The case against tactical voting and protest votes

16th April, 2015 7:02 am

We’re only a few weeks from the general election. Tonight is the challengers debate. So we’re going to have to have a serious conversation about so-called “tactical voting” and “protest voting”. In particular, we’re going to have to talk about why it’s a bad idea.

Really, it shouldn’t be necessary to have this conversation, because we’ve been here before oh so very recently. In 2010, groups such as Compass (and a few senior Labour figures too – lest we forget) encouraged people to vote Lib Dem to stop the Tories in many marginals, only for the Lib Dems to walk hand-in-hand into the Rose Garden and through the Aye lobby in favour of the Bedroom Tax, NHS reorganisation, trebling tuition fees and any other policy this government have introduced that you might not like – take your chuffing pick. Now despite the fact that it was argued that in most cases “tactical voting” meant more votes for Labour, many were unconvinced, and some who – like me – were campaigning for Labour against the Lib Dems found it ludicrously unhelpful, especially when “Cleggmania” arrived.

vote_ballot.png

And yet here we are again. This election one suggestion is that Labour and Green voters should “vote swap” ahead of election day. It’s a tacit acceptance that voting Green in all but one seat is an utterly fruitless endeavour (if we’re honest). By voting Green rather than Labour – in almost every conceivable circumstance, including (by the way) in Brighton Pavillion – there’s more chance of a Tory or Lib Dem MP being elected on May 7th. Now you can complain about the electoral system if you like – I’d like to change it myself, actually – but it’s the one we still (after a boring referendum) have.

If you want proof that trying to be tactical about your voting plans is foolhardy – take a look at this piece from George Monbiot in yesterday’s Guardian. He lists 16 seats where voting Green could help the Tories – yet omits the four seats from an Ashcroft poll published only a day earlier where Green vote is equal or greater to the Tory lead over Labour. If potential Labour supporters voted Green in those seats out of a misplaced sense of tactics or protest, then those seats will have Tory MPs in a month’s time.

By this point, some of you will be grumpily suggesting that this is a typical majoritarian brutalism from a Labour supporter.

Stop. Right. There.

No-one is more tired than me of the constant “only Labour can beat the Tories” refrain parotted by Labour politicians. Politics should at least attempt to inspire people to vote, not beat them over the head with their own lack of choice. Labour should be explaining that – as I believe – they are the party that has the best ideas for running the country, the right experience to implement those ideas and the drive to see it through. I want you to be inspired to vote Labour, excited to vote Labour and enthusiastic about doing so – not because of some brutalist vote x or get y manoeuvre. The only time I want to hear “only Labour” from Miliband in tonight’s TV debate is that Labour’s the only party you should vote for, because – united, with a policy platform and the Tories on the run – it’s not just the best placed party to beat the Tories, it’s the best party full stop.

So please don’t take this as an expression of that base, narrow and unappealing “only Labour” argument.

But.

There had to be a but.

This election looks like it’s going to be pretty damn close. We’re not talking about expressions of discontent here, we’re talking about who gets to run the country – a choice between two starkly differing visions. It’s easy to claim that all major parties are the same, but no-one who’s read both manifestos could realistically say that. And in that messy, complex period of days or even weeks after May 7th, seats will matter. But so will the “popular vote”. If the Tories lose on seats but “win” even by a hairs breadth on total votes cast, you can bet your bottom dollar David Cameron will see it as his chance to cling to the Downing Street doorframe. (It’s a bad argument for Cameron to make – Labour won the popular vote in 1951 and lost the election, but then the Tories had a majority in the Commons, it’s near impossible for Miliband to have a majority of MPs and lose the popular vote this time).

This isn’t going to be one of those elections where it doesn’t matter if you vote in a safe seat or not. It matters. I live in a relatively safe Tory seat – but when talking about the popular vote, my vote will matter as much as any vote in the most marginal or marginals.

Now if you’re broadly on the left, and you seriously think that it doesn’t matter whether David Cameron or Ed Miliband becomes Prime Minister, that it really doesn’t matter whether the Tories or Labour are the largest party after May 7th – and it doesn’t matter who wins the popular vote – then I’m sorry the Labour Party has failed to convince you, and although I disagree, you should probably go and vote for someone else.

Of course – everybody should vote for whoever they want, and neither I nor anyone else can or should tell you otherwise. That’s the wonder of democracy.

But if you have a preference in this election and you choose to vote tactically for a party you don’t support, or use your vote as a protest. Well on May 8th, and whatever comes after, you may live to regret that. Ask anyone who voted Lib Dem through protest or tactics in 2010. They’ll tell you just how that feels…

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  • Canarydan

    Of all the manifestos, I find the Green Party’s most appealing and aligned to my principles.

    Yet I live in a red/blue marginal. Careful about telling the electorate to not vote tactically. With their weak, limited offer, it could cost them a number of seats.

    • Michael Murray

      Another excellent analysis by Mark. I thoroughly agree with him that the psychological and moral advantage will be with the party that has the greates share of the national vote. Therefore Labour needs every vote. Even in constituencies such as mine where Labour haven’t got a hope. I shall vote for them nevertheless to improve their national vote share. If your objective is the removal of the Tories a vote for one of the minor parties is a wasted vote. The only way to ensure we remove the Tories is to vote Labour.

      • uglyfatbloke

        Having the most votes does n’t matter if you don’t get most seats. Any sense of moral advantage will last until about…teatime on 8th May. Voting Labour in a lost cause seat does no damage to the tories at all.
        Also, what’s the value of getting 33.0000001% of the vote as opposed to just 33%? The only way to get democratic reform is to persuade one of the two main parties to embrace democracy as a good thing in itself (no chance) or to put one of them into a position where they have top adopt it as the price of support as a government. That failed miserably with the gli-dumbs of course, but what else is there to do but try again? It’s not as if come outside agency is going to force the parties to go democratic is it? If Ed were to get an outright majority on 7th May does anyone think he’d opt for reform? Pretty surely not, but there would be something fundamentally wrong with having 51% of the seats on only 35% of the votes cast.

      • Canarydan

        I agree. Which is why I will be voting Labour. I just desperately wish I could do it with enthusiasm and belief that a Labour government will create a much fairer and equal society than one the Tories would preside over. As it is, I’m voting them because they are marginally more palatable than the Tories, an abhorrent, economically illiterate, omnishambolic political party. Not exactly something to brag about. Labour could and should be so much better.

        I suspect I’m not alone in my opinion, and that if things don’t change, 2015 will be the last chance many, many Labour voters will give them.

      • treborc1

        Wasted vote god what a think to say people vote for the party they back and you can vote for labour but will not get one, interesting my area use to be a labour safe seat with a 21,000 Majority. That has now dropped to 5000 majority and I suspect drop again only after this election I suspect the constituency will be open to Plaid to get, they have been eating away at the area for years. Every year in my area the Tories lose the deposit but the Liberals had been building as well, but 2020 will be the big one for my area…

  • I live in a ‘safe seat’ lib dem, but with Tories gaining and ahead in the polls. Vince Cable asks us to ‘lend’ us our vote to keep the Tories out! VoteSwap by Compass suggest Labour to vote Green in Twickenham, but I very much doubt they would.
    As long as Labour fight tooth and nail to knock our only Green MP off her seat, then this time around we vote with our heart and finally expose the flaws of FPTP. Nowhere in the Labour manifesto is there any mention of reform of the electoral system – obviously because it favours the big parties and they can keep on scaring people “Vote Green get Blue”
    UK and Labour especially need to face up to a multi party political system and the electoral system requires a massive overhaul and change to a good PR system.
    8th May will see MPs ‘winning’ on 30% or less, which means 70%+ wasted votes. Who are representing those?
    Democracy should be simple. If a party gets 10% of the votes
    country-wide; it should equal 10% of seats in Parliament. It means EVERY
    vote count and there will be no such thing as a wasted vote. Or “Vote
    Green and get Tory” threats.

    That will be the day for the start of “The Quiet Revolution”.

    By voting for who you believe in you are screwing up First Past the Post and exposes its as true undemocratic.

  • uglyfatbloke

    Surely this is a little bit simplistic? In this constituency there is decent chance that the Labour vote may be as much as 1000…well, maybe not quite that much… but surprisingly there is a slim chance that the gnat might topple Alistair Carmichael.

  • Rick

    Vote for what you really believe in. It’s a matter of self-respect.

    • Ian Cuthbert

      Kicking the Tories out is bigger than self-respect. There are bigger things to consider than ourselves – people are suffering.

      • Michael Murray

        Exactly. Well said.

      • treborc1

        Thank god we had such a happy time under labour then, hold one we did not, they are both the same.

        • Ian Cuthbert

          It WAS better. People have very short memories. I’m no big fan of New Labour, but what the Tories and their LibDem lackies have done to the NHS, welfare (especially for disabled people), social care, housing, education, privatisation, local government and generally making the UK more divided has been shocking. Anyone who thinks that it’s just the same must have been very sheltered from what’s happened the last five years, or not care much about their fellow human beings. It’s been VERY hard out here in the real world, people are suffering.

          • treborc1

            What did the Tories do to welfare, I would be interested to know, I can tell you what the labour party did.

            ESA is now easier to get so long as you are on the ball, PIP’s the same and nobody goes to an appeal now without a review first, so ending the never ending send them to appeal to get more money.

            labour brought in the hate with welfare, and that is still in labour.

          • Ian Cuthbert

            So many people have hugely reduced incomes due to the welfare ‘reforms’ of the Tories. There is almost no local authority area which does not have a food bank now, many have several. The ‘hate’ with welfare, as you put it, comes from a Tory-controlled media which had vilified claimants and made people believe that being on welfare benefits is the worst crime in the world. Any one of us can speak from our personal experiences but I’d urge people to look around them and think very hard about the impacts which these policies have had on so many people’s lives. ATOS ffs! NHS waiting times, the wholesale dismantling of huge amounts of local authority services – where I live, in Birmingham, youth service provision has all but disappeared. It’s so short sighted. The only thing to go up is house prices, another huge financial bubble getting ready to burst. It’s all indefensible and anyone who thinks it’s no different than under Labour is either deluding themselves or simply not prepared to look at the evidence.

          • Allan6000

            Just a small point ATOS was a Labour invention it was also Labour who wanted to stop Incapacity Benefit oh and it was Labour who brought in PFI and still wish to do this in my local area do they never learn.

            As for housing prices do you think when Tony Blire opened the EU door in 2007 he never considered that demand would increase for housing more demand higher prices.

            Many may think this was a great thing to do that’s fine but don’t blame what they did on any other party in any area of the land, Tony lived less than 15 miles from me he did nothing for this region Gordon Brown helped his area well i seem to think.

            New labour sank so low its amazing people are thinking or listening to give them a further stab at running the country.

          • Ian Cuthbert

            Yes, I agree, Labour and ATOS and PFI were a bad thing. The Tories have taken it to a new level though. But we have to compare their record as a whole (huge inroads into reducing child poverty for example) with what the coalition has done and, more to the point in this thread, what they will do given another go. Miliband is not Blair and things will be done differently, if not perfectly. The main thing is that it will be catastrophic for most people if we wake up on 8 May with a Tory-led government. If not Labour, then who?

          • Allan6000

            In order of preference LibDem, Conservative I would have said the Greens but I don’t think we would have a country left. Milliband is not Blire but many on the front bench would have had voted and a say before Labour lost power. I said Labour sorry New Labour.

            I do agree that child poverty should be abolished no child should suffer poverty none of the parties have an answer on this at least LibDem did provide some meals not ideal but it does reach the kids my only concern is its given to the rich as well better that than the alternative though.

            You may not think this but my entire family was Labour that included me but nothing Edd has said gives me confidence he will be any better.

            What have Labour suggested for inequality do they want the young to have the same minimum pay? Do they want all taxpayers to have the same start point for paying tax? Are they suggesting a better NIS scheme that would be fair across the age range? Have they said dole money would be increased? I could go on with dozens of things that probably voters would like on the table all politicians blame the low pay commission for the minimum wage being low so sack the low pay commission

    • leslie48

      Not in the FPTP system. Actually we should have changed to PR when we had a massive majority. Do not forget too the English press is disproportionately Tory and as with today’s vile Sun attack is beginning to look like something from Nazi Germany.

      • treborc1

        Perhaps that’s because more people think that is here we are heading.

  • swatnan

    I am agin tactical voting, full stop, on the basis that the British Electorate deserves the politicians it elects. That goes for Coalition Govts too. You should not ‘hold your nose’ and vote for a Party, or Leader, that you have no trust in or faith in. Always go by your conscience. Tactical voting is another aspect of gerrymandering and trying to ‘fix’ an eldction and entirely undemocratic.

    • Ian Cuthbert

      Done right, tactical voting is the best way to make our exceedingly anti-democratic voting system more accountable. We should have a system which proportionally reflects the will of the people. Since our politicians (especially the Tories and Labour) serially prevent any such system being introduced, the people must resort to other ways to try to get the government they want. Anyone supporting Labour supports a party that does not want parliament to reflect the will of the people and anyone who defends the status quo will have to live with tactical voting and vote swapping.

  • Mark Reilly

    If you have the misfortune to live in a Tory safe seat and support Labour, then yes get out and vote Labour to increase the popular vote. For all sorts of reasons the electoral system will be under scrutiny after this election like never before. Not least UKIP who will beat the LDs on votes but possibly ( hopefully) have only one MP.

    HOWEVER the party leader with monsters seats will get first chance at forming a government. Cameron already has advantage as incumbent PM. It could. Take weeks to vote down his Queens Speech.
    Now you can argue that from a Labour view point them number of LDem / Tory seats is a zero sum game. But if the poll in the SW yesterday is true (and it does seem to contradict Ashcroft’s poll. The Tories May gain 7 (additional) seats from the Lib Dems. Giving them biggest party status? So surely IN THOSE LIBDEM TORY MARGINALS it is very slightly better to vote anti Tory?

    Also this is not 2010. It is unlikely Clegg can deliver a majority coalition. Most sensible small parties will shy away from formal coalition, so we will be on a vote by vote basis. In which case without some of the leading Orange Bookers and possibly Clegg, the LIBDEM rump may be less of a cohesive block and could provide valuable support on some issues

    • leslie48

      Yes absolutely it’s a no brainer.

      • robertcp

        I agree.

  • RWP

    What’s the worse option for the next parliament, a Lib Dem or a Tory as your MP? If you live in a Con/LD marginal, why wouldn’t you choose the lesser of two evils?

  • RegisteredHere

    If either of the two main parties had promised to introduce PR then I’d likely be voting for them. That neither of them have or will speaks volumes, and I can only hope that Cameron and Miliband tactfully avoid using the ‘democracy’ word in relation to British politics forthwith.

  • Lawrence

    Whilst I want to see a Labour government I cannot give the party my vote when they support renewing the Tridant missile and remaining in the terrorist organisation called NATO.
    Labour should realise that most of the worlds problems have been caused by NATO’s aggressive actions on behalf of the USA’s regime change policy with countries that don’t cow down to American dictate.

    • Daniel Speight

      So Lawrence would we be better off with Cameron in again?

      • Lawrence

        No we don’t want another tory government, as I stated I want a Labour government but they must be brought to heel by socialist MPs backing them, Greens, Nationalists and George Galloway.

        • Daniel Speight

          So we get to the nub of your intentions. You want a Labour government, but cannot give them your vote. Are you in a constituency where a vote for one of the other parties wouldn’t just be helping one of the coalition parties to win? Of course if in your constituency one of the parties you support has a genuine chance of winning, or one where Labour has no chance, then go ahead and use your vote to protest the lack of courage shown by Labour so far.

          But you should explain your case in order that others who want a Labour government shouldn’t let the Tories back in by mistake. There will be English constituencies where a vote for the Greens may well open the door to a Tory government. It’s here where tactical voting should be used.

          I don’t want to deride your ideas too much, and there is a point where after the election all social democrats may well have to break with the Labour Party. That would be if the Westminster elite decide there should be a ‘grand coalition’ of Labour and the Tories. If that were to happen Labour would follow down the road that its Greek sister party, PASOK, chose and see how well that did.

  • Ben Gardner

    As others have said: it’s all well and good for Labour to oppose tactical voting where it damages them but then they have to follow through and agree to oppose it even where it would help them. I dont’ want to hear any Labour member say to someoen who supports Green party policies that it’s a ‘wasted vote’.

    Also, for those Lib Dem/Tory marginal seats where people voted tactically in 2010 – surely you can’t be saying that we would have been better off with fewer Lib Dem MPs and more Tory ones?

    • Michael Murray

      Why not? The Lib Dems are Orange Tories.

      • treborc1

        Love it, moaning about the Liberals when labour calls itself One nation Blue labour.

        • Michael Murray

          Labour doesn’t call itself ‘One Nation Blue Labour’.

          • treborc1

            No it’s not email from labour now state One nation do not tell me you do not get emails since you state to be a member .

            the email is…. one-nation-politics-at-labour org UK……

        • wolfman

          Yeah so let’s vote UKIP !!!

          • treborc1

            Greens mate or Plaid. why bother voting Tory whether it’s labour or Tory they are both Blue.

      • Ben Gardner

        So you have no preference between the Coalition and a Tory government?

        • Michael Murray

          The Coalition were the architects of the Bedroom Tax and Tax rebates to millionaires and the extremely wealthy that equalled many people’s annual salary. The Coalition hiked up university tuition fees; privatised the NHS and introduced the gagging law. The Coalition went to war on benefits claimants, yet gave obscenely massive subsidies to farmers and land owners to erect wind turbines. The Coalition wanted to bomb Syria and was only stopped from doing so by Ed Miliband, Labour and a handful of honourable Tory and Lib Dem rebels. No, I do not see any distinction between the Orange Tory/Blue Tory Coalition government and a Blue Tory government. A vote for the Lib Dem stooges is a vote for the Tories because if Cameron again fails to pass the winning post the Lib Dems will carry him across it. The only way to get rid of the Tories is to vote Labour.

          • Ben Gardner

            It was bad but not as bad as it could have been.

          • robertcp

            Exactly. I will be voting Labour in May but I live in a Lab-Con marginal. I would still vote Lib Dem in a Lib-Con seat if Labour did not have a chance.

          • leslie48

            Sorry , not in close Lib/Tory marginals as that gives Cameron more seats. I think the Lib-Dems will change too.

          • Andrew

            Let’s clear both front benches out of millionaires and see who is left. Not many I politely suggest

          • RegisteredHere

            You could remove the bankers and easily see which side had the most gaps.

          • Andrew

            You make an interesting point. Remove David Laws and Chuka as ex-bankers. Do you know of many others on either side? Of course there is Lord £5million per annum Mynors. And Lord £3million per annum Falconer etc etc…
            More relevant, tot up who on each side has ever held a job outside politics; you will get a shock. Or maybe you don’t think that’s relevant or advisable? Labour will remain unelectable (pace, what is a dividend for, Milliband?) until they sort that.

          • RegisteredHere

            I agree that there are too many MPs with little experience outside of politics, and I believe the Conservative parliamentary party was about 1/3 banker/financial services after the election in 2010 with a liberal smattering of lawyers and SpAds, with the latter of course being commonplace on both benches.

            Labour are almost precisely as electable as the Tories, thanks largely to the electoral system, although in fairness they are still a national party with seats in Scotland.

          • treborc1

            ………………………………1979………… ……………………… 2010

            Lawyers ………………….. 29……………………………………48

            Barristers ……………… 67…………………………………..38

            Banks financial…………..148…………………………………..158

            Manual workers…………..98……………………………………..25

            As one can see how this has gone down they do not define which party these come from manual workers were mostly labour. and you can see how they have gone down in all parties.

          • RegisteredHere

            Interesting figures. I wonder how many of the bankers know what a blockchain is.

          • treborc1

            Reeves ex banker and Byrne who worked in banking

  • Malcolm McCandless

    Labour party members in Scotland have been actively encouraging Labour supporters to vote Tory in seats held by the SNP.

    Now that is against party rules. However the Labour leadership are refusing to take action.

    Mark Fegusson should have a word with Jim Murphy and perhaps explain to him the case against tactical voting.

  • Paul Richardson

    Hereford is Tory and mostly has been except for Paul Keech getting it for LD in 97. That was due to massive tactical voting to rid Hfd of the Tories. My parents still live there, hate the Tories, feel betrayed by LD so what to do?

    With FPTP voting Labour is a wasted vote. Only LD have ever competed. Convincing people to actually vote Labour is met eith incredulity. My advice is for my parents to vote swap with Green voters in a Lab msrginal. Yes its about honestly and trust but at least their votes could make the differenve to the end game. After all, the popular vote count could be news for a couple of weeks but winning constituencies is for 5 years!

  • Daniel Speight

    Mark, you lost me a bit. How can voting Green in seat where the Green vote could cause a Tory to be elected instead a Labour MP be called tactical voting? The best you could call it is emotional voting.

    I guess it could if you are a Tory, but I think that is not the audience you are writing to.

    Still If you are a Labour supporter in a Tory/Liberal marginal there is a decision to be made. Historically and ideology wise Labour’s true enemy has been the Tories. Does voting Liberal so you can keep a Tory MP out supercede raising the Labour popular vote. After all the popular vote only really matters if the liberals are using that to decide who to go into coalition with.

    • FMcGonigal

      “How can voting Green in seat where the Green vote could cause a Tory to be elected instead a Labour MP be called tactical voting?”

      The article criticizes both Tactical Voting AND Protest Voting.

  • leslie48

    Being strongly Labour I still think that in Lib/Tory marginals like those in the South West it is important to vote to stop the Tory no matter if that means voting Lib Dem. Why? We do not have a PR system unfortunately. We acknowledge that the circumstances of 2010 necessitated what the Lib Dems did ( the Labour team were not keen for a coalition after Gordon Browns loss) but more importantly Glegg did block some of the Right Wing tendencies of this government. Finally the recent polling especially in the South is showing the Tories are likely to win many Lib Dem seats which could quite easily exceed Labours. Labour needs to a lot more ahead to pick up some marginals.

  • Andrew

    I notice that the ‘right to buy’ slagging article vanished as soon as the absolutely disgusting Emily Thornberry story broke this morning. Vote for the party of Rotherham, Rochdale and mid-Staffs. Yes, Britain deserves better

    • Monkey_Bach

      Eh? Are you referring to the following article:

      http://labourlist.org/2015/04/the-tories-latest-right-to-buy-plan-will-make-the-housing-crisis-worse-because-its-about-votes-not-homes/

      Or some other article?

      Looking for an article? Just drop down to the search box at the bottom of the page and type in a sensible search string to find what you are looking for, i.e., “right to buy” and behold! Nothing has been lost; everything is remembered.

      Incidentally the Conservative’s current coalition partner have come out against right-to-buy for Housing Association tenants, viz.,

      http://labourlist.org/2015/04/simon-hughes-says-lib-dems-wouldnt-back-tory-right-to-buy-proposal/

      Can’t win ’em all.

      Eeek.

      • Andrew

        Thanks Capn. Monkey. What do you think about Thornberry though? It’s manna from heaven for everyone else and will definitely pop up this evening.

        • Monkey_Bach

          No idea what Ms. Thornberry has been up to.

          Got a link to the story?

          Eeek.

          • Michael Murray

            Emily Thornberry has rightly condemned the Tory Right to Buy housing association properties policy We should all be condemning this terrible, terrible policy. And everyone that I know does condemn it.

          • Monkey_Bach

            Well, in that case it’s two thumb’s up to Ms. Thornberry from me. (If I had more thumbs it would have been more thumb’s up than two from me.) I agree with those sentiments 100% as should be obvious from my previous comments on other threads.

            Eeek.

          • treborc1

            So your happy to stop housing association under the right to buy but will be happy to see council houses sold, the right to buy is a law in this country

          • Monkey_Bach

            Nope.

            I’m not happy in the least about ANY social housing being sold off cut-price to its tenants, especially when it isn’t being replaced by new stock on a one-to-one or many-to-one basis. In my view this policy has been a disaster and one of the main drivers of the current housing crises. Trouble is NOBODY (in England at least) has the guts to reverse this policy and stop council housing from being flogged off at a hugely discounted prices (Cameron actually increased the discounts trying to unload more social housing now that house prices have risen and sales dropped off) but people may be able to hamper the same disaster from happening on a large scale to other social housing.

            In expensive areas, such as the one I live in, continuous one way loss of social housing has been catastrophic. The right-to-buy has become completely meaningless due to the fact that needy people queuing for tenancies in what remains of former social housing stock haven’t got a snowball’s chance in hell of ever winning a tenancy because too little social housing exists after right-to-buy to infinitesimally satisfy demand.

            Selling off social housing temporarily benefited lucky tenants who bought cheap and cashed in on the heavily discounted purchase price, but, since the homes lost were never replaced, future generations have no hope of enjoying such advantages and are condemned to raise their families in very expensive and insecure accommodation, often sub-standard, housing supplied by the private sector.

            A policy leading to short-term benefit for the few and misery for the many forever thereafter seems like a very poor idea to me. Personally I WOULD be delighted to see the sale of ALL social housing stopped altogether, or, at the very least, see what has been lost through discounted sales replaced by new homes.

            Eeek.

          • treborc1

            Labour could have ended the right to buy at any time, they did not, not a single council house has been built in my area since 1983 and they will never again be built.

            yet a housing association has build literally thousand without using public money. each time a house is sold they build two.

            They also build houses to sell they are called affordable because council hand over the land free.

            The day of socialism are long gone, it all about people being in power not for my good but their good.

          • Monkey_Bach

            You’re not wrong. But some are MUCH worse than others and the best anyone can do is try to limit the damage done as best you can under the current voting system.

            Eeek.

          • treborc1

            I’ve got to laugh the right to buy with every single housing association in the country has been on going since the law chagied by Major and came into power since March 1997

            If an housing association does not use public money these tend not to accept people who are on welfare benefits and charge much more in rental because they are not covered under the same rules.

            The right to buy has been in for housing association since 1997

        • RegisteredHere

          Nah, the only story today is Lord Janner.

    • Michael Murray

      And do what, you vile anti-Labour troll? Vote for the party that’s only interested in you if you’re rich enough to attend the Tory Black and White Ball? That gives billions in tax handouts to millionaires and bankers? And if you are dependent on benefits takes them away on the flimsiest excuse? No, Britain deserves much, much better. That’s why millions will be voting Labour.

      • treborc1

        Just with you on here labour will be losing vote you moron.

        • Michael Murray

          You should be very happy, then.

      • Andrew

        What a rude little man you turn out to be. I am not even going to bother answering your stupid opinions as that is what they are. I may go out this weekend and buy another Bentley to help me recover from such a display of bigotry. God help this country if people like you have a vote.

        • Michael Murray

          If you are buying your Bentley from a Tory make sure it’s got an engine in it before you complete the deal. I hate to see the poor ripped off.

  • Ian Cuthbert

    This article is complete nonsense. The whole premise of Vtae Swap is to keep the Tories out. Labour might like to think that the Green vote will just go away, but support for the Greens is due to the complete failure of Labour to engage with voters on the left who have been serially abandoned. Vote Swap is a brilliant tactical tool to allow Green supporters to have their votes registered in the national share whilst helping to ensure Tories are kept out in key marginals. The whole point is to prop up the Labour vote in these seats to reduce the risk of a Tory win. People using Vote Swap may well be saving Labour from the humiliating defeat it has earned by turning its back on the left.Labour should be grateful, rather than criticising the effort.

    • Ian Cuthbert

      *Vote Swap*

  • Charlie_Mansell

    Well done. Spot on. The Lib Dems each way bet manifesto means anyone voting for them is casting a ‘blank cheque vote’ with the same risk as last time. I hope anyone even thinking of voting them emails their candidate to extract a pledge to support a Labour government. Since Lib Dem triangulation tactics mean they won’t give you this commitment, then the clear vote is for a strong Labour share of the vote is a vote for Labour

  • Heidstaethefire

    “So please don’t take this as an expression of that base, narrow and unappealing “only Labour” argument.”
    That’s exactly what it is, dressed up in a new suit. If the system doesn’t suit the people, change the people.
    You’re right to worry about it though, it’s about to cost you dearly in Scotland.

  • FMcGonigal

    I might have had some sympathy with this article if Labour had wholeheartedly backed Electoral Reform in the 2011 referendum. As things stand in those seats where Labour is very likely to come a poor third it makes sense to vote tactically: either to keep the Tories out – or (for those who hate coalitions) even to vote Tory to reduce third party influence.

  • Rachel Chance

    I don’t agree that “protest voting” for the green party is in any way linked to the strange tactical situation of voting for lib dems to keep the tories out in 2010. In this election, many Labour supporters are doing quizzes like Vote Match and finding that they should vote green to stay true to their principles and are only voting Labour out of fear. With Ed Balls this morning on the Today programme positioning himself on centre ground and when the Labour government voted for George Osbourne’s cuts, can you call yourself a true left wing party any more? If the Labour party wants the Green votes back, then they better start adjusting the manefesto instead of lurching to the right to try and regain votes lost to UKIP. Instead, Labour has lost it’s way in my view.

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