexit? In this scenario the Labour, Tory, UKIP & Brexit Party candidates are all Brexiteers. The answer is of course is to vote for Lib Dem.

Oh for a fair electoral system where we could simply vote for the candidate/s we liked the most!

Local Elections – Are Rotten Borough’s creeping back into out creaking democracy?

The Electoral Reform Society has an illuminating and worrying article on it’s website – see link below:-

www.electoral-reform.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Election-Cancelled-Uncontested-Seats-Breifing-April-19-ERS-EMBARGOED.pdf

Quote from the ERS article – ‘Since moving to a proportional voting system (STV) for local elections in 2007, the scourge of uncontested seats has almost vanished in Scotland.’

The article is sobering indeed because of the number of seats where a single candidate is unopposed and where the electorate for the wards where this happens is denied a vote because there is no election – they get the only nominated person whether they like it or not.

Of course those of us who have been campaigning for electoral reform for generations know what the solution is – proportional representation via the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system in multi-member seats, be that for Council, Westminster or EU elections. Presently in England we only have a vaguely proportional system (where the number of seats a party gets is near to the % of votes that party receives) for EU elections.

My thanks to Bob Robinson for the lead to this posting

Brexit – Why did it happen and will it hasten PR?

www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b07mj400/britains-vote-in-the-eu-referendum

I am grateful to my friend Bob for pointing me in the direction of the link above on BBC I Player, which is in the form of a series presentations from knowledgeable people who have tried to understand why people voted the way they did in the recent referendum.

The first speaker to my mind makes some cutting and accurate remarks about how Blair took power away from working people and thereby created the vacuum for UKIP to move into.

The video is quite long but it is worth sticking with it so that all the shades of opinion can be taken on board.

Where it leaves us to my mind and indeed to that of Bob is that we desperately need an electoral system where every vote actually counts as opposed to the present one where in many constituencies it simply does not.

In the recent referendum folks voted in reasonably large numbers because they knew their vote was of equal value to that of other voters. They also voted to bloody the nose of the establishment that had disenfranchised them on an almost bugger the consequences basis.

Obviously as a ‘Remainer’ I feel the result was one hell of an own goal for the UK and that the dire consequences will take years to unfold. But at least I am getting a clear view as to why the electorate took what at face value was an irrational decision with such worrying consequences.

Still life in Proportional Representation despite our love of a ridiculous electoral system?

www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/owen-winter/proportional-representation_b_9615964.html

Now it can be no surprise that an old Liberal like me thinks we should have a fair electoral system and yes I know that probably two thirds of you readers would probably rather stick with a demonstrably unfair one. There got that bit off my chest but stay with me for the hell of it.

The link above is to an interesting Huffington Post article which rehearses many of the arguments for PR/Fair Votes. It also makes it clear that what we were offered in that odd referendum (remember it in 2011?) was not PR/Fair Votes. To be honest I don’t know why we had that referendum at all as it probably put back the possibility of a fair electoral system for a generation, then again that’s probably why we had it?

With thanks to my Research Assistant Roy Connell for spotting the Huffington Post article.

Electoral Reform – Liverpool Echo article must point to it being needed

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/you-can-pin-red-rosette-8982793

Our crazy electoral system and the need for it to be changed to one that produces results proportional to the votes actually cast was probably the most significant national issue that brought me into Liberal politics in the first place back in 1980. Our rubbish electoral system usually produces governments that have only gained minority electoral support but are then given a Parliamentary majority. Not only that but it also gives us ‘safe seats’ where the election campaign usually ignores the voters in those constituencies altogether.

Any serious look at this ridiculous way of running a supposed democracy and you can only conclude that the Single Transferable Voting (STV) method should replace First Past the Post.