In a recent poll conducted by the Electoral Reform Society it was found 20% of UK registered voters intended to cast their vote for the ‘best positioned party/ candidate to keep out another party/candidate that I dislike.’
Tactics mean doing what you can with what you have
To vote tactically is to not necessarily vote for your 1st choice of party, but instead back someone else you deem preferable to another alternative.
The reason people may choose to vote this way, is that they perceive another party has a more successful chance of winning than say another party the individual may have more support for.
Often tactical voting will be used when voters wish to keep a party from gaining victory, that they absolutely do not wish to see govern.
Thursday’s snap general election has brought with it, the year of tactical voting, as 2017 has been deemed in the media.
This is by far the first year, where tactical voting has been used as a strategy to beat the first past the post system UK politics employs.
In the 1990’s across several constituencies voters often dismissed personal preferences between Labour and Liberal Democrats, and instead calculated their decision to prevent Tories from gaining seats and majority victory.
Working within a system where majority wins, it is understandable how tactical voting has been a strategy employed by voters for many years when casting their vote. However, it is hard to determine how much effect tactical voting can have over the overall result of a general election.
Deliberations and decisions
The difference this year appears to be is just how many people overall may be turning to a calculated voting decision.
The Best for Britain group, established in the wake of the Brexit referendum, has put a lot of work and campaigning in to reaching young voters and encouraging them to align against the parties pushing for a hard Brexit.
Websites and pages have been set up, allowing voters to enter their postcodes and determining how their vote may best be used to prevent a Tory victory.
The driving force behind this is to encourage voters, mainly young people, to put aside their differences, and in this general election stand as a unified front against the hard Brexit strategy the Tories are backing.
Generally, the idea being supported, is that voters who may usually give their vote to Liberal Democrats, or Greens; should instead on June 8th give their vote to Labour, as they stand as the main opposition to the Conservatives, and in doing so pose the biggest threat to the otherwise predicted landslide victory Conservatives were thought to possibly have in this election.
The potholes of the system?
It is easy to understand the criticism and reservations many have met this campaign with. They believe to encourage tactical voting is to undermine the democratic system we have in place, where individuals possess the right to vote and should use so in a way where they vote for the party they feel most represents their values and interests.
In a system that has increasingly lost a connection with the public, who have become disillusioned with the candidates on offer to them, and who no longer see a difference between any of the choices on offer to them; tactical voting can only be another form of discouragement as to why people should vote in the first place.
But of course, this has been the problem many have had with the first past the post system the UK political system is built upon. Many are angry with the bias they see present in the media coverage dedicated to politics, and the alliances and monopolisation companies and moguls have within the government.
Sometimes though we must work with a system, to institute change and improvement. While we have seen an increase in the reference to tactical voting and the pop up of many websites and articles dedicated towards aiding voters to consider how their vote may best be used; we have also seen a rally in the public’s spirit.
The referendum result to leave the EU, has brought this country to a point of no return, as in what happens now, will see permanent and significant change, no matter what direction we may end up heading down.
Now there is no longer the ability for us to rest, or to avoid the situation, and it has spurred more people to become involved, who may previously have not felt inclined. The reason for this is that finally we are seeing a response from our candidates and parties, who wish to address to public’s consternation and demand for change.
There is evident divide among the parties running in this general election, and many are realising this election may be the opportune moment to effect real change and as a platform for us to grow upon.
A genuine option
Russel Brand: What I’m saying is that within the existing paradigm the change is not dramatic enough, not radical enough. So you can well understand public disturbances and public dissatisfaction when there are not genuine changes and genuine alternatives being offered. I say when there is a genuine alternative, a genuine option, then vote for that – During his interview with Paxman
The trepidation surrounding Thursday, is perhaps for the first time, not purely due to the sensationalism of the press; it is because many are feeling the pressure riding on the election and feel many decisions will come of the result.
It is why so many feel the need to use their vote tactically, to avoid what they see as the worst possible outcome of the election – which for the ones in support of voting tactically, is a Tory victory, and consequently a hard Brexit deal.
The other side to this though may be, that people do not feel as though they are just settling or enduring with a Labour under Jeremy Corbyn.
People feel as though Labour is a good choice for the UK’s future over the next five years. There is a lot of common ground possessed by Labour, Lib Dems and Green at the moment.
Despite the negative persona of Corbyn expressed in the media, many are in favour of his political history, and the values and opinions expressed by himself personally and by the issues presented in Labour’s manifesto. While not everyone may feel fully satisfied in their decision to back Labour, it could be that a government under Corbyn could be a powerful step in the right direction for us. This could be the beginning of us seeing progression and transition in the embalmment of dissatisfaction and distrust that have cemented the relationship between the UK public and its government.
Hopefully this is the start of us introducing change and see action and address of the issues facing our society. We must be prepared for a lengthy journey, change is not enacted overnight and can be a lengthy process, but it would be nice if this election could result in us at least turning and facing in the right direction.
Who knows in the next five years we may get ready for even bigger changes, as opposed to remaining in the water that circles the drain, we so far appear very close, to falling down.
This election, called in a cynical attempt to further punish the real people of this country in the service of a privileged few, could be more than a chance to make voting mean something. It could be a chance for ordinary people to take back our country, it could be a revolution. – Russel Brand